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Time, literally, is of the essence. It is a key feature in all cultures, determining human thought, expectations, actions, and developments. The great master of time studies, J. T. Fraser, describes it in terms of six major temporalities that move at different speeds in unique environments. Matching the evolution of the universe, they include (1) the atemporal or timeless state of primordial chaos; (2) the prototemporal realm of quantum simultaneity; (3) the eotemporal long-term rhythms of the stars; (4) the biotemporal dimensions of living creatures; (5) the no temporal phenomena of brain and mind; and (6) the sociotemporal world of clocks and calendars, history and society, analysis and philosophy.
This book examines Daoist ways of working with time in terms of these six temporalities, beginning with language, the "architect of time," located at a cross-point between society and brain. It then moves through the six types in reverse order, beginning with myths and philosophical concepts and concluding with mystical oneness in cosmic timelessness. To place the Daoist notions in context, each chapter presents the modern scientific understanding of time as well as comparative perspectives from other cultures. Daoists, it turns out, often match science in terms of basic concepts, but offer different practices to reverse entropy, overcome limitations, and ultimately tame time by going beyond it.
Taming Time is encyclopedic in scope and global in outlook. It challenges preconceived notions and raises new perspectives in the study of time as it expertly clarifies Daoist visions.
About the Author
Livia Kohn, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Religion and East Asian Studies at Boston University. The author or editor of close to sixty books (including the annual Journal of Daoist Studies), she spent ten years in Kyoto doing research. She now serves as the executive editor of Three Pines Press, runs international conferences and workshops, and guides study tours to Japan.