By Michael G. Flaherty

Time, it's been acknowledged, is the enemy. In an period of harried lives, time turns out more and more important 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? dependent upon an entire decade's empirical examine, Michael G. Flaherty's new ebook deals extraordinary insights in this such a lot common human event. Flaherty surveys hundreds of thousands of people of every age in an try and make sure how such phenomena as ache, violence, probability, boredom, excitement, focus, surprise, and novelty impression our notion of time. Their tales make for fascinating interpreting, by way of turns general and unique, mundane and dramatic, bad and humorous. A qualitative and quantitative journey de strength, A Watched Pot offers what may be the 1st totally built-in conception of time and should be of curiosity to scientists, humanists, social scientists and the knowledgeable public alike. a call remarkable educational publication.

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Extra resources for A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

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One freez­ ing cold day, we spent the whole day walking all over New York City, and we kissed on the Avenue of the Americas, outside a bank. When we kissed, my heart felt like it was going to burst, and the world began to swirl around me. 19 Peter Berger gives us a helpful summary: “Joy is play’s in­ tention. ”20 This Protracted Duration / 50 statement reminds us that we are dealing with transforma­ tions in the perception of reality—transformations that, by nature or design, rivet one’s attention to matters at hand.

Plan of the Book How can we account for variation in the perceived passage of time? Despite considerable effort, this question remains unresolved. The persistence of this problem does not stem from neglect so much as reluctance to pursue research within the empirical confines of everyday life. By and large, scholars have emphasized experimental control at the ex- Introduction / 19 pense of thorough familiarity with naturally occurring vari­ ation. In chapter 2, I take the measure of that variation by establishing what must be explicated: the three paradoxical aspects and three elementary forms of lived duration.

5 On the contrary, it is quite apparent that Koestler himself fills his time in prison with attention to all manner of subjective and objective experiences. He stares at his watch; he thinks about time; he makes chalk marks on the walls of his cell. And, of course, there were any number of other things that do not appear in his narrative—things that were thought, felt, and done in a desperate attempt to while away the long months of his solitary confinement. It is in this sense that “just killing time” can be a very active en­ deavor.

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