Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy. — Haruki Murakami (via)
The Amondawa tribe in Amazon discovered in 1986 have no concept of abstract time according to a study from the University of Portsmouth and the Federal University of Rondonia in Brazil.
We’re really not saying these are a ‘people without time’ or ‘outside time…Amondawa people, like any other people, can talk about events and sequences of event,….What we don’t find is a notion of time as being independent of the events which are occurring; they don’t have a notion of time which is something the events occur in.
Evidence for this includes that the people do not refer to their ages, but that they take different names at different stages of their lives or as they achieve different status within the community.
Other theorists are not so sure however. When a tribe with a limited vocabulary refers to things in the external world time might not be mapped onto it. In other words the Amondawa might well experience and understand time as we do, its just that it isn’t or can’t be articulated within the language…..(via)
In Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, a Quechua Indian told me that everything one does in life involves looking forward while going backward simultaneously. This I didn’t understand. I said, ‘What do you mean, going backward?’And he said,’Well, it’s very simple. For us, for the Quechua, the past is in front of us. It’s in front of us because we know the past and we can look at it. And the future is behind because we don’t know what it brings so we move into the future, but we move backwards.’ The expression is ñawpaman puni. -David Tuchsneider 1992:63-64
A beautiful concept that we are facing backward while moving forward that seems enshrined as it is in the Quechua language a quite deep insight. But I note now while I’m studying Finnish in my spare time that languages have many and subtle differences in their attitude to space and time and grammatical systems are by nature going to constrain your thinking about space if you rely on them.