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May 4, 2006

'Why are you so hung up on clocks when you think time is an illusion?'


Above, the best reader question of the year, just in yesterday morning at 9:31:22 a.m. EDT (but who's keeping track of the time, right?).

The question was submitted by reader jd.

It stopped me in my tracks — or would have if my tracks hadn't been moving at 0.7 mph.

Oh, my.

I am gobsmacked into silence.

I have no answer.

I could fill this post with free association that appeared to be an answer but it really wouldn't be.

I'm reminded of Ingmar Bergman's piercing observation, "Explanations are simply clumsy rationalizations with hindsight."

I have believed that to be true from the moment I read it many years ago.

But you can bet that I am going to turn the clock question over in my mind a time or ten million in days to come.

Thanks, jd, for the laser focus of your observation.

For now, please refer to yesterday's closing



May 4, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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(Thanks, Matt!)

OK, maybe it's just that I'm really strange and surrounded by my equally strange (and wonderful) joehead crowd, I now think I'm normal. But this time is an illusion/clock obsession does not seem odd to me. It's logical. (But I have been accused often of having no common sense, so don't listen to me. I say, who wants any sense that's common anyway?!)

I have many friends who are obsessed with cookbooks who haven't touched a saucepan in years. There are those I know who love to read book reviews but read very few actual books.

If you visit my site, you'll see I'm obsessed with cocktail recipes. You would think my house is akin to bistro, but I drink very seldom and even then generally have a glass of wine (shiraz or pinot grigio if you're interested in sending me a bottle) or an ice-cold Corona with extra fresh lime.

But I like the idea of the cocktail. Just like my friends like the idea of cooking.

And some people like the idea of me shutting up so I will stop typing for now. ;)

Posted by: Shawn Lea | May 4, 2006 4:28:39 PM

Well, we are a social species, and to make social interaction work, commom agreement on the illusion of time produced clocks.

Shawn - Nice lyric.

Posted by: mattp9 | May 4, 2006 2:05:22 PM

Time may be an illusion, but there are some pretty darn nifty clocks out there!

Posted by: Sr. Mary Hasta | May 4, 2006 1:11:36 PM

It is an excellent question.

I have a thought (hold on tight, it's like the birth of philosophy here) - pretty simple, really (no wisecracks) - that maybe it is precisely BECAUSE you think time is an illusion that you are obsessed with timekeeping devices.

Hm. Or is the other way 'round. Your clock hang-up has impressed upon you the nonsense of "time."

I would refer you to your chicken/egg salt & pepper shaker post of a few days ago.

Posted by: Flutist | May 4, 2006 1:07:39 PM

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all.
~ Joni Mitchell

Posted by: Shawn Lea | May 4, 2006 10:30:05 AM

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