Time Forward

Wednesday’s meeting has been moved forward two days. Mini poll:

Has the meeting been rescheduled for:

View Results

There is a (minor) point to this poll, but I want to collect some data first. And no, this doesn’t mean I missed a meeting (it’s not even work related).

10 Replies to “Time Forward”

  1. Only the English language could use a word that almost always indicates “positive motion” to mean moving something negatively (or backwards) thru time closer to the current moment.

  2. Some cultures consider “Backward in Time” to mean the future.
    The argument is that you can see what has already happened, so therefore the Past must be in front of you, since that is what you can see.

  3. IMO, “forward” clearly means Friday.

    We’re moving “forward” through time. Therefore, if something is moved “forward,” it is moved further down the timestream. If something is moved backward, it is moved to the past, or closer to your relative position.

    If you think of time as a highway upon which we travel, moving something forward means further down the highway; from milepost 23 to milepost 35.

  4. Rephrasing the question slightly: a photographer is taking a photograph, say a shot of a product pack an advertisement. The photographer asks an assistant to move the pack forward a little. Does the assistant move the product towards or away from the photographer.

    OK, this is a bad example because I guess “forward” can mean forward from the perspective of the pack. If the pack were facing away from the photographer, would the assistant move it closer or further away? How about if the object had no discernable front side?

    I think the confusion arises at least in part because it relates to the relative positioning of two things. When we move “forward” we are generally moving *towards* the object of our perception. If we want the object moved forward, we generally want it moved towards us. By moving the meeting forwards, we are bringing it closer to our current point in time.

    So, to link the two analogies together, when we move the meeting “forward” (i.e. backwards in time), we are assuming that the meeting is facing towards us rather than away from us.


    OK, I’ll stop now, because I’m beginning to confuse myself.

  5. I’m with mneptok, but am surprised at the results. I love it when things I think are obvious, aren’t. ;)

  6. Right – we always refer to the future as “forward in time” and the past as “back in time.” But this is at odds with the perception that something closer to us in time is “forward” — Monday is closer to me than Friday, hence “forward. There’s linguistic slippage here.

    What’s really odd is that language generally has a way of congregating around common usage, but this is an unusual example where the common usage is always ambiguous (whenever I’ve heard someone say something like “Let’s move the meeting forward,” I’ve asked for clarification, because I’ve heard it intended both ways so many times).

    Context helps, of course. Without sufficient context, there’s just no way to tell what people mean by “forward in time,” since for some reason language hasn’t settled around a common usage.

    This is  a good example of how we so often “miss” each other even when we think we’re being perfectly clear. Married couples can take it to heart.

  7. I’m sure there’s some interesting analogy to be made with space-time, the speed of light and gravity. But I’ve no idea what it is. And anyway, I just wanted to check that you’re getting my comments now Scot :)

  8. If the meaning was for Monday, I would expect to hear “we are moving the meeting ‘up’ two days” rather than “forward.” “Forward” seems to imply Friday as most of us consider forward in time to mean later in time as on a numberline or, as forementioned, a highway. However, to make things less confusing, to reschedule the meeting for Friday, using “postponed two days” would be better.

  9. Thrilled to have found this blog with only one google. Our entire office has just had this very converstation/perspective and it was a great debate. Definetly seemed to be cultural influence as to how time is preceived and in what context in a given subject…fun!

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