A Commonplace

What is a commonplace?

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7/10/2017

Quotations from Robert Levine's Geography of Time

when I looked around at my elders, the numbers never seemed to add up the same way twice. Why was it, I wondered, that some adults appeared to be perpetually running out of daylight hours while others seemed to have all the time in the world? I thought of this second group of people - the ones who would go to the movies in the middle of the workday or take their families on six-month sabbaticals to the South Pacific - as temporal millionaires, and I vowed to become one of them.

From Robert Levine - A Geography of Time

The term "tempo" is borrowed from music theory, where it refers to the rate or speed at which a piece is performed. Musical tempo, like the time of personal experience, is extremely subjective. At the top of virtually every classical score, the composer inserts a nonquantitative tempo mark - largo or adagio to suggest a slow tempo, allegro or presto for fast tempos, accelerando or ritardando for changing tempos. There is even a directive called tempo rubato - literally translated as stolen time - which calls for a give-and-take in tempo between the two hands. But unless the composer specifies a metronome setting (which most classical composers did not do or could not do, as the metronome was not marketed until 1816), the precise metric translation of the notation is open to widely varying interpretation. Depending on the speed at which the performer sets the metronome, Chopin's Minute Waltz may take up to two minutes to play.

From Robert Levine - A Geography of Time

In one particularly telling study of the roots of culture shock, sociologists James Spradley and Mark Phillips asked a group returning Peace Corps volunteers to rank 33 items as to the amount of cultural adjustment each had required of them. The list included a wide range of items familiar to travel paranoids, such as "the type of food eaten," "personal cleanliness of most people," "the number of people of your own race" and "the general standard of living." But aside from mastering the foreign language, the two greatest difficulties for the volunteers concerned social time: "the general pace of life," followed by one of its most significant components, "how punctual most people are."

From Robert Levine - A Geography of Time

The Degree of Industrialization

What kind of rule is this? The more timesaving machinery there is, the more pressed a person is for time.

Sebastian de Grazia - Of Time Work and Leisure

Quoted in Robert Levine - A Geography of Time

A focus on people, as we shall see in subsequent chapters, is often at odds with a temp dictated by schedules and the time on the clock.

Quoted in Robert Levine - A Geography of Time

**there is also evidence that hypnotically induced time expansion may result in greater accomplishment per unit of real clock time just as the masters of Zen and athletics are able to achieve on their own. In one series of studies, for example, hypnotized individuals were offered suggestions such as "Now I'm going to give you twenty seconds of world time. But in your special time that twenty second will be just as long as you need to complete your work. It can be a minute, a day, a week, a month or even years And you will take all the time you need." One hypnotized subject in this study was a secretary who had been interested in designing dresses but was previously unsuccessful in this pursuit. In the course of two half-hour periods in the waking state she was unable to develop any designs. Given time-stretching instructions however, she was able to produce several skillful designs during intervals lasting less than a minute. Psychologically, she experienced these brief periods of clock time as an hour or more. Similarly, a professional violinist reported that she was able to use her subjectively expanded time to practice and review long musical pieces. She later reported that the extra time improved her memory and her technical performance.

Quoted in Robert Levine - A Geography of Time