From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

You have been granted your freedom. The day is open before you; you have no obligations, no work to get through, and no immediate needs. You exit your house and stand on the sidewalk, utterly free of destination.

"Drat!" you think. "Now how will I spend my time?"

The material and psychic models of personal time have grown into ever-harsher conflict in the past 150 years. The war for time does not get much press coverage, since how we spend our time is an individual responsibility, and poor decisions are always attributed to lack of thought. But it is folly to think that our thoughtlessness about how we spend our time does not have something to do with the society we live in. On the contrary, as Abraham Heschel indicates in The Sabbath, our entire civilization is based around "the conquest of space," that is, the understanding and mastering of the material world, and the importance of time is simply not accounted for in this model. When we find a vast well of oil underneath our house, we pull it up and use it to further civilization, because it wasn't doing anything important just sitting there. Likewise, when we find ourselves sitting on a vast supply of Time, we overload it with as much work and play as we can in order to conquer it as a resource, completely ignorant of the fact that time is life itself. We are so dazzled by the warmth of the fireplace that we throw our soul on the fire to keep it burning. This is indefensible. I demonstrate here the intangible utility of time and construct a new model for thinking about time.


Time as corporate rent

When people complain about not having time to do the things they want, they are often looking at how time is used by the corporation; that is, the economic model. While it is true that the economic model looks at things the wrong way, it is basically equivalent to the material model used by all civilization. Even if corporations did not exist we would still be competing towards Heschel's "conquest of space" in an utterly thoughtless way. We are making only the most superficial observation here, but the flaw in the economic model is the most evident, so let's look at it first and see how it necessitates a larger-scale reexamination of our assumptions about time.

In examining the economic model of time's effect on our lives, let us not view the corporation as a perfect evil. It is taken for granted by many liberals that a corporation, which is legally thought of as a "corporate person," is soulless and its only aim is to exploit others. In reality, a corporation is created with the aim of getting something done more efficiently, in order to produce more revenue for the people who help accomplish the task. Corporations may be "psychopaths" as the movie The Corporation claims, but they are reined in by the people who run them, who are trying to eke out a living for more people than would be possible without the corporation. (CEO salaries are another matter entirely.) Since the corporation provides for the livelihood of people, it is not the enemy. Rather, we can think of it as a friendly automaton which we have devised for a particular purpose, but which is blind to our greater needs.

The corporation, as a person, does not have any time to itself. Corporations can hold money permanently-- a corporation can have a bank account just like an individual-- but it does not wake up in the morning and go about its business for 12 to 14 hours. It has 0 hours in its bank of time, and were it not for our contributions, it would cease to exist. Since time belongs solely to real people, the corporate person must rent our time; it cannot own it. Thus, in the race to maximize profit, the corporation monetizes time.

The corporation expects to own the time it is paying us to use. In a standard criminology textbook (Eitzen 1985), we find "time theft" listed among other forms of corruption like embezzlement and kickbacks as an illegal habit of employees. An article in Business Horizons lists "socializers," "coffee drinkers" and "dreamers" as destructive thieves. While the authors concede that time theft does not include mere phone calls and trips to the bathroom (third-world sweatshop owners would disagree), they scold business owners such as "an investigator for a police department in Virginia [who says] that time theft is 'just a cost of doing business'" as having an "inappropriate" attitude. While this concept is absolutely outrageous to our psychic model, when you get down to hard tacks, the authors have correctly evaluated the economic model of time. To the corporation, the concept of "time theft" is indispensable. The time is not the employees' to spend, because they are getting paid to help the corporation make their product or do a service, and in doing so, produce the money that the corporation desires. To produce, they need to be constantly productive. An unproductive employee will be demoted and fired.

