The cultural construction of time is one of the most all encompassing and fundamental of all the constructions of meaning in history. Different cultures encompass different concepts of time which play a very specific and significant role in a culture’s structures of meaning. Humans distinguish between two concepts of time which create an insoluble problem: subjective, experienced time, and objective, measurable time. Objective time is that which is measured by instruments such as herrenuhren, whereas subjective time is that which is experienced by a human subject who articulates their perception of change.
Paul Ricoeur proposed a way through which to deal with the insoluble problem of time’s twofold character in his first volume of Time and Narrative. Ricoeur combines Aristotle’s theory of plot as articulated in his book Poetics, with Augustine’s reflections on time to create a circle of narrativity and temporality, the two halves which complement each other. According to Ricoeur, every narrative world is always a temporal world: “Time becomes human time to the extent that it is organized after the manner of narrative; narrative, in turn, is meaningful to the extent that it portrays the features of temporal experience”.
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