[Home]PerceptionOfTime

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If all the clocks in the world were synchronized, don't you think our perception of time would change? Do you think it would switch from being this quasi-sense we were aware of to being an absolute, quantified Platonic form? In a way, digital watches did this to us -- indeed, when I ask the time from people, I usually get it read back to the minute nowadays, which is a big change from "quarter past seven." I think with a universal absolute time, things will get worse as we will all have a fixed standard to measure against. "I'll be there in five minutes," might become, "I'll be there at 12:43pm." Moreover, meetings at "2pm" will really be at "2pm." The plus or minus five minute error will disappear. And probably the small talk that goes with it. --SunirShah

The more work, family and recreation are distributed across the world (of which I'm a prime example, with my family in Minnesota and Nevada and usenet and Wiki acquaintances around the world), the less focused time will be with the relative position of the Sun to the current locality and the more with something agreed upon. Consider it WorldTime?. I think it'll have to happen, and I think SwatchTime? is an interesting first attempt at it, although it hasn't and likely won't break through into the mainstream. I have my watch set with a second time on Zulu time, and I have found it useful. --DaveJacoby

See TimeZone, TheThirdWave.

Here in Switzerland, where almost everybody has a watch accurate to the minute, being on time is an important aspect of cultural life. However, not knowing what time it is, being late, and refusing to wear a watch is acceptable. I am usually late and I don't have a watch. Therefore, having very accurate watches everywhere doesn't change our perception of time in significant ways. --AlexSchroeder


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