Foucault describes the perverse, and completely intentional, consequences of this regulation of time in Discipline and Punish (1975). The drawing up of time-tables and elimination of unregulated time operate in conjunction with other forms of regulation such as "compartmentalization," a bureaucratic device where each person has a specific job (as if on an assembly line) and is penalized for doing work outside that narrow window which is assigned to them. Foucault believes that this regulation of all aspects of one's life, which was implemented in prisons, schoolhouses, and the like during the Industrial Age, originated with monastic orders. But a little review of religious history will find that not all Christian monastic orders had such strict regulation. The Desert Fathers of Egypt, for instance, were a generally anarchic community that drew their goals from the recognized wisdom of the elder ascetics. The original monastic order that regulated time, space, and thought was drawn up by Pachomius, a former military officer; the good-natured intent was to create an environment in which discipline, not ecstatic insight, was rewarded, and the model was of course after the military where discipline was essential to win battles and save lives.

But the panoptic system described by Foucault aggravates him because it is not a good model of human behavior. It does not account for unquantifiable events that can be useful for the system, or just plain useful for humanity. Let us think about how the corporate automaton would judge a normal person's life. How does a real human being spend her time? She spends much of it sleeping, an extraordinarily unproductive activity. Much of the rest is spent in ways that, to a corporation, would seem inefficient and useless towards the corporate goal of producing a profit. Dollars are useful to our needs, but unlike the corporate individual we have needs outside of money; we measure things in terms of satisfaction (or as economists call it, "utility"). There is no exchange rate between dollars and utility: things of great utility, such as the love of your life, would not be traded away even for all the material things in the universe, whereas things of small utility, such as a fishbowl, may be replaced using dollars if broken. As Michael Ende points out in Momo, people's daily activities include such counterproductive means of satisfaction as owning a pet, raising a child, visiting or caring for one's aged relatives, talking with friends and strangers about non-business activities, making dinner for oneself rather than buying it cheap, and walking idly through the streets.

Are we forced to quantify the time spent on these lovely things? Well, when making the decision between spending a month on creating a bad work of art or a year on making a good one, we take many factors into account, and one of those is time spent. We do not quantify this time in terms of how many dollars we will get in return, but rather the satisfaction we will derive from it. After all, as Ende says, "time is life." Not many things are needed for human happiness, but applied time is absolutely necessary.

Does this mean poorly spent time is a waste of our life itself? Let us be cautious, and not get caught up with the efficiency battle. First, if we spend a year trying to make a good work of art and fail, this is not time wasted. If we felt dedicated and happy while we were doing it, and we still have our livelihood, that was time well spent. Time is always about us, not about our products. Second, do not argue that we need more free time in order to increase our production. In Normon Solomon's article "The Steady Theft of Our Time", which is not a serious investigation but a brief reflection of his personal philosophy of time, he expresses exasperation with the ways in which the corporation wrests away parcels of time that were previously his property. He mentions telemarketers and advertising, as well as his concerns over traffic jams and long lines. But he puts this in terms of the economic demon, "time theft." As we will see, in the correct psychic model, the problems he mentions should be dealt with in different ways; not all of them have been thieved away.

How, then, does one spend time well? This is a question that is rarely addressed with sufficient distance from the pettiness of momentary needs, and frequently ignored. So let us look at the big picture.

Broadening our view

The way we have constructed time is most curious because past philosophers have occasionally identified and attacked some element of it to support some particular argument, but it is rarely thought through entirely. Perhaps this is because we join the disparate concepts of personal, historical, and cosmological/scientific time, as Paul Ricœur suggests. Or maybe it is because nobody can think of time in terms of anything other than time, although that mental block has not stopped us from thinking deep thoughts about space and how we use it. In any case, the list runs long. Richard Feynman said he avoided thinking about it. Writers have dubiously claimed (Cioranescu 1991) that "we shall never fully understand its mysteries." "What then is time?" asked Saint Augustine. "If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not." Building on St. Augustine, Oswald Spengler "declared that no one should be allowed to ask" the meaning of time. Heschel, summarizing this reluctance, that "we know what to do with space but do not know what to do with time, except to make it subservient to space. Most of us seem to labor for the sake of things of space. As a result we suffer from a deeply rooted dread of time and stand aghast when compelled to look into its face." (Emphasis mine.) But time, as we have seen above, is now under attack; so we must conquer our fears and dig into the literature.

