At work tonight, a coworker commented that time seemed to be standing still. I and everyone else agreed. At times like these, I usually just reflect on how much I wish I was not working :cry: . But tonight I couldn’t help but wonder “how in the hell is that?”. How can five minutes seem like five hours and vice versa? Who is right, the watch or me? Of course the watch is correct, but does that really matter? If someone told you that time was a constant, but you ALWAYS sporadically experienced the opposite, would you believe them? Shouldn’t time be measured by how longed it seemed? (if it were possible) It’d be nice if I were payed that way :smiley: . Perhaps this is an example of the “is reality objective or subjective?” argument. Oh well.

Anyway, I don’t really know if there is a way to respond to this post. Sorry if anyone’s time is wasted reading it :confused:

Matthew E.

Your experience of time have nothing to do with the clock. There have been studies (Professor Harald Schjelderup “Den dolda människan”, Stockholm, 1987, l:a uppl. 1962) ) of subjective timecompression where the subjective experience was two hours when the “objective” time was just a couple of seconds. Experience of timeflow depend on what your own consiousness experiences; because time’s essence is a subjective experience of movement, not the movement itself. In different mindstates experience of time is different. During daytime in an active mode people however tend to experience time similar, but this have more to do with that our mindsetting and experience then is quite syncroniced, so there usually are no conflicts between different subjects.

If you stare at the clock for three hours (and the clock also have a display for 1/10 seconds) in a bright room, time will move slower then if you are dancing for three hours in a room full of people after you have taken som alcohol :slight_smile: I would say that times moves about 1000 times slower so it’s a big difference. If you actually stare at the clock for 3 hours you will remember this peried as a rather hard time of your life. BUT your mind will probably not accept this cruel treatment…

After I stopped using a clock I found myself old over one night, but I sure enjoyed it!


“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”
-Albert Einstein, On relativity

another perspective that John touched upon briefly, which I find interesting, is that time in the sense of a twenty four hour clock is just a synchronism with the sun, the moon, and the stars. Hence, everything in our lives relating to time is related to the repeated analysis of the moving objects relative to our lives of day and night, wake and asleep. It could be viewed that if the Earth travelled slower around the sun, or faster, we may still have a twenty four hour clock that would be marked by more points (instead of sixty seconds to a minute, there might then be 190 or 30) or less. My point here being that to me, time isn’t anything different from moving matter. Time is an abstract concept used by us to help organize our lives to be efficient and productive. If Earth did move slower around the sun, we wouldn’t think that time is going slower, we would say time is still the same and the Earth has merely slowed down. Although, we would find ourselves adjust our lives and clocks according to the new timing or rising and setting sun. This has led to a belief that time is somehow outside of matter. Personally, I don’t believe so. Regardless of the fact that matter can be sped up or slowed down.

What’s your take?

What is time if not moving matter? What is time if every aspect of the substance is not moving? Yes our clocks are synchronized with the sun, it works well because the movement is constant, at least for now. Synchronizing our clocks with the sun while it’s being eaten by a black hole is more difficult :slight_smile: Time is not a big deal in my opinion. It’s an abstract creation of our mind like Magius say. There exist no past or future, there is only now, and the substance has changed position in the room, it did those changes right now. Before and after does not exist; you can place everything back in the same position again (if you are talented), and voila; there you have the past. Our mind makes frames, it’s very annoying, but after a long period of meditation I manage to remove those frames, a wonderful feeling. We also get time-awareness from entropy in our bodies. All those aspects manage to create a good illusion of time.


hello i agree with magus and johan.time has nothing to with the clock.time is measured by our own mind and experences.who knows our life could only be a second to someother unversal time and visa versa.

I agree, like everything else time depends on perspective. And, come to think of it, how is a watch’s perspective more valid than our own?

rather lengthy…
i saved this text from some essay i read. cant find the source so i C&Ped it here. it kinda provided some answers for my clockVSme questions…
covers :authentic time and heidegger.

How does a clock show time?

