Real Time And Unreal Times

Writing for The Boston Globe, Erin McKean explores some different ways of defining and experiencing time.

Writing for The Boston Globe, Erin McKean explores some different ways of defining and experiencing time. Jumping off from the increasingly popular notion of “real time“, she examines the other ways of demarcating experience.

McKean explains:

The term “real time” has become such a part of English that we have forgotten how unreal it sounds. Earlier this month, Google announced it would be adding real-time information to its search results, and we already expect real-time information about all sorts of other things: traffic, weather, stock quotes, flight tracking – for some reason, we feel we need to know about all the boring hassles of our lives with split-second precision.

But when we’re telling stories, when we’re sharing personal, emotional information, we rely on “unreal times.” We want times that relate to experiences, not to abstractions. We’ve always had flexible times in English (lunch time, teatime, nap time) and times that, while tethered to the clock, convey much more than flashing numbers can get across: midnight, high noon.

The Boston Globe: “Unreal time”

[via 3 Quarks Daily]

[image by kwerfeldein]

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