Tyranny of the Clock

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development4 Comments

  People in an economic system based on production learn to live with the tyranny of the clock.  Although people have been tracking time since the early days of humans, our relationship with time has become different. Time used to be related to something going on in nature.  People measured the hours of sunshine, the seasons, and how long crops took to grow.  The day began when the sun came up and ended when it set. Our survival was directly related to what nature offered us and so our relationship to time was related to nature also. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have changed our relationship to time and nature. We treat nature as something we control.  It is understandable that we sought to control nature because we felt so out of control in relation in nature: weather was so unpredictable, the basic needs of people were not being met, and disease was rampant.  At the time, natural resources were so plentiful. So we created machines and production processes to harness natural resources to take care of our basic needs and kept on going.  Time became a factor in production costs and therefore directly affected profits. Time And Limits There were understandable reasons for the economic system that we have created.  Human society at the time of the Industrial Revolution was saddled with all sorts of limits that needed to be challenged. Some of these limits were based on belief systems. Some limits were geographical, others political. Even time felt limiting because we were limited by the amount that each person could accomplish which in turn limited our ability to meet our needs. Since the Industrial Revolution, the clock has been used as a tool for challenging limits through productivity measurements which evaluate how well we produce in a specific period … Read More

Time And Space

Maria HillEmotional And Mental Health, Personal Development0 Comments

Creative Commons License Photo by Peter Alfred Hess photo credit: Peter Alfred Hess More and more I have been thinking about the relationship between time and space. They have a very direct relationship.  The more attention you pay to time the less attention you pay to space. They are two very different values. They are also two antithetical values. What Makes Time And Space Clash? Western cultures operate on the belief that speed increases productivity and is a way to challenge limits. Speed forces focus and resources to one objective. Speed is force. Time, or perhaps better speed which is fast time, creates an alternate reality. Speed increases intensity and forces us to compress our effort and attention into a small space of time. When we increase our intensity we are burning up our own resources – physical, mental and emotional. We are consuming ourselves. Speed consumes the space of our attention as well and in doing so removes other matters from our attention. Emergencies then become the highest claim for our attention. The easiest way to control the human agenda is through emergency. It controls the social space and attention space, and shoves simpler, often more important considerations to the side. Speed And Creativity Some people think that by going fast you can bypass the critical mind and negative programming and therefore makes you freer. Essentially, speed is being used to shut out parts of ourselves that are wounded or unhealthy to increase our productivity and creativity.  We are shutting out parts of ourselves through speed. There is validity to these methods; however, it seems unfortunate that we have to deny an important part of ourselves to be creative. Whenever we treat a part of ourselves as the “enemy” we lose an ally for our creativity. There is always a price … Read More

What Time Pressure Costs Us

Maria HillCreativity, Emotional And Mental Health10 Comments

How do you feel about the time pressure of this impatient world we live in? Personally, I hate it, yet I often feel that slow is “wrong”. Slow means getting run off the road by someone faster. Slow means “missing the boat” because you can only miss it by being slow. The fast pace of our society has a life of its own. It feels like “reality” and when we drop out of the high speed movement of our economic culture it can seem like a form of death. But if you look at it another way, our fast paced system can feel like a form of death as well. It seems like a catch-22. What Time Pressure Costs Us When you have to work fast, in my experience you also have to focus. Focus is great, but under conditions of pressure, that focus becomes narrowed to whatever will enable us to create a quick result and move on to the next action or decision. Essentially the demand for speed forces us to be short-sighted. There is a paradox in this: being short-sighted and fast forces us to make a lot of changes, but it also forces us to seek solutions that are “accessible”, that in effect, keep us where we are, that are not really innovative or difficult. So the project that takes longer, the relationship that requires cultivation – these things often do not happen. What does happen is actions, decision, and people that fit our time constraints but not necessarily our needs. This is one of the reasons we feel we are in a rat race or running fast on a treadmill going nowhere. Time pressure forces us into choices that keep us stuck. The Bigger Loss Time pressure costs us more than we realize. While we … Read More