A summary of ‘A Geography of Time’ by Robert Levine
The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist
Or How Every Culture Keeps Time Just a Little Bit Differently
In this wonderful and captivating treatise Levine has explored the intriguing human experiences of time that have hitherto remained unexplored and undescribed. We are taken through the ages and around the world on an enchanting tour to explore the temporal concepts across cultures and nations. We are to realise that the traditional temporal concepts are largely inadequate when we travel from one country to another or move from one culture into another. That everyone does not share any common perception of time rings loud and clear in every page of the book. For example, we are taken to Brazil, where to be late by 3 hours is perfectly acceptable whereas when we visit Japan we encounter that peculiar sense of the long-term which is quite unheard of in the west. We come across concepts like ‘nature time’ that consists of rhythms of the sun and the seasons, by which time is lived.
We confront awkward questions such as ‘How do you use your time?’, ‘Are we ruled by the clock?’, ‘What does our concept of time do to our cities, our bodies?’ etc. There is no doubt that time has come to constrain culture. Therefore we ought to function 'multi-temporally’ and chart our own geography of time.