There used to be a time when we had to wait 7 days for the next episode of our favorite TV-series; when we needed to hang on until the next morning for our latest fix of news; when a written message from friends and family took many days to arrive.
Waiting Is History
We don’t wait for new books, video games or music albums to appear on shelves or on our doorstop, we download them instantly. Only limited by the speed and bandwidth of our connections, we rush from activity to activity, sequenced by the everpresent drum of the progress bar.
There are “20 minutes left in this chapter”, “6 songs to go”, “34 seconds until download completion”, x number of breaths left in this body.
In the age of immediate gratification, everything that’s not instaneous is automatically suspicious. Time is not an element. The clock doesn’t count our breaths in soft sweeps of hands. Time is allotted, slotted, cut, wasted and killed.
In the remains of these shattered days and hours we live out our lives timed by the steady tapping of fingers on keyboards, wiping and sweeping, clicking, opening, closing, sharing, staring.
“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” ― William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
The Life-Cycle Of Lines
We went from milking cows to instant milk, from working the land to landing a job, from farming the earth to server-farms.
We’re still aware of autumn, winter, spring and summer. There are times to turn on the heating, times to turn on the air-conditioning, maintaining the perfect comfort levels regardless of external conditions.
Our inner senses are regulated by the flows of our newsfeeds, the stories we read, the music we hear, our thoughts crowdsourced gyrations around the navel of popular culture.
The ancient rhythm of seeds, growth and harvest was tuned to the cycle of the year, the seamless transition of seasons. The life span of start-ups follows the principle of cash and burn; grow big quickly or be swallowed by the competition: write more blog-posts, spin a hype, feed your Facebook, buy more ads, drink your own kool-aid, act fast and ask questions later.
Our work is just a reflection, an aspect of our lives. And yet, we become our work. Our “quantified selves” are scattered on spreadsheets and archived for further analysis. Between the lines we search for a sense of … something, maybe, perhaps – the hope of optimization, “making the world a better place”, hacking the human machine to run more efficiently, dangerously close to overclocking our hearts and minds.
If time is money, where are the rescue packages for the hyperinflation of hours and days, where are the moments which aren’t managed? Do we really love efficiency with a fiery passion, or are we just afraid of untamed time?
“…I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it.”― op. cit.
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