Since reading E.P Thompson’s piece and discussing it in class today, along with the recent academic crunch, I have been feeling the pressure of time and to get things done. For me, time seems to be an artificial construct, something outside my person controlling me in a way that I want to resist, defend against, act outside of, but inevitably have to conform to its powerful tick tick ticking, like a beat to a metronome. We discussed how time changed, how humans conception of time changed with the industrial revolution and it became associated with a heightened sense of productivity and money. People internalized time, changing their behavior and their lifestyles. It has become so embedded in our beings, it is hard to imagine living outside of it, if that is even possible. The pressure to be always doing something with your time is more acute in the United States, at least how I see it. My experiences in Costa Rica, Argentina, Mexico and Cuba have offered me another perspective towards time. When you set a time to meet someone, often people show up anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour later! In Costa Rica, we joked, there was “Tico time” – another perception of time. People show up “late” or aren’t so worried about being their “on time”. People enjoy coffee or mate in Argentina, converse for hours on end and are not rushed like Americans, grabbing starbucks on their way to the next thing.
Personally, I enjoy the more relaxed nature of these Latin American cultures and not the rushed, manic rat race that takes over our lives. I think there is something important to be said about taking time to reflect about our lives, relationships, world problems, philosophical problems, or just to shoot the shit. Even faff about, read the paper over a cup of tea. In the end, I think it boils down to how we perceive time individually. Obviously, society’s perception of time as a whole effects us, how advertisements and structures such as school and other external factors shapes our lives. However, one can escape this tick ticking of the dictator clock- if not escape it, then not be dominated by it, or controlled by it. Anyways, food for thought.
I was talking with my friend, and he sent me this opinion article, relevant to our discussion. Take a look: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/on-modern-time/