Tag Archives | time

An Essay on Time From a Dying Neurosurgeon: “Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 11.27.31 AM

Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon, knew he was dying. His time was limited, and after being released from the hospital due to a relapse in lung cancer, his daughter was born. For him, the expectation of death warped time. Now, the hours in a day, the minutes in an hour, meant something different.

Here’s his moving adieu to the world.

He died on March 9, 2015 at the age of 37.

Paul Kalanithi writes at Stanford Medicine:

There are two strategies to cutting the time short, like the tortoise and the hare. The hare moves as fast as possible, hands a blur, instruments clattering, falling to the floor; the skin slips open like a curtain, the skull flap is on the tray before the bone dust settles. But the opening might need to be expanded a centimeter here or there because it’s not optimally placed. The tortoise proceeds deliberately, with no wasted movements, measuring twice, cutting once.

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Temporality, Friedrich Nietzsche & Modern Times

In Conversation with Espen Hammer


What is time? Has our relation to temporality changed time? Norwegian philosopher Espen Hammer talks to four by three about our shifting time consciousness, Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideas about circular time, the promises and dissatisfactions with modern times and how art might be the key to new existential possibilities.

Questions by Bernard Hay and Christine Jakobson
Originally appeared on four by three magazine.


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Cambridge University Press

four by three: A central thesis of Philosophy and Temporality from Kant to Critical Theory is that a theory of modern temporality is crucial for grasping certain dissatisfactions that arise in Western modern societies. What motivated you to undertake a study of temporality and to put forth this claim?

Espen Hammer: I had for a long time been working on, and trying to get a grasp of, the post-Hegelian tradition of European philosophy – the line, basically, from Hegel and Schopenhauer to Nietzsche, Heidegger and the Frankfurt School.… Read the rest

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How Long is History According to Islam?

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Kenitra – My previous article ‘The First People’ hints at the idea that history of mankind is longer than what people generally assume. Some readers and friends have pointed out that history cannot be more than 6,000 years old. This view is inconsistent with the NASA estimation for the astronomical cycle of the vernal equinox precession that lasts 25,800 years and which had been observed in the remote past. This conservative viewpoint of history, which some people cling to, stems from the influence of the Judeo-Christian calendar as well as the lack of historical records beyond 6,000 B.C. Islam however is silent about the length of history or at least indirect.

This article is an attempt to demonstrate how vast history is and to determine a conservative estimation of its length according to Islam. Before we proceed to that, we need to take a look at what the Judeo-Christian tradition view on history’s span.… Read the rest

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Depression Distorts People’s Perception of Time, Study Finds

oatsy40 (CC BY 2.0)

oatsy40 (CC BY 2.0)

Depression can lead to time distortion.

via PsyBlog:

Most people experience differences in how time is perceived, with or without depression.

For example, 10 minutes in the dentist’s waiting-room can seem like an hour.

While an enjoyable conversation with a good friend can pass in the blink of an eye.

What a new study finds, though, is that depressed people have a general feeling that time is passing more slowly, or even that it has stopped.

Dr. Daniel Oberfeld-Twistel, one of the study’s authors, said:

“Psychiatrists and psychologists in hospitals and private practices repeatedly report that depressed patients feel that time only creeps forward slowly or is passing in slow motion.

The results of our analysis confirm that this is indeed the case.”

The strange part is what happens when people with depression are asked to judge intervals of time.

For example, they are asked to watch a movie and estimate its length.

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How Time Tricks Our Minds

(Photo: darrentunnicliff/Flickr)

(Photo: darrentunnicliff/Flickr)

Rick Paulas via Pacific Standard:

“Time passes slowly up here in the mountains / We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains / Catch the wild fishes that float through the stream / Time passes slowly when you’re lost in a dream”  —Bob Dylan, “Time Passes Slowly”

No, Bob. It doesn’t.

Time doesn’t pass slowly or quickly, unless you happen to be near a black hole. (Even then, it’s more time relative to other people’s experience of time, not time itself.) Time just passes, same as always, one second at a time. But there are certain instances when, despite this knowledge, it just doesn’t feel that way. Back in school, those last 20 minutes before the bell rung just seemed … to … take … forever. Or when you’re at an amazing party, and it’s over before you know it.

