A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time by Michael G. Flaherty

By Michael G. Flaherty

Time, it's been acknowledged, is the enemy. In an period of harried lives, time turns out more and more invaluable as hours and days telescope and our lives usually appear to be flitting earlier. And but, at different instances, the mins drag on, every one tick of the clock excruciatingly drawn out. What explains this seeming paradox?

Based upon a whole decade's empirical examine, Michael G. Flaherty's new publication bargains awesome insights in this so much common human adventure. Flaherty surveys countless numbers of people of every age in an try to be certain how such phenomena as discomfort, violence, probability, boredom, pleasure, focus, surprise, and novelty impression our belief of time. Their tales make for exciting studying, via turns generic and unique, mundane and dramatic, bad and funny.

A qualitative and quantitative travel de strength, A Watched Pot offers what might be the 1st absolutely built-in conception of time and should be of curiosity to scientists, humanists, social scientists and the knowledgeable public alike.

A selection impressive educational Book.

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Extra resources for A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

Sample text

Between chuckles, they give me reme­ dial instructions on how to operate a prowl car and direct me to where I am next to appear. When I eventually arrive at the firehouse, David is standing on the corner chatting with another officer. Maybe ten minutes have passed since I left the section sergeant fondling the Mercedes, but of course it seems like years. 2 Van Maanen provides us with detailed description of a busy interval that evokes within him the feeling that time is passing very slowly.

Extraordinary circumstances make for abnormal tempo­ ral experiences, and the latter bring time to the surface of consciousness. Consequently, the stories people tell about lived duration provide only instances of deviant temporal­ ity. More precisely, they provide almost nothing but stories about unusual situations in which time was perceived to pass slowly. 3 From 1983 to 1994, my assistants and I have collected 705 first-person accounts of situations in which the passage of time was perceived to slow noticeably.

In addition, there is the further implication that, when time is not perceived to be passing quickly or slowly—that is, abnormally—lived duration goes largely unnoticed, as it is roughly synchronized with the intersub­ jective time of clocks and calendars. Therefore, we can dis­ tinguish three points along the continuum that represents Paradoxical Variation / 34 variation in the perceived passage of time. Each of these points corresponds to one of the three elementary forms, and, for the sake of convenience, I shall refer to these points by name: protracted duration, temporal compression, and synchronicity.

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