The primitivist philosopher John Zerzan, in his study Time and its Discontents, asserts that time is used by civilization as a form of imprisonment, or as he puts it "sudden, panicky awareness" (of missing the train, I assume) which leads to "estrangement and humiliation". He concludes that the cultural concepts of past, present and future are our own constructions which we have cut out of the whole sort of metaphysical mish-mash, and furthermore shoving the world into these time-holes alienates us from our environment. While I am not sure how this is a useful conclusion, I agree with him that our distorted concept of time grows straight out of our obsession with the mastery of space. As output efficiency becomes more and more valuable in a civilization, the increasing importance of punctuality, or time discipline, forces the measurement of time to become more and more exact, and obvious human inventions like time zones come into existence out of this necessity. Zerzan cites a study by Robert Levine, who looked at the accuracy of clocks in several different cultures, finding that as they moved towards the goals of Western civilization clocks became accurate to within an hour, a minute, and finally a second. In his book A Geography of Time (1997) Levine looks at time anthropologically, as a matter of "tempo." In the United States, punctuality is key to getting a job, opening a business, and catching a train. In Ghana, however, people regularly show up for meetings hours late, often because they are busy having tea and chatting with an acquaintance. In India, Levine writes, people put off work for hours at a time to say hello to someone who may or may not have a purpose visiting their office. This does not mean that there is no concept of time measurement in these countries. On the contrary, they are fully aware how much time they take up while other people are "waiting" to "get stuff done", but they are unconvinced for this need for punctuality. I will take a closer look at this real-world disparity later.

Antiphon the Sophist was the first to assign value to time, as attested by Pendrick 2002; according to Plutarch he called it "the most precious commodity." This sort of moralizing is easy to understand, and Seneca the Younger, in the first century CE, turned it into a full sermon. "I am always surprised to see some people demanding the time of others and meeting a most obliging response," he wrote in De Brevitate Vitae. "Both sides have in view the reason for which the time is asked and neither regards the time itself -- as if nothing there is being asked for and nothing given. They are trifling with life's most precious commodity, being deceived because it is an intangible thing, not open to inspection and therefore reckoned very cheap -- in fact, almost without any value. People are delighted to accept pensions and gratuities, for which they hire out their labor or their support or their services. But nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it costs nothing. But if death threatens these same people, you will see them praying to their doctors; if they are in fear of execution, you will see them prepared to spend their all to stay alive. So inconsistent are they in their feelings."

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. --Douglas Adams (C)

There is both good and bad to be found in Seneca's model of quantified time. The good is that Seneca recognizes that the exchange of time for excess money is a poor use of one's short life, since the bank of time will still supply when money runs out, whereas when time runs out money will become useless. But I find his larger psychic model to be flawed, and if Seneca were alive in our world of Adamsian digital watches he would recognize that his quantification of time is basically subservient to the material model. You do not have to travel far from Seneca's model to find the admonition to hurry up in The Saints' Everlasting Rest by 17th century Puritan leader Richard Baxter: "Besides, is not much precious time already lost? With some of us, childhood and youth are gone; with some, their middle age also; and the time before us is very uncertain. What time have we slept, talked, and played away, or spent in worldly thoughts and cares! How little of our work is done! The time we have lost cannot be recalled; should we not, then, redeem and improve the little which remains? If a traveller sleep or trifle most of the day, he must travel so much faster in the evening, or fall short of his journey’s end." From there to 18th century Puritan Jonathan Edwards: "You ought to mourn and lament over your lost time; but that is not all, you must apply yourselves the more diligently to improve the remaining part, that you may redeem lost time ... Diversion should be used only in subserviency to business. So much, and no more, should be used, as does most fit the mind and body for the work of our general and particular callings." Finally, Benjamin Franklin boils this down to the practical reminder that "time is money," and we have ourselves the problem we had set out to eradicate in the first place.

