The 4th Floor's Podcast

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Time and Perception

It's been a long time since my first trip to a psych ward.  Nearly nine years ago, I went off the deep end. I spent nearly three hours in the house I was staying at trying to set all the clocks to the exact same time.  I went from clock to clock trying to change the time.  Each time was met with utter failure as the clock in the previous room still had a different time.  I recruited my ex girlfriend to help alleviate some of these problems, yet nothing could fix the feeling of panic as I was faced with a concept that wasn't constant.

I have a problem with things that aren't set in stone, as I find myself constantly battling with friends and family over start times and dates for events.  The problem is to me that time is short.  We only have a set amount of time to live the life that we are given, and in that time I want to experience as much as I can while there's time.  I wouldn't suggest that people get as OCD as I do about time.  I went to my therapist's office once, and literally told them that they needed to fix the clock on their wall because it was wrong.  Another week went by , and once again the time was wrong.  The looks that were aimed in my direction as I changed the clock to the time on my phone were quite comical, but it was something that must be done.

This isn't the focus of this blog, the focus of this blog is time.  Time is a mysterious force, while there is such a thing as a universal clock, time really is one of the most subjective and personal experiences we face everyday.  We've all been asked an ETA at some point in our life, and my answer from the same location to the same destination will differ from your answer.  Not only that but look at the closest clock you have that was set by your own two hands.  You got that time, now take a peak at the computer screen, chances are it's different as well.

Time can be completely different.  My 2PM is not your 2PM and the examples could go on and on.  Despite all this we try to control time as much as possible. Whether it be through plastic surgery, hair styles, clothing, or a number of various cosmetic ways of hiding the time we have been on the earth.  As we age we try to reverse time, and as we're young we pine for the time when we can have the freedoms that age grants us.  People are almost never entirely satisfied with time.  Some find pleasure in the uniform schedule and others enjoy the rampant chaos that comes from time and a hectic schedule.
Time is a good catalyst for how the world works, the business day is 9AM to 5PM bars close at 2AM in Maryland, and your cable is set to a time.  Without this purely subjective and man made phenomenon we wouldn't be able to handle much of the tasks given to us.  We could, but there would be no deadlines, and some people need a method to know when to get things done.  The problem though is that it's all man made.  Time doesn't exist, not in it's form today.  No one person mentioned time before people assigned a numerical value to it.  There are scientific formulas for how we got the 24 hour cycle, but all in all that was not how the world was designed to work.  If it was, there would be no time zones.  Everything would be set to the same time, and by arbitrary means that would be the time we worked.

For example, if we set the system up so that everything ran off EST, then the business day in California would start 6AM.  The time zones were created as a way to allow people to work in California when it was light out rather then in the middle of the night.  At the same time, time is no different then language. It's a symbol for the rotation of the Earth, just as language is a symbol for the various objects and communications that we need to provide to our fellow members of the species.  It's unique to us, but we created the English language.  It was a mix of several different dialects that eventually became what we know today.

The purpose of this blog is struggling to be found, but I suppose you could leave it with this message.  Reality is only what you perceive to be true.  If you believe yourself to be a dog, and truly do so, then you are a dog. If you believe that you can understand the difference between a rose, and rose then congratulations we share a sense of reality.  Otherwise just remember the American reality is just that; The American Reality, and doesn't belong in other cultures, their reality is that way for a reason, and their reality is their own to perceive.

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