To What Extent Does Our Understanding Of Essay

Space Depend On The Way We Think Of Time? Essay, Research Paper& # 8216 ; Space and clip are basic classs of human being & # 8217 ; ( Harvey, 1989: 201 ) . They are such familiar constructs to human existences that there is a enticement to disregard them as unimportant.

Time is used mundane & # 8211 ; ordered into proceedingss, hours, yearss, even millenia & # 8211 ; while infinite is treated as a fact of nature, & # 8216 ; & # 8230 ; an nonsubjective property of things which can be measured and therefore pinned down & # 8217 ; ( Harvey, 1989: 203 ) . However, this simplification of infinite and clip, and their intervention as portion of the mundane domain of being, screen over their importance to human psychological science as, from a really early age, constructs of infinite and clip can talk volumes about societal, cultural and even economic interactions. For case, the symbolic ordination of infinite and clip provide a model of experience, through which we learn who we are in society, as can be seen from the administration of infinite in a family, which expresses both gender and age dealingss ( Harvey, 1989 ) .`Egocentrism and Ethnocentrism of the Concepts of Time and Space Space and clip are both egocentrically-determined. Human-time is separately experienced as a one-way journey & # 8211 ; life ever being lived in our ain hereafter.

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Space is likewise ever considered from the position of the mind, & # 8216 ; & # 8230 ; orientated by each Centre of consciousness & # 8230 ; & # 8217 ; near & # 8217 ; means & # 8216 ; at manus & # 8217 ; . & # 8216 ; High & # 8217 ; means & # 8216 ; excessively far to make & # 8217 ; ( Heidegger, 1962 ) . This egoism is reflected in linguistic communication & # 8211 ; the capitalization of & # 8216 ; I & # 8217 ; in English, for illustration, or the derivation of the French & # 8216 ; il & # 8217 ; from & # 8216 ; ille & # 8217 ; , which in Latin means: that, there or the latter ( Tuan, 1974 ) . Space, and peculiarly clip, are non merely viewed from a personal point of view, nevertheless ; they are besides culturally-determined phenomena. For case, the modern Western position of clip as a additive patterned advance ( which likely emerged from the Darwinian theory that biological species have evolved through aeons of clip ) is non shared by many Eastern civilizations, such as the Chinese. For these peoples, clip is viewed as being round, in rhythms such as reincarnation. Time is openly- accepted as being of great importance in many Eastern civilizations, in a manner in which it is mostly neglected in the West.

For case, in Burmese, there are more than seven words to stand for the thoughts covered by the individual English word & # 8216 ; clip & # 8217 ; . Westerners, nevertheless, tend to be uncomfortable with the more abstract intensions of believing about space-time. When speaking about infinite, hence, Westerners tend to underscore what is in that infinite, instead than mention to the infinite itself ; and, when mentioning to clip, people will underscore the alterations taking topographic point, instead than the abstract construct of clip itself ( Lefebvre, 1991 ) .

Harmonizing to Tuan, it is possible to learn people to appreciate abstract impressions of infinite, nevertheless, and, in this manner, it is possible to appreciate the difference between & # 8216 ; felt, perceived and conceptual infinites & # 8217 ; ( Tuan, 1974: 213 ) . `The sub-conscious importance afforded to clip and infinite quickly becomes evident on closer probe of the ways in which they are perceived by human existences. For case, existent clip look to rush up or decelerate down, dependent on altering external conditions. The journeys to and from work are used by Tuan ( 1974 ) to exemplify this thought & # 8211 ; although the journeys themselves may be indistinguishable in path and continuance, the psychological consequence of traveling towards the workplace, compared with traveling towards the place cause the experience of going through time-space to be starkly contrasting. Our ain activities can besides impact the manner in which we view clip: & # 8216 ; clip is an baleful menace when we have small of it and a incubation, heavy presence when we have excessively much & # 8217 ; ( Tuan, 1978: 12 ) .

`I have already indicated the complex relationships between infinite, clip and human being. The extension of this thought is to look at the relationships between infinite and clip as a natural patterned advance from these ideas.`Ways in Which Our Understanding of Space is Dependent on Time & # 8216 ; It is a challenge to accept that infinite and clip are `universally and inseparably wed to one another & # 8217 ; ` ( Pred, 1977 ) Hagerstrand ( 1962 ) suggested that clip and infinite are inseparable and that every human action or event occurs within a sequence ; giving the person & # 8217 ; s being both temporal and spacial properties. Persons are viewed as purposeful agents, engaged in undertakings that take up clip through motion in infinite. An single & # 8217 ; s being can, hence, be considered as a flight & # 8211 ; & # 8216 ; a weaving dance through clip and infinite & # 8217 ; ( Pred, 1977: 208 ) . Daily motion is constrained by clip resources and the & # 8216 ; clash of distance & # 8217 ; , while & # 8216 ; matching restraints & # 8217 ; further curtail the time- infinite waies of two or more people who must cross.