Last week, I experienced a subtle time shift of my own.

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The Unreality of Time

violscraper via flickr

violscraper via flickr

Via Physics Central

Philosophy and physics may seem like polar opposites, but they regularly address quite similar questions. Recently, physicists have revisited a topic with modern philosophical origins dating over a century ago: the unreality of time. What if the passage of time were merely an illusion? Can a world without time make sense?

While a world without the familiar passage of time may seem far-fetched, big names in physics, such as string theory pioneer Ed Witten and theorist Brian Greene, have recently embraced such an idea. A timeless reality may help reconcile differences between quantum mechanics and relativity, but how can we make sense of such a world? If physics does indeed suggest that the flow of time is illusory, then philosophy may be able to shed light on such a strange notion.

British philosopher J.M.E McTaggart advanced this idea in 1908 in his paper titled, “The Unreality of Time.

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Time is Slowly Disappearing from Our Universe

Hartwig HKD (CC by-nd 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC by-nd 2.0)

via Daily Galaxy:

What if the time part of the the space-time continuum equation was literally running out? Perhaps evidence suggests that time is slowly disappearing from our universe, and will one day vanish completely –a radical theory may explain a cosmological mystery that has puzzled scientists for years.

Scientists previously have measured the light from distant exploding stars to show that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. They assumed that these supernovae are spreading apart faster as the universe ages. Physicists also assumed that a kind of anti-gravitational force must be driving the galaxies apart, and started to call this unidentified force “dark energy”.The idea that time itself could cease to be in billions of years – and everything will grind to a halt – was proposed in 2009 by Professor José Senovilla, Marc Mars and Raül Vera of the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, and University of Salamanca, Spain.

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Future Drugs Will Allow Prisoners To Serve A ‘1,000-Year Sentence In 8 Hours’

jail-toiletHow will the worst villains of the future be made to atone for their crimes? Aeon Magazine speaks to University of Oxford professor Rebecca Roache, who hauntingly forecasts that punishment will someday revolve around the dilation of time:

As biotech companies pour billions into life extension technologies, some have suggested that our cruelest criminals could be kept alive indefinitely, to serve sentences spanning millennia. But private prison firms could one day develop drugs that make time pass more slowly, so that an inmate’s 10-year sentence feels like an eternity. One way or another, humans could soon be in a position to create an artificial hell.

Take someone convicted of a heinous crime. There are a number of psychoactive drugs that distort people’s sense of time, so you could imagine developing a pill or a liquid that made someone feel like they were serving a 1,000-year sentence.

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People Are More Honest In The Morning

PIC: ENCMSTR (CC)

PIC: ENCMSTR (CC)

The next time you go shopping for a car you might want to start at the crack of dawn.  According to results published in the journal of Psychological Science, people appear to be more honest in the morning, but become less so as the day wears on.

Psychological Science:

…the normal, unremarkable experiences associated with everyday living can deplete one’s capacity to resist moral temptations. In a series of four experiments, both undergraduate students and a sample of U.S. adults engaged in less unethical behavior (e.g., less lying and cheating) on tasks performed in the morning than on the same tasks performed in the afternoon. This morning morality effect was mediated by decreases in moral awareness and self-control in the afternoon. Furthermore, the effect of time of day on unethical behavior was found to be stronger for people with a lower propensity to morally disengage. These findings highlight a simple yet pervasive factor (i.e., the time of day) that has important implications for moral behavior.

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Manifesto for Living in the Now

RelojDespertadorCounterculture stalwart Douglas Rushkoff tells Discover that the future is bright for those of us willing to live in the present:

Discover: Are some people confusing the idea of “presentism,” of living in the present, with tweeting and texting and constantly updating Facebook?

Rushkoff: The faux now of Twitter updates and things pinging at you — all the pulses from digitality that we try to keep up with because we sense that there’s something going on that we need to tap into — are artifacts, or symptoms of living in this atemporal reality. And it’s not any worse than living in the “time is money” reality that we’re leaving.

D: What do you have against clocks?

DR: Time has always been used against us on a certain level. The invention of the clock made us accountable to the employer, gave us a standard measure and stopwatch management, and it also led to the requirement of interest-bearing currency to grow over time, the requirement of the expansion of our economy.

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