Time perspective

Created on Thursday, August 27, 2009.
Filed under .

I recently read a book called The Time Paradox by John Boyd and Philip Zimbardo, who is an accomplished social psychologist, to say the least. The premise of the book is that who you are is formed by the environment you are in and the decision you’ve made, and that all of those in turn are formed at least in part by your perception of time. In this case I don’t mean the speed at which you perceive time to be passing, but rather the relationship you have with the ever-lengthening timeline of your life; you might be very upset when thinking about your past, or you could be optimistic of the future, or you could not care about anything but the present, for example.

I may have realised why I find it hard to connect with other people. I think the problem is that the present does not exist for me, in any important way.

Time to elaborate: my scores on the ZTPI, a test that analyses your relationship to time, shows that I am past-positive — meaning that I am happy with and proud of pretty much all the major events in my past — and future-oriented — meaning that I am working towards having a future that I will be comfortable with. My present-time scores, on the other hand, are fully one point lower than my scores for the past and future.

What this translates to in actual practice is simple: the present is not a time for doing fun things and going nuts, but a timeframe wherein I make decisions either so that a) I don’t regret them in hindsight, or b) I can put myself in a better position to meet the future.

That's all there is, there isn't any more.
© Desi Quintans, 2002 – 2018.