Visualization and Spacial Relationships Are Personal

Have you ever been asked how you visualize time, as in a year or years? What about in history and the future? This is neither right nor wrong, as long as you understand the concepts. It is personal and it belongs to you. Perhaps visualizing time is part of you.

I visualize time in a year as if I am moving around a year’s worth of calendar months in an oval. At any given point in the year I am at the widest part of the oval, because that’s where the current time is. The time 6-7 months away is narrower and far away, like the other big curve on a race track but on the other side of the track. At this moment I am to the left of the tract and I will be moving to my right, but forward. But when I am in March or April I have a different view than I have now. It’s not entirely unlike November/December, by it’s not the same. I am always moving clockwise, which is the wrong way for the race track to go. I am also facing toward the inside sometimes, but facing forward on the track at other times. One thing that I can count on: I always know where I am.

Now, if you ask me about previous years, my viewpoint changes radically. History is to my left, but only for a 100 or so years, then history takes a hard right turn from that point and goes straight forward for a long time/distance. In fact because of that, if I want to look back 1,000 years I don’t have to go to the 100-year position and then make a right. I can just look from “here” and see 1,000 years ago. I don’t always see distant history as a straight path. Sometimes centuries are arrays of years with the greater years nearest me; so I am looking at the year 1899 nearest me, and 1800 is furthest away. And then 1799 is to the right of 1899 and away from me, with 1700 furthest away, etc. The future is to my right, but at some point it becomes straight in front of me, but only because I pivot to see further out.

Other people will see time completely differently. It doesn’t mean that I am right and they are wrong, or they are right and I am wrong. It’s just different, and I can’t explain why I see time the way I do. But if you try to convince me that my “whacky” visualization of time is wrong and try to convince me to see time another way, I am not certain that you would ever succeed. Visualizing and spacial relationships are personal. What good would it accomplish to change it as long as I understand time in the past and time in the future?

I am getting into some very strange conversations about functional programming and how that to understand it I must completely change the way that I visualize concepts, such as functor, applicative, and monad. I am not sure what modifying my spacial relationships and visualization of these concepts will accomplish for me. If I understand them from my own perspective, and use them effectively, isn’t that enough?

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