At the close of last year I had a mini freak out. “Where did 2010 go?” This year is another story. “Is 2011 every going to end?” It feels like three years since last Christmas.

How does that work? What is the connection between external time (or cosmological time) – earth’s rotations – and internal time (or psychological time) – in our minds?

Let me consider my own case:

I stayed still in 2010, for the most part, living in Sydney in the one apartment. Half of the year I spent writing and editing, followed by a quick trip to India and Nepal, speaking at some conferences, finalizing my first article’s publication, and enrolling in an MPhil. Then my sister got married and the second half of the year I spent studying part-time and working 3.5 days a week. The year flew so fast it scared me into making some rash New Years resolutions.

Those resolutions created havoc. The year started with bleeding feet (barnacles whilst swimming NYE) and has continued in cycles of fun & disaster: I bought a scooter, had a blast, then got a massive fine for riding when my learner license had expired; I bought a kombi-van, had a blast, then had to sell it on Ebay when it broke down a week later. The first half of the year I was still in Sydney, working and studying crazy hours, upgrading to a PhD, and editing my book from 250,000 down to 150,000 words. The second half of 2011 stared with trooping around Europe and ripping the skin off my arm and leg in the scooter accident in Greece; I taught my own Storytelling curriculum at Lenoir Rhyne university and then was in a car accident on route to Chicago; an enormous effort to edit my book from 150,000 down to 100,000 words (wahoo!!!); and most recently after teaching two zumba songs I cut my wrist (very accidentally) catching a table from falling. All in ONE year? Good bad, up down, beautiful and ugly — that has been 2011 — the longest year of my life.

Einstein’s Law of Relativity? I guess, in a way…

When one stays still, time feels slow at the time but the year/s go by fast.

When one is moving, time feels like it flies but the year as a whole seems to last forever.

At least that’s my psychological experience with time…

How do others say external and internal time relate? Ricoeur says they are mediated through story. Every day we live stories, we tell stories and we anticipate future stories, and this is how we track cosmological time, and make sense of of psychological time. Heidegger talks about the “now” as a paper edge between of the horizon of anticipation and the horizon of the past.

One of the highs of my year is an encountered with Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, and Paul Ricoeur’s Narrative and Time.

I will be crudely honest: when I first properly encountered him and some other philosophers here in Hickory a few months ago I thought it was a wank — that it was learning to speak a posh lingo that few could understand, which made people feel intelligent and others ignorant, and that’s about it.

My group of friends here have given me a taste of the rich chocolate of these thinker’s works. Heidegger and Ricoeur are terribly difficult to read, but they are already opening my eyes to a new way of seeing the world.

Putting into words things we do without thinking and patterns that surround us — like “leveling off” to the be closer (in intelligence, appearance, skill, habits) to people who surround you — once you have words to describe them, you gain power over them. I’ll be sharing their thoughts with you as I come to a stronger grip on them…One introduction that you might be interested in, if you want to join me on this journey, is this 30 min BBC documentary that provides some context to this great (and horrible) thinker:


PS Apologies for the haphazardness of some recent entries – this blog became an easy way to have YouTube clips “ready-to-hand” (as Heidegger might say) in case I wanted to draw from them in class. Classes are over now so hopefully the entries will be a little more focused…