Space-time visualizations without a flux capacitor

I’m on tour at various regional colleges, giving presentations about my new book, Creative Historical Thinking. I try to make these presentations interactive, with a number of historical thinking exercises for the audience. One point I have been consistently trying to make is that the ways we conceive of time can fundamentally differ from one person to the next.

After showing some examples to encourage the audience, I ask them to draw the day, the week, the month, the year, or their “mental timeline” (I term I believe I have invented) on a piece of paper. Volunteers from the audience then show their drawings to the class. I’ve attached a few new examples here. Click the image to view.


I’m still struggling with one problem in particular. Namely, there are people who claim to not view time in spatial form at all, and who struggle with the prompt. One way to make them understand my point, however, has been to show “backwards” or “upside-down” calendars, and ask them if they struggle with such visualization. If they do, this shows that they are comfortable with time being displayed in normal calendars or weekly-agendas.

But I’m still looking for ways to get the non-space-time-synesthetes on board with the idea that we can visualize time in different spatial forms. Any ideas dear reader?

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