Tuesday, May 23, 2023

#143 / Time Is Money: Right?

I think about "time" quite frequently, and some of my reflections have appeared in this blog - often with a reference to the founder of Quakerism, George Fox, and/or with a reference to Hannah Arendt and her book, Between Past And Future. Try my blog posting titled, "Trucker Time," if you would like to know the general drift of my thoughts - and if you'd like to see what Fox said.
In The New York Times newspaper dated Sunday, April 16, 2023, there were some very interesting articles bearing on "time." The image above appeared on the cover of The Times Book Review, and almost the entirety of The New York Times Magazine, that day, referenced the subject of "time."
In "What Do People Do, All Day," as this article appeared online, you will get quick vignettes of different people, doing different things. You will get even more photos if you can access the printed edition. 
In "You Call This ‘Flexible Work’?", The Times Magazine not only has some great cartoon depictions, it raises the spectre of a "workplace" totally monitored and controlled, even though that "workplace" is in our own home. In essence, The Times is suggesting, the "Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938" is being undermined: 

The article that made the most immediate impression on me was a book review, by Tatiana Schlossberg, outlining what Jenny Odell has written in her recent book, Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond The Clock. The article attracted my attention largely because Schlossberg begins her review with the following statement: "Climate change is doing strange things to time."

That is a pretty intriguing statement, don't you think?
Schlossberg goes on to tell us, in her review, that "it is in the gap between present and future, where outcomes are not yet determined, that Jenny Odell enters with her paradigm-destroying new book." This statement is an allusion to Hannah Arendt's book, mentioned above, though Schlossberg slightly misses the point. In fact, as Arendt says, we live, inevitably, in "the present," and it is "the present" that is the gap just mentioned - that gap between "past" and "future" where we have the ability to take action and to create a whole new order in reality.

At any rate, I have sent away for Odell's book, and to persuade you that you might want to do the same, consider this, another statement from Schlossberg's review:

Odell often describes human time as “time pressure,” by which she means the fungibility of time that makes it interchangeable with “stuff,” thereby giving it a price — which is to say wage labor.) These two timelines are so mismatched, she writes, as to inspire feelings of “lonely absurdity.”

The phenomena of “individual time pressure and climate dread,” Odell writes, “share a set of deep roots, and they have more in common than just fear.” European colonialism, she argues, let loose upon the world an economy of extraction, both of human labor and of natural resources. Our problems stem from the economic model that makes “stuff” and assigns a monetary value to that which is priceless: our lives, the miracles of physics and coincidences and evolution that have given rise to everything on this planet, and our continued ability to live here (emphasis added).
Time is Money? Maybe not. It could be that we have just been tricked into thinking that it is!

Image Credits:
(1) - https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/07/books/review/jenny-odell-saving-time.html
(2) - https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/12/magazine/flexible-work-home.html

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