One of the challenges of today’s time is how we can tackle some of the pressing society problems. One way often is through economics as it is the way our lives are greatly affected. Since the 2007-08 financial crash, many people realised that the economics taught and what goes in reality are polar opposite in relation. Also, the current discourse in mainstream economics is not working from the DSGE model to rational assumptions of human behaviour.
Now, there is a drive to rethink in what ways economics should be led in the future which has resulted to emerging interested from heterodox thought which challenges the hegemony of the current new classical school. It offers rich insights about society, human relations, well being etc. Some of the books discussed give a useful introduction to the field and the criticism of the mainstream school of thinking.
Saint Augustine of Hippo
One of the first person in the greek history to talk about time as an internal experience, St Augustine explores the idea of experiencing time in his autobiographical work Confessions. The book outlines his experience with Christianity where an important part of the book is with time as a concept and its relation with God. He argues that three tenses in our mind are a part of one— present experience of the past (memory); present experience of the future (anticipation), and present experience of the present (attention).
“In you, my mind, I measure time,”
An interesting argument Augustine puts which he called “a distention of the soul” where the division of memory, attention and expectation helps us remember the history of our own lives and of our personal identity but are also unified by the connectedness and the simultaneous presence. This creates an ambivalent relation to these states.
The book is read as a philosophical understanding of time, especially an ontology of its relation to us. These ideas made the investigation into time more directed and became an important foundation to the idea of time.
In Search of Lost Time
In literature, time as a dimension of human being has been widely investigated by writers, but no other than Proust who comprehensively lay outs the elements in the volume series of In Search of Lost time. Considered to be his most prominent work which explores the theme of involuntary conscious memory that makes an interesting read for the understanding about time.
One particular in the volume, madeleine, has episodes of memories and flashbacks which goes deeper in the exploration of different forms of time and how it affects the person’s experience — the relation to its current present and the nature of existence in itself. Proust discusses the triggers of time by sensory experiences which highlights the understanding of the human mind.
The understanding of time brings important distinction of what it means for the psychological understanding of human and its reality which Proust does it beautifully in the book.
The Unreality of Time
J. M. E. McTaggart
The unreality of time by J.M.E. Mctaggart is a seminal part of the canon of understanding time. An idealist, Mctaggart, famously known for arguing that time as a concept is unreal. This he argues in the book is because the description of time is either circular, contradictory, or insufficient.
“I believe that nothing that exists can be temporal, and that therefore time is unreal”
The book lays down the argument of his thesis through a phenomenological analysis of how time appears to us in experience. Time is discussed as two events standing in temporal positions which he describes as A-series and B-series. In a series of arguments, he discussed how the contradictions and paradoxical of the two positions lead to his main idea of time is not real.
The book is a difficult read, considering the depth of analysis. Nevertheless, the book has had a big impact in the discussion of time with emergence of A and B theories and questioning of the concept itself.
The Order of Time
In the contemporary world, Rovelli’s book stands out as an essential in the philosophy and physics of time. It brings the main ideas of time in a way which is approachable to the modern reader which an interest of philosophical wander.
The book goes through various topics from time dilation, the arrow of time, relativity etc. to a more a philosophical understanding where a world without time and the experience of perceiving time from an individual level. With its repertoire of discussions, you are drawn to the complexity and mystery of time.
Due to the density of the topic sometimes the reader can feel lost. But mostly it is jargon-free scientific writing which is made engaging through the in depth knowledge of Rovelli connection with the history of ideas. The book makes us reflect on the concept of time which in hence makes us reflect on ourselves.