Such minutess occur within a geographical form of available & # 8217 ; Stationss & # 8217 ; ( topographic points where certain activities occur ) and & # 8216 ; domains & # 8217 ; ( topographic points where certain societal interactions prevail ) . `Geography has, by definition, ever been peculiarly concerned with infinite, but Hagerstrand emphasised the importance of appreciating that the clip constituent is every bit of import. The practical applications of this are, harmonizing to Hagerstrand, far-reaching. Indeed, his research was sponsored by the Swedish authorities in the hope that it would supply helpful penetrations for the survey of regional policy, urbanization, migration and political geographics ( Pred, 1977 ) .

`Movement provides one of the most obvious links between clip and infinite, as it, & # 8216 ; takes clip and occurs in infinite ; it postulates a space-time field & # 8217 ; ( Tuan, 1978: 14 ) . The measuring of infinite provides an obvious illustration of this. Natural rhythms are used to mensurate clip & # 8211 ; the rise and scene of the Sun or the changing of the seasons, for case & # 8211 ; but nature provides little aid when it comes to mensurating infinite. Movement is used to transgress this spread, leting infinite to be measured in meters per second, proceedingss by auto or even light old ages. Indeed clip can now be measured so accurately that the motion of negatrons can be charted. Furthermore, this improved measuring of clip has allowed an increased sensitiveness to infinite. `Time is non merely of import when it comes to mensurating at the micro-scale, nevertheless.

Time is every bit well-used by worlds when it comes to the conceptualization of immense distances. In science-fiction, for case, distant stars are frequently represented as distant hereafter universes ( Tuan, 1974 ) . Similarly, the construct of being & # 8216 ; far-sighted & # 8217 ; can mention to infinite or clip ; an unfastened skyline stands for the unfastened hereafter, the unknown ( Tuan, 1974 ) .

`Tuan ( 1974 ) besides refers to the construct of the & # 8216 ; zone of past experience & # 8217 ; ( Tuan, 1974 ) . Any object that a individual can non see, but whose being he / she is cognizant of, Tuan refers to as being in the zone of past experience. Knowing that there is an object behind a wall, for case, relies on the head traveling back in clip. Similarly, the individual can announce what they will see in the hereafter, should he / she climb over the wall.

In this manner, present spacial consciousness is ever imbued with past experiences and, & # 8216 ; the analysis of spacial experience seems to necessitate the use of clip classs & # 8217 ; ( Tuan, 1974: 224 ) . Our cognition of events, every bit good as objects, is likewise controlled by clip. The fact that intelligence takes clip to go agencies that & # 8216 ; far off & # 8217 ; is frequently seen as correspondent to & # 8216 ; long ago & # 8217 ; .

As Tuan ( 1978: 12 ) expresses it: & # 8216 ; here is now and there is so & # 8217 ; . `Social theoreticians are besides responsible for favoring clip over infinite ( Marx, Weber and Adam Smith, for case ) . Social theory focal points on procedures of societal alteration, such as modernization and revolution. Advancement is the theoretical aim, but entails the conquering of infinite: the ultimate & # 8216 ; obliteration of infinite through clip & # 8217 ; ( Harvey, 1989 ) . As Lefebvre ( 1991: 55 ) provinces, & # 8216 ; today, more than of all time, the category battle is inscribed in infinite & # 8217 ; ; as the middle class is still the major user of infinite. Peet ( 1981 ) further described the & # 8217 ; spacial dialectics & # 8217 ; of the economic system. He suggested that the Ge ographic transfer of surplus value is a spatial manifestation of the social processes of exploitation. Class struggle then provides a link between these ’spatial dialectics’ and the change through time to new modes of production (Peet, 1981).

The neo-Marxist view of the world economic system is, therefore, one in which its spatial structure changes through, and dependent on, time. `In many respects, therefore, space is heavily dependent on time. Indeed, the fact that time is a constantly changing variable means that everything that changes will ultimately appear to be dependent on time. However, in some respects, it can be argued that our understanding of space is independent of the way we think about time.`Space as the Independent Variable It can be claimed that time is dependent on space or, indeed, that they are both independent variables. Aesthetic theory is a classic example of the ’spatialization of time’, according to Harvey (1989). Aesthetic theory uses space to communicate certain values, via artistic media such as architecture and painting.

Architecture, for instance, reflects the human spatial preference for the vertical and horizontal, over inclined planes. The vertical has been shown to be particularly important to human experience, possibly because we live in a gravity-dominated world. The psychological connections of upwards meaning a movement to greater things, also probably has a role in explaining the human passion for the construction of towers, spires, pagodas and other vertically-orientated structures. Architecture also acts as a means of familiarising a space to a particular community – as Harries (1982: 59-69) put it, ‘architecture is the domestication of space’. `Writing has also been held to be of particular importance to the time-space argument. Writing is effectively a ’spatialization of thought’, which ‘freezes the flow of experience’ (Harvey, 1989).

