Time and Intimacy: A New Science of Personal Relationships

By Joel B. Bennett | Go to book overview

9—
Summary and Integration:
Toward a Transpersonal Science

I have tried to delineate, in various ways and with seven different models, the relation between three main ideas: time, intimacy, and transpersonal experience. The task remains to summarize and integrate these models and ideas. Before integration, it will help to review the three main ideas as they have somewhat different definitions within each model.


Time

Throughout, this book has explained how we can be more sensitive to the influence of time on intimate relationships as well as the influence of relationship on time. Because of the diverse perspectives used, my definition of time has varied across models. In Model 1 (chap. 2), time was experienced, framed, and understood differently depending on the type of interaction between two people (e.g., transaction vs. transformation). This first model developed the notion that personal interaction, through textual change, can actually create our experience of time; that is, interactions have a textual quality catalyzed by intimacy (e.g., ongoingness). In Model 2 (chap. 3), time was qualitatively and inherently different depending on the type of relationship in which intimacy was experienced. For example, learning about oneself requires knowing one's personal rhythms while a partnership entails journeying through time.

These two models focused more on the experience of time—whether experienced through interaction or through different types of relationship. In contrast, the next model (chap. 4) viewed relationships as themselves having different temporal features. These features are manifestations of temporal tendencies or forces (e.g., toward chaos or toward structure). Time was viewed across four quadrants of phasic tendencies. These temporal “forces” may or may not be external to the relationship, and relationships express or manifest them. Model 3 (chap. 4) introduced the idea that context—as nurturing condition—is itself a force or tendency rather than a logical abstraction. Thus, in reality, the abstract text of interaction described in Model 1 is never separate from the situation or context in which it unfolds. However, individuals bring to relationships their own idiosyncratic orientations toward text, or scripts.

These scripts are discussed in Model 4 (chap. 5) as cognitions that individuals embody within their personality and relationships. Here, time is

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