Hall (1984). Different Streams. (The dance of life: The other dimension of time.)

Hall, E. T. (1984). Different Streams. In The dance of life: The other dimension of time (pp. 28–43). Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday.

“When visiting the Hopi villages for the first time in 1931, I didn’t need H. G. Wells and his time machine to move into another age; for there it was, floating like a mirage on the mesas above.” (p 28)

“I never realized that bridges were an agent of time until I worked on the reservation. Now, of course, everything on the mesa is an agent of time. The white man’s world has taken over and there are not only paved roads, but also bridges all the way across the reservation. A wonderful scenic trip that put one in the middle of the country, to say nothing of into another age, and used to take a week is now completed in a matter of hours.” (p 28)

“I soon learned that I was dealing with at least four different time systems: Hopi time, Navajo time, government bureaucratic time, and the time used by the other white men (mostly Indian traders) who lived on the reservation. There was also Eastern tourist time, banker’s time (when notes were due), and many other variations of the white man’s time system.” (p 29)

[AE = “American-European heritage” (p 25) …]

“AE people grow up expecting that, once initiated, a project will continue more or less without pauses or serious breaks until it has been completed. We Americans are driven to achieve what psychologists call ‘closure.’ Uncompleted tasks will not let go, they are somehow immoral, wasteful, and threatening to the integrity of our social fabric.” (p 32)

“There was no apparent relationship between the completed project and and a schedule for completion, all of which we whites took for granted.” (p 33)

“Still another side of this complex issue must be raised in explaining the Hopi behavior. Basically, the cultures of the world can be divided into those in which time heals and those in which it doesn’t. Whites belong to the first category and the [page break] Hopi belong to the second.” (p 34)

“All AE languages, including English, treat time as a continuum divided into past, present, and future. Somehow we have managed to objectify or externalize our imagery of the passage of time, which makes it possible for us to feel that we can manage time, control it, spend it, save it, or waste it. We have a feeling that the process of ‘becoming later’ is real and tangible because we can attach a numerical value to it. The Hopi language does _not_ do this. No past, present, or future exists as verb tenses in their language. Hopi verbs have no tenses, but indicate instead the validity of the statement — the nature of the relationship between the speaker and his knowledge or experience of the about which he is speaking.” (p 36)

“In AE languages, temporal terms such as summer and winter are nouns, which gives them a material quality because [page break] they can be treated like any other noun, numbered and given plurals. In other words, they are treated as objects. The Hopi seasons are treated more like adverbs (the closest AE analog). The Hopi cannot talk about summer being hot, because summer is the quality hot, just as an apple has the quality red. Summer and hot are the same! Summer is a _condition_: hot. There is nothing about summer that suggests it involves time — getting later — in the sense that is conveyed by AE languages.” (p 36-37)

“Living in the eternal present as the Hopi do and spending ‘now’ preparing for ceremonies, one feels that time is not a harsh taskmaster nor is it equated with money and progress as it is with AE peoples. For AE peoples, it does have that characteristic of adding up, of never letting them forget.” (p 37)

“In AE cultures we expect that things will happen fast once we have made up our minds and, as a consequence, we are apt to pay little attention to the pattern we are weaving in life’s [page break] fabric or to the accumulation of Karma in the multiple acts of daily living.” (p 39-40)

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