A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

Synopsis

Flaherty invites us into the fascinating world of the phenomenology of time and offers an analysis of the discrepancy between clock time and our subjective experience of duration.

Excerpt

As you read these words, consider the following fact: that in so doing, you are marking time. There is no need to consult your watch; its movements merely externalize and run parallel to the kaleidoscopic stream of experience that you distill into an image of duration. You inhale and exhale as the blood courses through your veins. You shift the position of your legs, and, hearing something, look up in time to see a petal drop from the flowers on your table. in like fashion, these words enter your stream of consciousness as a skein of events.

The fundamental quality of duration is embedded in our impression that things are not as they were before; that is, that things have changed. Human beings are unique in part because they are capable of fusing their experience of heterogeneous events into a coherent sense of persistence. We can attend to change by remembering the past, stepping back from the present, and anticipating the future. Our clocks and calendars mark time, but they do not make time.

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