cultural concepts of time

Time as a commodity

I've been reading the Secret Pulse of Time by Stefan Klein lately and in it he talks about how the Western concept of time used to be event based until the first clock was put on a Church belltower back in the 14th century. Later on time became even more regulated in the 19th century. And all of this, according to him, has led to an approach toward treating time as a commodity. I would agree, especially when phrases such as "Time is money" are offered as a way of justifying how people approach time. The other point Stefan makes is that people try to pack in as much as possible in as little time as possible, because of this commodity based approach. In fact, the focus tends to be on what someone has gotten done in a given day as opposed to actually slowing down and enjoying the day. This isn't surprising, when we think about how much information is available and how much demand that puts on a given person to process the information, as well as do something with it.

Stefan doesn't really present any clear solutions to this issue, but in my own experience I've found that being selective about the information I focus on helps. This is why I don't have Cable television or satellite, or get newspapers or have social media on my mobile phone. The flow of information is regulated by specific boundaries I have in place to make that information manageable. I've found that regulating the information hasn't significantly hurt my ability to keep up with what's going on, but has lead to lower stress, because I'm not constantly trying to process energy.

The other thing I do is meditate each day, and part of that is to simply re-balance my mental landscape, but also to give myself down time from the information so that I can process and consider it's importance. I find that doing such work not only helps me greatly, but also enhances the level of interaction, because I have more focus than I would if I'm constantly bombarded by information or worried about how much time I don't have. In fact, meditation has taught me to slow down and not be in such a hurry with my life. I realize I'll never get everything in a given day and instead of stressing about it, I do what I can and also spend time enjoying my life. Time then becomes less of a commodity and more of a cycle, going back to an event based approach to it, instead of counting the seconds and trying to do everything at once.