The Sapir Wharf hypothesis

This is a hypothesis developed by two linguists Sapir and Wharf who proposed that the language you speak affects your experience of the world around you. Wharf based his hypothesis on the Hopi Indians, and their perception of time. The Hopi do not describe time in a linear fashion.

In other words, they did not see daytime in units of hours and minutes. Rather, daytime was something that came, and left, and then came back again.

You can try this briefly just to experience what it’s like. If you see the day as something that comes and goes on its own, what does that change for you?

For me the day seemed softer, not something that I had to wrestle with, or grab onto. I also felt a loosening of restraints. The concept that “your days could be numbered“ didn’t seem to make as much sense, or have as much impact. For some reason I could approach the things that I had to do during the day with less stress. It seemed easier to get things accomplished.

It was an interesting exercise in the changes that the perception of time can make. It made me wonder how other changes in my perception of time could be beneficial in my day to day living.

While the Sapir Wharf hypothesis has fallen into disrepute, there is an interesting *Ted Talk that demonstrates that the language we speak, and how it describes time, affects our ability to save money!

We’ve all had experiences when time seemed to fly, or when it seemed to drag. Some of us have had more dramatic experiences when time seemed to stop altogether!

But what difference does it really make if we change our perception of time?

Just being open to the idea that time is not fixed and linear opens the door to many possibilities.

When time does not have such rigid boundaries, what other rigid ideas do we have that can be relaxed?

As a psychic, I know it is possible to see the future, whether it’s a year from now, or next week. I also know it’s possible to go back and look at the past.

*Behavioral economist Keith Chen Ted talk


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