“Sometimes the timings of human life are compared to those of the physical and organic worlds to geometric movement or those of the life-cycle of seasons of plants and animals. Yet there is a distinctive aspect to the significance of ‘timing’ in the flow of human action: images of time in social life may counterpoint the ubiquitous rhythms of physical or organic nature but are not reducible to them. In some sense, and here we acknowledge Gell’s key point, there is always a one-way movement in personal life or in the flow of history, despite symbolic and religious denials. But to help ourselves along we have an interesting habit of invoking shape, regularity, and rhythm as we speak of, and enact, the ‘timings’ of actions and events we take part in, or learn from others. Our languages are full of such idioms of regularity, from grammar and vocabulary to the stories we tell of the past and the future, not to mention the ceremonial occasions which mark our shared sense of time, and these cultural conventions thus help us to locate ourselves in a more or less predictable and comfortable knowable ‘present’. Our sense of timing is imbued with a sense of where we are in relation to patterns of the proper whole…………….”


W. James & D. Mills, The Qualities of Time: Anthropological Approaches


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s