By taking a "seize the moment" approach to time and filling one's schedule with the maximum amount of planned usefulness, we will, in Zerzan's terms, alienate ourselves from the natural progress of life portrayed by those people in Ghana and India who have their priorities straight. As John Lennon put it, "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." Or, to put it less cynically, life is just as much what happens to you as what you aim to do, and writing off the stuff that wasn't in your plan is nothing less than the condemnation of accident. It is stupid to lash out against accident; it is the father of invention and surprise, and even if you hate it, it can still produce wonderful fruits. Just ask any happy couple. Following Seneca's advice strictly will lead to futile and alienating attempts to shut out those events that "waste" our precious time, such meeting strangers on a walk, or getting lost. (Seneca, by the way, concludes his essay with an argument for pleasant philosophical contemplation.)

Recognizing that our lives could end at any moment is more than just a call to quickly get the stuff done that we want to get done, that is, to "spend" the credit in our "bank of time" wisely. It is to understand that the bank itself is an illusion, and there is no literal hourglass up there in Heaven. Regardless of whether our lives are decided by fate, neither you nor anyone else in the world knows exactly when your life is going to end, so you must not act like that has any effect on your actions. Someone who dies at 30 is not necessarily worse off for not having experienced all the things someone who lives to 60 gets to see. Conversely, if you are somehow guaranteed to live to 100, that does not mean that you now have so much life you don't know what to do with it, and it is okay to kill time. To judge one's life as a series of notable events ignores all the life that happens between those events, and whether they spent their lives in a hurry to die. The deepest heart of what Michael Ende means is that every moment is precious, both the moments we are wasting and the moments we are doing what we want to do, and we must now create a psychic model of time that includes that outlook as its base assumption.

Building our model

What will our model look like? How do we replace 2,500 years of Western philosophy with a new set of concepts from the ground up? Do we want to abandon the concept of time measurement altogether? Will we have to stop setting dates and times for planned events?

Shutting out the past and future

Do not construct your personal model of time based on past wins and losses. When you review your life as you plummet from the Empire State Building, remember that just because you never had a published book doesn't mean that your career as a writer was a failure; it may have been a failure in the eyes of other people who wanted to read your book, but if you believe your time was well-spent their opinions cannot change the objective fact of your belief. Furthermore, do not trick yourself into the same delusions as your observers. It is foolish to say that your time is wasted just because you cannot complete a project, because there are no certainties in life. Did you believe you were wasting time while you were doing all that work? Don't be a revisionist historian. If you enjoyed it then it was enjoyable.

Consider the even more dismal case of doing something which seemed like a good idea at the time but which you now see was a terrible decision, such as jumping off the Empire State Building. You should not pretend that the time spent climbing up all those flights of stairs was a waste of the last moments of your life, just because it is now evident that it was a mistake. The mindlessness or bad intentions of your goal does not make your effort less remarkable. If you decide it's right to regret, do not regret the time, but the mindlessness and the consequences. (You probably won't be worrying about this anyway unless if you spent 50 years building a doomsday device.)

Nor should you look to the future to affirm that you are spending your time well. This is the bane of all people who love life today, because it is people planning for the future who get themselves stuck in desk jobs, whittling away their lives for the promised pie in the sky. The future is not something to be forgotten entirely, but it should always be viewed in terms of the right action to be taken in the present. When you know the importance of every moment, what is the right way to use that time?

Time is the basis of all religion

TODO for this section: Explain to atheists why I am talking about religion

There is an excellent connection between the use of time in human life itself, which can be argued over endlessly, and the use of time human religion which is far more difficult to dispute. When our possessions are taken from us, we continue to live, but we cannot exist outside of our time. So it is with religion.

