Adam: Wait. Think about it. “Days” are fiction. Why aren’t there 12 or say, 19 “days” in a week?
JK: Time is also “fiction” but I doubt our lives would work without it.
Adam: hmmm … No, Time is non-fiction. How we define it is fiction. Or so I would think.
JK: Time’s “just” an inner sense we use to measure, more “fictional” than space but as nonfictional. Ya dig? 🙂
- i.e., days and weeks are important parts of time’s productions, hence co-dependently fictional, to put it evaluatively.
- i.e., this is my pain-in-the-ass way of saying I don’t believe time or days or weeks are fictional per se 🙂
Adam: 🙂 lol, I suppose it depends on the definition of fiction? [And] yes I dig it, but why can’t a Sunday just as well be a Tuesday?
JK: It can but think about all the angry passengers travelling on the Tuesday before we nominate Sunday as the new Tuesday!
Adam: I don’t believe time is fictional, only our narrative of it, which is okay … It’s just kind of wiggly in terms of “truth”
JK: Our narratives can be both fictional and nonfictional. Not sure what “it” [time] could possibly mean without our narrative.
- i.e., I guess what you’re looking for is a way our narratives hook up with “truth”, a lovely nonfictional narrative, btw.
~ Debrief ~
To stay focused, let’s continue to use the terms of this exchange. Time is our “narrative” to explain our inner sense of change and location. Although fiction and nonfiction aren’t ideal terms, we can use them to describe time according to the classic distinction between subjective and objective knowledge. Adam eventually comes to guard the objectivity of time by distinguishing it from our subjective fictional narratives. He begins by focusing on the arbitrary nature of our designations, “fictions”, and then proceeds to make the case that because these designations are arbitrary and fictional they’re unimportant or, at best, incidental—accidental, to use the Aristotelian category.
My point in the exchange is to point out that this distinction is itself arbitrary but also essential, important. I believe we unnecessarily evaluate the nature of our objective experience of time as “subjective”, fictional. Say what? Read it again. Time is not some objective thing “out there” that we have the luxury of knowing apart from our narratives, apart from us. We experience time as objective. Its truth, to borrow another term from the exchange, is grasped in our judgments about its fictional and nonfictional qualities. Instead of fiction as something false, illusory, or what have you, I prefer to see it, in this context anyway, less evaluatively, as something practical and necessary, although not necessarily true, certainly not more or less true than non-fiction. After all, planes fly, ships sail, highways are built, cities are laid out, and travel takes place—all on the basis of our arbitrary “fictions” of time, in Adam’s sense (although I think Adam, whose reason I have no reason to doubt, would agree—see, for example, what looks like a partial admission in Adam’s comment above: “which is okay”). Non-fiction cannot be assumed to be on the side of time “out there”, whatever that is. For time as nonfiction is also a narrative about time as independent of our narratives. You might want to read that again. It’s ok, I’ll wait! … It’s more robust perhaps, more systematic and discursive, but narrative nonetheless. In this way we get to keep both fictional and nonfictional aspects without needing to imagine time as time-less, if you catch my drift.