How does a clock show the time? This question is probably answered nonchalantly by the man on the street in this way: the hour, the minute and the second hands point to the numbers on the face of a clock, reflecting the time, say, 12:10:03. Such a question seems so illogical in our everydayness unless we start to ponder upon what time really is. But we ask ourselves, is time merely numbers? If time is not merely a number, say, 12:10:03, we then start to question: does the clock really show the time, if time is not what we think it to be? What then does the clock show? Heidegger certainly believes time, numerically quantified, is not the authentic time. If a clock indeed does show the time, how then does it do so if time cannot be numerically quantified?
In this paper, I will first illustrate what a clock is, and the way it shows the time, the kind that we understand it to be in our everyday. I will then delineate the point that this clock time is not the fundamental authentic time that Heidegger asserts, thereafter proceeding to illustrate how this fundamental authentic time is shown to us instead. In the process, I will also show how our understanding of time as clock time arose from the authentic time. My conclusion will emphasize how the clock shows both the inauthentic and authentic time.
A clock is a physical instrument within which its mechanics repeat an identical cyclical temporal sequence to be reflected. Each cycle of a clock corresponds identically with any of its other cycles, such that each point of time is reflected again and again at every complete cycle. These corresponding intervals are constant in the sense that they are not perturbed by changes not concerned with its mechanics. The mechanics maintain the duration of each cycle, whereby its length and the identical subdivisions in this length are arbitrarily determined. Physicists make use of the mechanics of a clock to measure the span of an event so that this event is numerically quantifiable, with respect to the subdivisions in the duration of the cycle. Daily life has also utilized physics to explicate occurrences by quantifying their duration. Thus we have the clock that shows us the same times we are familiar with everyday; the numbers and times the clock shows are repeated to us with each cycle. This is our everyday clock time.

A clock is nothing more than a physical device that tags an event with numerical points and quantity. Heidegger says, 'Since any point in time (in science) differs from the preceding one only that it is the subsequent point relative to it, it is thus possible to measure time’1. The time-points of the clock have no privilege over one another since a now-point may be randomly fixed as a reference value for other time-points to compare against. These time-points are then said to be earlier or later than this now-point. Any time-point can be the now-point, thus clock time is homogenous. Only when time is homogenous can it be measured. Time in this sense is conditional: it requires a now-point to be fixed, but this now-point may be picked from any time-point. The clock only fixes specific now-points with every ticking of its second hand; its primary function is not to give time length, to measure time. When one talks of the “now” of the clock, he states the numbers he sees, just as the man on the street says it is 12:10:03 now. However, the clock does implicitly give time length; as I look at the clock, the first thing I realise is that it is four o’clock now. It has been three hours since I started on this page of my essay. I will take my dinner in two hours time, at six o’clock. As soon as I relate time in this way, I have measured and thus quantified time. In everyday life, one naturally relates time in this way, because the world is concerned with definite times like these.
This time, measured with its length assigned to an occurrence and labelled with a mere number, is not the authentic time, says Heidegger. This clock time, this mechanical and numerical time, is quantitative. It is the concept of time in Science, which destroys the intrinsic Concept of Time. Authentic time is not an object and it cannot be quantified. A clock can only tell us “how much” time there is, “how much” time has elapsed, “when” the time should come before something will happen. All this association with “how much” and “when” is not at all related to time itself; it is related only to measurement and calculation. Clock time is only a miniscule abstract of the time concepts of our daily life, together with the many other concepts such as calendar and festival times. Time is discredited when misinterpreted merely as clock time.
What then is this time, this fundamental authentic time Heidegger speaks of with such profound understanding? He contends that the way to approach this question is by inquiring into our experiences, because time is a feature of our experiences. Time is not an object with characteristics; it is not a physical entity perspicuous so that it shows itself tangible. Even Kant agrees that time is how we encounter everything; time comes into everything we involve ourselves in. Our experiences are certainly not numbers and thus time cannot be numbers! A clock shows only numbers, not experience. If I look at a clock now, I only see the numbers telling me it is nine o’clock. I do not see myself writing this essay. Yet whenever I look at the clock, I see a number that I can relate my experience - my writing this essay - to. The numbers of a clock have no significance if I cannot place alongside it my experience.
Heidegger says, 'What matters in the question concerning time is attaining an answer in terms of which the various ways of being temporal become comprehensible’2. So the question of time inquires into Dasein, our Existence, our ‘being-in-the-world’. It seems strange that Heidegger knows what time really is from the human being, when the human being is perplexed by the question of time. But he should not be mistaken because what he is really talking about is human existence, our ways of Being, because we exist temporally. How time is shown to us is the way we live time, and this is clearly distinct from clock time, which is inauthentic time. Heidegger argues that we can only experience time without reifying time. This is why he relates time to Dasein, which he says cannot be proven, but only experienced, only by ‘being it’. How true this is! How else can one prove his way of Being? The only way to appreciate Dasein is to be involved in its world.
Heidegger also says, 'On average, the interpretation of Dasein is governed by everydayness, by what one traditionally says about Dasein and human life. It is governed by the “One”, by tradition’3. By this, he means that we are inevitably caught up in our world. Engrossed in our temporal worldly affairs, we lose sight of this fundamental authentic time. We follow the crowd. We do what everyone else is doing to keep up with them. We become one of ‘them’. This is our way of Being, where we create our own time concepts to suit our own temporal needs. Clock time, one of the multitudes of the aspects in the plurality of heterogeneous concepts, arose in such a way. Dasein reckons with time so ordinary that it associates itself with the “how much” and the “when”. Doing so, it loses its time. But this is the way Dasein is, the way we are.