From the beginning of human history, religion has been about the observance of holy times. It is not clear who the builders of Stonehenge worshiped, but it is clear that the rocks are arranged so that the sunrise can be seen through them on a special day of the year. It is evident from this that early man did not exist in a sort of timeless daze. Perhaps he did not count years, but he was aware of important days within a solar or lunar calendar, and more likely than not the time of these days was used for special purposes: ceremony, or perhaps festival. The Romans, too, assigned specific days to specific gods. If they had not measured time in order to mark these days, they could not have given each of the gods their unique honors; without remembering the sacrifice times the gods would be quickly forgotten.

Turning to the more practical matter of modern religion, let's look at the supreme-being variety first. The questions of probing humanists, "where is God?" indicate the extent to which we think all things are subservient to space. God is not to be found anywhere in space. There exist churches, temples, and mosques, but God does not live in these places; they are only a reminder of God's extra-spacial existence. You can pray to God anywhere. As a general rule, God can be contemplated without the need for any physical thing, but not outside of time. If you don't set aside time you cannot think of God. This statement may seem obvious, but to those who probe the answer to this weird theological question becomes clear. We should not say "where is God" but "when is God"! And indeed the answer to this is surprisingly specific. For the Jews, God is found every Saturday; for the Christians He is found on Sunday; and for all the monotheists of the world, God exists whenever you take the time to pray to Him.

Now let us look at Buddhism. Many question whether Buddhism is a religion at all, because it lacks God and dogma. But its reliance on applied time shows that it is just as much a religion as any other. One does not need things to become a Buddha. One only needs the time for spiritual practice. It is not the material things which are sacred in Buddhism, nor are the supernatural things which we concieve of at all valuable, but meditation time itself is sanctified. Without control over our time we can have no practice. So we see that regardless of whether you believe in God, a threat to time is a threat to religion.

Heschel again: "What would be a world without a Sabbath? It would be a world that knew only itself or God distorted as a thing or the abyss separating Him from the world; a world without the vision of a window in eternity that opens into time." Yet the Sabbath so strictly observed by our forefathers in the United States has become just another day. Some of us go to church in the morning, but the rest of the day is spent working on quite irreligious things, or preparing for Monday. The restrictions on work, shopping and alcohol are long forgotten. How can any Christian or Jew expect to find God if he thinks time is just a series of "empty shells" which should be rearranged to fit his needs and filled up to do some task as efficiently as possible? Without the devotion and contemplation of a full-day Sabbath, God becomes a murmur far distant from daily life, and difficult to understand.


Buddhist practice is only the purest form of a general and large category of activity which requires concentration to the point of the loss of self-consciousness. For most of us, it is easier to get lost in some other kind of engaging activity than to focus our minds on mere observance. In fact, we find it difficult to justify having spent our time on activities which lend themselves to distraction (like watching television), and those activities that we consider fun and time well-spent are the ones which we devote our full attention to. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi has studied this effect and dubs it "flow."

One great example of flow in Csíkszentmihályi's book comes from contrasting the experiences of two assembly line workers. One has a car with a flat tire but no money to fix it, and is sick with worry over whether he'll be able to make it through the rest of the week until he gets his paycheck. He is alienated from his work by these persistent worries, and as a result his 47-second deadlines for each unit in the line bear down on him and reinforce the alienation. For the other worker, the deadline is made into a game-- he sees how fast he can finish the job that's supposed to take 47 seconds, aiming to beat his previous record, and eventually whittles it down to 18 seconds. Worries are temporarily forgotten, and time ceases its oppression; he gets caught up in his work and feels accomplished by the end of the day.

Csíkszentmihályi describes this difference in time-perception with the same words Zerzan uses to describe his anarcho-primitivist goal of "freedom from time."

One of the most common descriptions of optimal experience is that time no longer seems to pass the way it ordinarily does. The objective, external duration we measure with reference to outside events like night and day, or the orderly progression of clocks, is rendered irrelevant by the rhythms dictated by the activity.
Although it seems likely that losing track of the clock is not one of the major elements of enjoyment, freedom from the tyranny of time [emph. mine] does add to the exhilaration we feel during a state of complete involvement.

