11 | CR Book V, Chapter 2

"time" have in common just the word "time", and we must not
assume that one experience somehow entails or implies the others.
Things cannot be in mechanical, or in conceptual time. As philosophers
expressed it, this time is not real, but subjective. Conceptual and
mechanical time are just special cases of collective experiences of time,
and have no greater validity than other experiences. The idea we form
of time cannot be understood apart from its relation to particular
conditions of social life. In each case, it is formed by the socially
relevant aspects of time.

Collective time is a time common to a social group as a basis of
co-operation and social planning. Collective times, according to varying
historical circumstances, differ from each other with regard to: the
definiteness and elaboration of the units; the absence or introduction
of numbers; the equality or inequality of the units among themselves;
the degree and accuracy of the subdivisions; the length of the period
which is organised chronologically (epochs and eras); the degree of
perspective; the degree of co-ordination with the times of other
communities; the interpretation (magical or otherwise) of the order
of time; and the emphasis on either past, present, or future.

While things cannot be in conceptual time as a form, time as a force
may be present in their essential constitution. "Time" is here taken as
another word for "change". How far does time matter, and how far
does it enter into the constitution of things? (1) Things are events and
their essential nature unfolds itself only in a succession of stages; (2) with
varying temperamental emphasis we may say that things are transient,
or, in eternal unrest, or, historical, i.e. ever new, fresh and relative. (3) We
have things only on a certain historical and social level of conception.

Chapter 2 - Levels of Duration may be represented pictorially by
waves of varying length, to depict the length of time an event needs to
happen. Durations can be observed clearest in periodical and rhythmical
changes, in which we may single out definite units marked by certain
durations. Rhythms may escape our notice or attention because they are
too short, or too long, or because our mind is dead, has lost its affinity
with the rhythm of things, and is obsessed with arbitrary cutting. By
insisting on the unreality, arbitrariness, and relativity to social condi-
tions, of mechanical time, we safeguarded the levels of duration against
the objection that they may be subdivided into mechanical instants or

In different fields of reality we apply different "scales" of time.
A scale of time is defined by the unit of perceptible and relevant change
which is typical for events of a certain kind. we may speak of "repre-
sentative durations" which may vary between light years and fractions
of a second, respectively. The large-scale cycles, and the short-scale
cycles interact in various ways. The large-scale cycles cannot be derived
by simply adding a large number of short-scale cycles. To some extent
they determine events in the short-scale cycles, impose a limit on their
freedom of action, and force them into a state of passivity, the degree
of which is rarely recognised.

Levels of duration are clearly perceptible in social life, and help us
to single out different levels, or layers, of reality. Events need time to
mature, and to unfold their essential nature. Relevant changes need
more or less time in various fields of social reality. Some changes