Fortunately, according to Heidegger, we can hold ourselves temporarily - in distinguished moments of our Dasein - in the authentic temporality, or the resolute anticipation of our goneness. In realising this extreme possibility of our Dasein, which is death, we catch the moment of insight that we are ‘alreadiness becoming’. What we were involved with in the past makes us what we already are. At the same time, we are on our way to become, to become gone. Death is certain yet indeterminate. When I see myself being Nothing ascertained, my cares and woes of my everydayness are liberated. The facade of everyday time is then unveiled to reveal the authentic time. This time allows me to traverse years of my past deeds in my thoughts. These deeds I experienced were constantly there as memories that I can never leave behind. What I did when I was a child is always part of what I already am. I may not be able to re-enact my experience of building a sand castle at the beach when I was five, but nevertheless, that experience is one I can retrieve as my very own. Such time is authentic; it is qualitative.
The concept of Time itself, the very life-activity of Dasein, is reduced, in this inauthentic interpretation, to clock-time, a mere succession of moments, an incessant and meaningless ticking in which the world simply happens to no one.4 When one identifies authentic temporality as Dasein’s ultimate possibility, that which is indeterminate yet certain, one begins to see the inadequacy in using the concept of clock time to grasp time. If I discover that I am going to die on the dateline of this essay, I will not worry about writing it. In fact, every deed acted upon from the moment of the discovery would not be a deed that works toward any other plan I had after the dateline.
Let us review what has been mentioned so far. Time, as the authentic time is not numerically quantifiable. It is when this qualitative authentic time is objectified from the temporal process of our self-constitution that clock time is derived. Clock time reflects numbers, which quantifies time. It is inauthentic time. In recognising that we, as temporal beings, have the definite possibility of dying at any moment, we catch a glimpse of what authentic time is, and see the insignificance of our everyday concept of time, including the clock time.
To conclude, let us reconsider this question before we return to the one of original concern. Does a clock show time? Indeed it does. But it reflects only numbers, and authentic time cannot be quantitatively determined. How then does a clock show the time?
The numbers themselves do not mean anything alongside with other numbers. But as interpretative beings we translate these numbers into something meaningful by relating them to occurrences in our lives. When I look at a clock, I see it is three o’clock. It is nine hours away from the term essay dateline. Three and nine o’clock have no significance until I compare them to each other. These numbers became important only when I relate it to the essay dateline. Such interpretation of clock time is used inherently by all of us in our everyday. This is the way the clock shows time to us–the inauthentic everyday time.
We have become so dependent on the clock to show us the time of our everyday that we cannot see how in fact the clock shows the time- not just the time of our everyday concept of time, but the authentic time. The clock incessantly fixes new now-points. But this “now” came about from the “I am”, and it is the “I am” that permits the clock it’s now-points. Dasein speaks, “Now it is getting very late; now I am very tired; now I am hungry.” All these “nows” originated from Dasein, which is associated with authentic time. This is how a clock provides the route to capture the time; this is how a clock shows the time.
“A clock shows the time. How?” This illogical question doesn’t seem so absurd after all, once we realise the implications of the concepts of time - inauthentic everyday time and fundamental authentic time.