He explains that not all flow results in loss of time-consciousness. Sometimes you lose track of time, and sometimes your time-sense becomes so sharp that you know the time down to the second. Sometimes time moves slower than usual, and you seem unnaturally hard-working; sometimes time moves far faster than you expect and you are typing an essay for the Internet at three in the morning. The only clear pattern, in fact, is that time no longer seems to dictate to you something that you don't want to do.

Image:Hardhat.jpg HARD HAT ZONE Image:Hardhat.jpg

WARNING: The formatted article ends here. Past this point, the foundations are still being poured and you run the risk of falling into a logical pit or getting trapped under a sentence fragment.



"The most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you're doing is thinking."
Barack Obama

Build on flow: deriving full meaning

The antithesis of full engagement is complete disengagement. How do you disengage yourself from a task without complete boredom? You can immerse yourself in a medium such as television which uses constantly changing images to distract you; or you can make the effort to distract yourself from whatever you are doing with multitasking. This demon is more prominent in modern life that you might think at first. As Barber explains in Consumed (p. 98), the approach favored in modern culture is to change out a slow and subtle engagement with the instant gratification ....... "Kids will instant message for hours as if they have but seconds," he writes. "The mad seconds accumulate, leaving them with plenty of time to compose sonnets: but they content themselves with sentence fragments. For the person on the other end is waiting, and probably multitasking and might go away any sec now, and time's a flying, so hurry up!"

Every medium has a cognitive style. Instant messaging could be used to write dactylic hexameter, but it lends itself to supporting distraction; hence, the instant messaging clients built in to Facebook and Gmail, meant to jot out a quick note while focusing on something else. The cognitive style of the hypertext used on the World Wide Web is quite similar. The presence of links inside a document means that the document constantly offers for you to interrupt your own reading and do something else. Yet this prevents reading comprehension. As a result of this and other elements of the Web's cognitive style, a document is less often read than skimmed for new elements, and any link is a ticket to instant gratification through fresh content. No wonder the Web took off rather than Gopher; it gives the impression of the unlimited speed we unconsciously desire in our consumer culture, racing through gobs of text with reckless abandon.


The reaction to unique cultural tempos is predictable and upsetting.

The Fundación Independiente, a research organization in Madrid, has started a campaign to do away with the marathon lunches and to align the Spanish work schedule with the 9-to-5 routine common in the rest of the European Union. "In a globalized world, we have to have schedules that are more similar to those in the rest of the world so we can be better connected," said Ignacio Buqueras y Bach, the group's president. "These Spanish lunches of two to three hours are very pleasant, but they are not very productive."
Change already appears to have taken root in some places. It is not hard to find convenience stores and shopping centers here that stay open all day, a contrast from 10 to 12 years ago. Perhaps more telling, it is not unusual to see a boutique with a sign in the window saying, "We do not close at midday."

I didn't write this yet but I will get around to it someday.

Common ground

The concepts of time we have discussed here are disparate and not easy to reconcile.

I didn't write this yet but I will get around to it someday.

We are aiming for an end to racing against time, and seeking a feeling that time is on our side. To do this, simply take responsibility for, and assert the value of, your own actions. You should not think, "I owe my time to such-and-such a thing," but rather, "Such-and-such is what I want to do most right now." On the surface it seems like this is not a change at all; but in fact, it is the biggest change you can make.

Take the thought-crime of daydreaming, for example. Daydreaming is the highest form of time-use, as it removes you from a bad situation and lets you imagine a better way, a better challenge, or a higher adventure. This is not a matter of distraction from something more important to your material needs. If you need money badly, you will engage yourself fully in earning it. But if you've allowed yourself to daydream, it is not only a viable option, it is obviously more productive to your own gain than your work!

Augustine: 'the measure of time is an inner measure'

Eco: All time is perceived from our point of view.

Why is this important? Well, 1) corporate time, 2) other people's improper values of your time, 3) there exist joys of life that cannot happen instantaneously...

