What Is Time ?

With social media and a little Justin Timberlake we have all heard statements and seen memes alluding to the fact that time is not real. It’s an illusion. There is no such thing as the past or the future. What does all this even mean though ?

shallow focus of clear hourglass

Nobody Knows What Time Is

Doing research for this topic, I find that basically nobody has a real answer. We’re really just floating through space and have no clue why. But there was a lot of information and people speaking about how time feels. A lot about the signs of it. If it’s just an illusion then why is there visible signs of aging ? Why do we notice subtle changes in the environment ? Why do we have clocks and calendars in an attempt to keep it ? Of course these questions can largely be answered but how sure are we of the validity of the answers ? If it is real and as rigid as many of us believe (using the term ‘many’ loosely) then why doesn’t every one all over the world follow the same concept of time ?

Linear Time

One concept of time is linear. This is the concept that Americans fall under and it is e x p e n s i v e.  We truly believe that time is money here in general and so just like we feel as if we can never have enough money, we feel like we can never have enough time either. We’re a profit oriented society and those ticks on the clock are a commodity and it’s scarce. Linear means we follow time as past then present with the future after that. We navigate between these three often. Switzerland, Germany and other Anglo-Saxon societies follow this concept too. People who follow the linear concept are also considered monochromatic which means they concentrate on a fixed schedule and usually have one thing before moving to the next.


Most Southern Europeans follow multi-active time. This means the more things they can cram into any given time, the happier and better off they feel. This is like extreme multitasking. They don’t typically follow schedules or care about being punctual. Cultures like Spaniards, Italians and Arabs completely ignore times passing and would much rather finish the conversation of whatever it is they’re doing before departing off to do anything else.

There’s Also Cyclical

In Eastern cultures there’s cyclical time. They pay attention to the sun setting and rising and the seasons changing. They also acknowledge the process of aging but that’s pretty much it ! The cycle will go on and on as it always had so to them time is infinite and that’s all you need to know. There’s no such thing really as being late or prompt because time flows abundantly in these cultures. This can make it extremely difficult for asians and Americans to do business together although we see that they definitely make it work somehow. But Americans shouldn’t expect Asians to come to decisions quickly. We may feel like they’re completely wasting time but that’s not how they perceive so it so treating it as such would come off as rude and unprofessional. 

How do you personally feel about these concepts ? Let us know in the comments ! And subscribe so you don’t miss a beat.

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