On the Acceleration of Time from the Perspective of Technological and Cognitive Innovativeness: A Structural-Semiologic Analysis of H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine

  • Miloš Zarić Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
Keywords:
the ficional novum of the time machine, external time, internal time, acceleration of time, creativity, innovativeness, Herbert George Wells, The Time Traveller, dystopia

Abstract

The paper provides an analysis of Herbert George Wells’s novel The Time Machine (1895), specifically, of those aspects of the novel that deal with the relationship between the phenomenon of technological and cognitive innovativeness, on the one hand, and the experience of time and its perception, on the other. The concept of the acceleration of time, which is key to this study, denotes the phenomenon manifesting itself through the prism of two types of non-synchronization of “internal” or “subjective” time and “external”, collectively shared “objective time”: in the first case, “external” time is accelerated relative to “internal” time, while in the second, conversely, “internal” time is accelerated relative to “external time”. The paper offers a contextual analysis of The Time Machine, also employing a structural-semiologic approach and method, which in this case also includes the traditional functionalist method of differentiating between manifest and latent functions. The first research question the paper seeks to answer is how the idea/invention of the fictitious novum of the time machine came about, i.e. what kind of cognitive-innovative process enabled it. The other question, related to the first, is whether it is possible to “peer into” the infrastructure of the imagination of creative people, into that part that usually remains confined to the unconscious. A structural-semiologic analysis of the nature of the creativity/innovation process, which, in this study, is related to the Victorian era as the social and economic context in which The Time Machine was written, as well as to the interconnected domains of technological and cognitive innovativeness, suggests the possibility of establishing an Anthropology of Innovativeness as a new anthropological subdiscipline.

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Author Biography

Miloš Zarić, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
PhD Candidate at Department of Ethnology and Anthropology

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Published
2020-07-04
How to Cite
Zarić, Miloš. 2020. “On the Acceleration of Time from the Perspective of Technological and Cognitive Innovativeness: A Structural-Semiologic Analysis of H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (2), 417–447. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v15i2.3.