Examining what we have

Properly applied time produces flow.

Our model: Maximum flow

Their model: Maximum productivity

 <Shii> i think "productivity" in popular use means conquering the physical world
 <Shii> that's something which should be questioned

Well, that's weird. No punctuality in our model. Why not?

Voices in the wilderness

The Americans say, "Time is money." But I think that time is life.
Lu Xun, An Outsider's Chats about Written Language

Proust, in Searching for Lost Time, aims for the exact opposite of Antiphon's quantified time; he ascribes great value to the time which has not been planned out and executed. "A minute freed from the order of time," he writes, "has recreated in us, so that we can feel it, a man freed from the order of time." Living outside of the constraints of appointments and duties is "the only environment in which one could live and enjoy the essence of things." In other words, if you want to live, freedom is more valuable than productivity.

T.S. Eliot puts it a different way in his poem Burnt Norton, which echoes Zerzan's desire to become more conscious by escaping the past-present-future construct entirely:

Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time.
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.

Eliot recognizes that while awareness of time takes us out of the present where we belong, that awareness can also make us realize the importance of being in the present.

In Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, the main characters spend the entire play waiting for a guy who never shows up. It is possible, if you don't know the premise, to spend the entire play aggravated, wondering when Godot is finally going to appear on the stage. This would reflect time considered poorly; time which is spent waiting whether you want it or not. To appreciate the play, you must either ignore the fact that they are waiting (not recommended) or understand that they are waiting and fully appreciate their situation, realizing that by creating a play out of their waiting, they have turned this undesired "waste" of time into a completely desirable work of art.


"To make the world look beautiful, the nature documentary speeded up the film."
Mark Cunningham, 80 Beetles
Yasujiro Ozu often drew out shots for minutes at a time. This scene from Tokyo Story is especially memorable, yet such slow-paced camera work would be anathema in a modern Hollywood blockbuster.
"Compare Hollywood films of the 1930s where scenes could last for tens of seconds or even a full minute without a single edit or change in camera angle with today's music videos and comic-book and digital-action films where no scene lasts more than a second or two without a snip here and an edit there."
Benjamin R. Barber, Consumed, p. 98

Marx: "Economy of time, in the end all economy is reduced to this."

Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization: 'counterposes the new time and conception of time, produced by the mechanical clock, to a lost organic time that was a sequence of elementary human experiences and events caused by man. The transition to abstract, measured hours and minutes is for Mumford, in an even broader sense than for Marx, a process of alienation from nature.'

Max Weber; Wener Sombart; Gustav Bilfinger

Milan Kundera, Slowness, p.2-3, 92-93

James Gleick, Faster

Freeing ourselves from being tethered to time

It's easy, just snap your fingers...

Fighting back

Time is a most effective tool of the corporation because people hardly ever blame the corporation for their own poor handling of their time. Under the material model, this expected productiveness is merely following the tradition of Benjamin Franklin and the Puritans. If your job is very important to you--if your very livelihood depends on it--then it is your responsibility to show up at 8:30AM and complete as much work as your contract says you should. If you fail to live up to this standard, you are not merely making your boss upset, you are breaking a physical law. The rule set by the establishment becomes the rule of the universe itself, and time seems to press up to us, whipping us back to work. We are forced to hurry, and it seems like our time has been taken from us. Under the psychic model, though, Time, a gift to all of us, is being chained up and forced to do the corporation's bidding here. It is silly to wish that you had more time to complete a task; you have many years to do what you want to do. The imposition of output-per-hour requirements and output deadlines is not a rule of the universe, but an inconvenience demanded by individuals of other individuals. Reasonable people will understand that Time is too important to beat into submission in this way.

Alianza para la Liberación del Tiempo y su Ordenamiento Zerzan-style flailing




Time in Snow Crash

I didn't write this yet but I will get around to it someday.


It occurs to me that this essay may be used as a reference, in which case it is only prudent to give some full citations.

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