In the essay,” Social Time: The Heartbeat of Culture “, Robert Levine makes a survey on pace of life in six countries. From his survey, he says that Japan has highest pace of life followed by America, England, Italy, Taiwan and Indonesia. Levine calculated the pace of life by considering these three factors, “the accuracy of a country’s bank clocks, the speed at which pedestrians walked and the average time took a postal clerk to sell us a single stamp” (Robert, 78). But I do not believe that these factors are accurate in calculating the pace of life. These three factors seem to be minor factors to determine pace of life.
Moreover, I believe that punctuality and view of time depends on culture, their individual attitude towards time and economic status of the country.
Different cultures have their own default way in managing time. The two major types in managing time are: sequential way and unsorted way. Sequential way: This is the preferred method in the northern European and many Western countries. In the US, I see many people making note of every event and schedule them perfectly. People who have learned to organize their life in this way tend to do one thing at the time. In unsorted time cultures, people usually do several things at a time. For them is time is unscheduled rather than scheduled like in the sequential way. Plans are easily changed. People especially value the relationships and interactions with others. In general, India comes under second category while the US falls under first division.
In US, people believe that a minute is a minute and we cannot gain lost minute back. So, we see many Americans are punctual in their work but we cannot say all Indians are not punctual. Punctuality is restricted to few societies. The current generations (born after 1980’s) are very strict regarding punctuality which means they are giving importance to punctuality along with coursework. They believe that punctuality is the basic need for a student to be well-disciplined. Another factor that is determining the pace of life is the individual belief towards time. One may think that being punctual is very prominent and they give importance to every single minute. The other section people may let their life relaxed and do not believe in time management.
Moreover, the pace of life can be easily determined by knowing the economic status of the country. Pace of life is directly proportional to development of the country. In developed countries, people and their pace are generally fast than in developing and under developing and under developed countries. A country with high literacy rate generally have fast pace. General Education in some areas such as Internet is needed to maintain the pace. Because, nowadays work is completely depended on Internet. Consequently, manual in such areas are slower than computerized. Which means literacy rate and development of the country determines the countries pace.
“When people of different cultures interact, the potential for misunderstanding exists on many levels” (Robert Levine, 77).That is, there may be a chance of misunderstanding between people when they interact with different cultured people. So, awareness of these differences is the first step in managing your life and business with another culture.
Levine, Robert with Ellen, Wolff. “Social Time: The Heartbeat of Culture. “ In Guidelines: A Cross Cultural Reading/Writing Text. Ed.Ruth Spack. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 75 - 81.
Writefix.com:24 Sep 2009.
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