Hi, I’m Will. I like swimming, listening to progressive/deep house, watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing guitar, and living in Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia.
I’m also the creator of this site – Counting Sheep – a philosophically inspired reflection on the social construction of time. Socially constructed times include, but are not exclusive to, the symbols found on clocks and calendars, as well as the tempos and timings of the individual and collective practices which are integrated with such symbolisations.
The particular curiosity about socially constructed forms of time upon which Counting Sheep reflects is how such constructions are deemed to be separate from what is real, or natural, about time. The associated interpretation to be investigated is that social forms of time are merely contingent representations of time as it otherwise, naturally, universally exists.
In identifying commentaries which exhibit features of this interpretation of socially constructed times, Counting Sheep participates in a shifting self-awareness of how humans come to conceive time. Such commentaries are taken from a diversity of scholarly and non-scholarly domains, as examples of the conceptual separation of social time and natural time. Even certain commentaries included from the social sciences and philosophies, which in one regard might interrogate such a separation, are included because of the impression embedded within them of a lingering distinction between social time and natural time.
The theoretical impulse for this project comes from a concurrent commitment to, and concern with, the late 19th and early 20th century philosophy of Henri Bergson. Bergson sets the scene for this project via his distinction between; (i) one’s internal experiences of the incomparable qualities of time as it “really” is, versus (ii) the socially convened, external representations, of comparable quantities of time.
It is from this definitional polarisation that Counting Sheep originates. Bergson distinguishes relatively unproblematically between the respective parameters of qualitatively, versus quantitatively, differentiated forms of time. However, his consequent, conceptual separation, of real and representational times, transgenerationally and dogmatically lingers within presiding interpretations of an estrangement between the time of the natural universe, and social constructions of that time.
This can be described as a “dogmatic” perspective, given the speculative rather than the substantiative nature of authorising one form of time, but not another, as real. The prevalence of impressions of time which endorse distinctions between real|representational, qualitative|quantitative, and natural|social, times, is made apparent in this project via the identification of examples of such impressions. These examples are taken from contemporarily everyday, and historically scholarly, perspectives.
If you read something here you’d like to discuss, leave a comment on the relevant post. Alternatively, contact me privately:
ps…if you’re curious about the academic background from which I’m coming to this project, here is my recent book, a philosophical and sociological account of time: