Dec 19, 2009

Being and Time

My brother, now a philosophy professor at the University of Dayton, recounted one of the problems philosophy students have when going on a date. He was once on a date with a young coed and she asked him why he had been in the university library all afternoon on a beautiful spring Saturday, instead of out enjoying the day. He told her he was trying to read Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time for a test he had in class on the following Monday morning. Then she said, “Well, I don’t see what the big deal is. Everyone knows that people should be on time. It is simply the polite thing to do.” My brother said that was their first and last date.

It seems as if everyone has a concept of time. A friend of mine who is a Navaho pastor tried explaining to me her people’s concept of time as it differed from mainstream America. When I lived in Africa, my friends there shared with me notions about how they measured time. Their concept of time was much different from the chronological understanding of time that I entertained. Even those who are sporting fans have opinions about time. I know a man who says he can’t stand baseball because, contrary to football and basketball, “baseball does not employ a clock” and therefore, is not exciting enough. Strange logic indeed. In fact, if one is a football or basketball enthusiast, then you know that time is more important in the fourth quarter than in the first. Talk about strange logic.

Whatever all this means about time at least I know this much: the quotation about time by Edward Verrall Lucas is very funny. He wrote, "People who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them."


Debbie said...

My brother has never worn a watch. Yet, he somehow gets where he needs to be. Putting on my watch is one of the first things I do every morning and I am seldom late. But as Lucas stated, my brother is certainly jollier!

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