Archive for March 6th, 2010
Introducing Nathan Pralle from PhilosYphia
Let’s welcome Nathan Pralle. When you are finished reading Nathan’s insight on Time; click on over to his site and read more of his creative posts. In addition, it would be a great gesture if you left comments below for Nathan to respond to. Remember his guest post is a sacrifice because it means he neglected his own blog to post here. Of course it is a great honor for me to be able to have a guest blogger. As a favor to me show Nathan the courtesy you might want shown to you if you were a guest writer on someone elses blog. Leave plenty of comments and visit his site. It’s very interesting. Thanks.
I worry about Time.
Or rather, I worry about how our perceptions of Time are changing. Specifically, I’m concerned with the idea of whatever RIGHT NOW happens to be.
If you think back, it wasn’t a few years ago we were all very much used to the idea of time being somewhat…inspecific. Not necessarily inaccurate, but there was a fudge-factor to what time it was supposed to be right at the moment.
This all had to do with the timepieces we employed ourselves with – from the golden fob on a chain in your father’s suit pocket to the Mickey Mouse Club red-banded watch on your elementary-school wrist, we had pretty decent ways of telling what time it was…somewhat.
Even the best of chronometers lost or gained some time based on any number of environmental factors – temperature, impacts, battery strength, the accuracy of the movement, cat puke, etc. Your particular time could be anywhere from 10 minutes before to 10 minutes after anothers time and the popular excuse was, “well, this watch runs slow, ya know.”
Today we have systems that synchronize and it’s getting harder to find ones that don’t. Computer systems all draw their time from a local server which contacts one of the many “time servers” on the Internet to get the correct setting, the servers themselves being set by the atomic clocks that only lose one second every 30 million years. Cell phones are slowly replacing watches as the source of personal time knowledge – I myself don’t wear a watch anymore in deference to my iPhone’s display. These, of course, are also getting their time from the company’s servers which in turn ask for the official time from the atomics.
In other words, everything’s really, really accurate — all the time, every time, without fail due to batteries, impact, or running it through the wash. How handy are we?
And yet, this has caused us some shifts in how we approach time. Getting together with friends now happens on a specific time, like always, but you both know when someone’s late and there’s no real question about it – everyone HAS the same time on their phones, so there’s no more, “Oh, sorry, this old thing must be acting up again.” (shakes wrist in the air in frustration)
Meetings and appointments take on a whole new dynamic because your computer knows the right time, just as everyone else, and if you’re a minute or two behind you can be assured someone will be calling to see if you fell asleep. There’s no more getting to the meeting early and sitting around tossing the crap because a few of you had fast watches.
In some essence, we’ve lost a chunk of our interaction time based on the inaccuracy of time. It seems we do a lot more, “making time,” than we used to, which equates to having to schedule in a chunk of a moment to handle something we don’t normally have written down – reading a book to our child, visiting a relative, hanging out with a friend, talking to a colleague. Many of these things used to just, “happen,” and then we lost the inefficiencies of the “times between” and gained…what, exactly?
I try to not let Time rule my life any more than is a necessary evil, but it’s very difficult. I find my head pulling me in a logical direction when, “playing trains,” with my little boy goes a bit too long and the night creeps on. “You’re wasting time!” a small part says, noting that it’s now 10pm and we’re still playing. Thankfully there’s an even bigger part of me going, “No, this is important. Screw the time.”
Time – it’s all we have and a limited amount at that. The seconds ticking by trickle through our minds and our bodies and propel us onwards into the future – it’s all a matter of how much emphasis we ourselves put on it that makes it the fleeting thing that it is – or one of the most important. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to find the difference.