In other words, writing allows ideas to be expressed irrespective of time, ‘Writing tears practice and discourse out of the flow of time’ (Bourdieu, 1977: 156). However, space is not the independent variable in every aesthetic field – music and film, for instance, are heavily dependent on time for their aesthetic effect. Despite these few examples of the importance of space as the independent variable, in almost every case the two variables are so closely linked that it is very difficult to separate their effects.`Changes in Space-Time Thinking According to Harvey (1989: 227), ‘…something vital has happened to our experience of space and time since the 1970s, so as to provoke the turn to post-modernism’.

Marshall Berman (1982) went so far as to equate modernity with a certain mode of experience of space and time. The Renaissance started a period in which rapid influxes of information about the wider world became commonplace. Spatial knowledge soon became crucial to the accumulation of wealth, and this state of affairs continues to this day; consider, for instance, the amount of money which has been invested in remote sensing. In the post-modern world, however, this rapid turnover of information has reached incredible proportions – it has even been suggested that the present era should be termed the ‘Information Age’. This has led to an overall speeding-up of lifestyles and a reduction in perceived distances, as the speed of travel makes distant places seem just round the corner. This ‘time-space compression’ has revolutionised how we represent the world.

`The capitalist mode of production has been cited by many authors as being partly responsible for time-space compression (Harvey, 1989; Lefebvre, 1991 and Peet, 1981, for instance). Better information and faster communications; the rationalisation of distribution, rapid financial services and the mobilisation of fashion in mass markets accompanied by a shift towards the consumption of ephemeral services, have all led to the speeding up of time in a post-modern capitalist lifestyle (Harvey, 1989). As far as space is concerned, the creation of world markets and better transport and telecommunications systems have both led to the effective ‘annihilation of spatial boundaries’ (Harvey, 1989). The domination of marketing networks and spaces remains a fundamental corporate aim, making accurate geographical information a vital commodity. `The urban process is, according to Harvey (1985: 32), deeply interwoven into these processes: ‘…urbanisation is framed by the intersecting concrete abstractions of money, space and time and shaped directly by the circulation of money capital in time and space’. The city is a particular human response to space, effectively attempting to alter space to our own design; but also altering the humans within the urban space, as they are influenced by urbanisation.

‘Capitalism…has produced, through its dominant form of urbanisation, not only a “second nature” of built environments…but also an urbanised human nature, endowed with a very specific sense of time, space and money as sources of social power’ (Harvey, 1985: 35). The city is defined as parcels of private property, violently defended against trespassers – thus rendering the urban space relatively static. Rational planning would appear to be an adequate response to such problems, but such power can be used for radically different class purposes, such as acquiring space for the purpose of capital accumulation. `The future is also an interesting factor in the time-space debate, as it brings in ethical problems of our moral obligation to future generations. Space can be used in numerous ways, but an appreciation of time allows humans to understand the consequences of their actions. The resurgence of environmentalism since the 1970s, is a case-in-point. The environmental movement is, ‘…critical of the idea of mobility and of expansive space on a ‘limitless’ earth and calls for a return to place and locality’ (Tuan, 1978: 11).

`Conclusion The issues of time and space are, therefore, of great relevance, on a philosophical, as well as an mundane level. Fundamentally, time never stands still, and so our understanding of space will always be affected by the passage of time, to a certain extent. The degree to which the concept of space is dependent on time on a conscious level is, however, culturally-defined. An urban community, for instance, will probably have a far more commercial view of space than a Sioux Indian, whose appreciation of space is likely to be on a more aesthetic and philosophical level. `Overall, the changing values which we have assigned to time and space over the past century have led to destructionism. Instanteneity triumphs in the post-modern world, leaving people feeling detached from their sense of place.

The future has become part of the present, as people attempt to guard against future shocks, via insurance. These combined problems have, in my opinion, led to the recent resurgence in the popularity of traditional values which has occurred in many industrialist countries, notably the USA and the UK. This represents an attempt to find stability once more in our ephemeral world.

Nostalgia is effectively used to guard against time- space compression, which has already led to a reappraisal of our perceptions of time and space.`Bibliography Harvey, D. (1985) Consciousness and the Urban Experience Blackwell `Harvey, D. (1989) The Condition of Postmodernity Blackwell `Lefebvre, H. (1991) The Production of Space Blackwell `Peet, R. (1981) ‘Spatial dialectics and Marxist Geography’ Progress in Human Geography 5 `Pred, A. (1977) ‘The choreography of existence: comments on Hagerstrand’s time-geography and its usefulness’ Economic Geography 53 `Soja, E. (1989) ‘Modern geography, western Marxism and the restructuring of critical social theory’.

In: Peet, R. and Thrift, N. (eds.) New Models in Geography 2 `Tuan, Yi Fu (1974) ‘Space and place’. In: Progress in Human Geography 6 : 212-252 `Tuan, Yi Fu (1978) ‘Space, time, place: a humanistic frame’.

In : Parkes, D. and Thrift, N. (eds.) Timing Space and Spacing Time 1


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