Living in Polychromatic Time…

Chromatic Time Model

Chromatic Time Model

One of the recent topics which I’ve come across that has become a new interest is the concept of “chromatic” time.  As it appears that unlike what Albert Einstein tried to tell us that all time is created equal, well let’s say he was wrong if you’re a human being.  As the science of physics sees it relatively, man “perceives” time as forward motion by “thinking” of the future and “remembering” the past.

Because of this implied perspective we have two potential sets of perceptions being either monochromatic or polychromatic time.  Here the root word “chromatic” means “of or relating to color or color phenomena or sensations”.  The focus to be pulled from this definition is the word “sensations” as this represents the actualization of our “perceptions”.

Now we look at the prefixes of the chromatic duo being “mono” which means to move in a linear fashion and “poly” meaning to move in many ways at once.  Here we can see that these two sensations form a dichotomy if you will to each other.

In applying these to various cultures, we see each culture tends to gravitate toward specific spectrums of the time based sensations.  For example, Americans typically will operate in a monochromic state.  Whereas if we were to look at their European counterparts, one would find that they tend more toward a polychromatic life style.

How does this perception work? Well do you remember those situations where the time just flew by?  This was polychromic time as your attention was “refracted” by various activities all taking place in the same frame of reference which caused time to seem to move faster.  Now in comparison, think back in your mind about the day where after lunch it just seemed like every second on the clock was an hour long?  Well here you were operating in monochromatic time typically with a limited focus on outside factors.

What does all this mean you might be asking yourself?  In short this shows time, or maybe better put the perspective of time.   Can have differing perspectives to various people based upon cultures, events and personal application.

As a further example, in our minds lets stroll along a European street to provide this perspective as you see people bustling around with arms full of goods, negotiating  the whereabouts and safety of two children all the while talking on a cell phone in multiple languages*.  Now we take a moment and slow down, to gaze into just one of the many street side coffee houses to see a totally different picture as the same people you saw making the mad dash while doing a thousand things are  now sitting chatting softly and mindlessly idling time away in the enjoyment of life.

On the other hand let’s take a similar trip and step into an American metropolis, while what we see might seem the same with all the peoples and noise.  If you look deeper you will notice a shift in focus from that of a wide breath of attention, to a narrow “detailed” view if you will of the tasks at hand.  In addition, peer into the same coffee house or deli window and again you will see folks focused on task rather than “just” being.

Since there are differing drivers to each of these states, this means we can then choose to operate or exist in these respective “chromatic” realms as part of choice rather than dictation.  As while monochromatic “focus” may yield an amazing drive, like everything in the world there isn’t a free lunch and therefore one thing must take from another. Whereas a polychromatic existence will bring the views of many forest to light, however thousands of trees will go unseen.

While writing this from a monochromatic viewpoint, shifting into polychromatic mode isn’t an easy task as to do so you must accept there will be times where the world will need to be allowed to free wheel around you, then as fast as the world was spinning the brakes have been hit.  Your now thrown into three different topics all while trying to cross the street without being hit by the tram as your talking on your cell phone and buying a flower for your lovely wife.  Remember, perspective is the key to all things.

*Note: Believe this is one of the reasons Europeans are better adapted to learning a second or even multiple languages.  As words paint with broad brushes, and when looked at in a narrow or rote view (monochromatic).  The context and “optics” of the word can be lost due to the increased focused.  As a baby doesn’t “focus” on learning a language, they assimilate by color and context of the words in a polychromatic way.



About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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