We're running out of time. In one way quite literally, since we're all moving towards the end of our lives, every day a little bit closer. But in another way the growing sense of acceleration and the resulting stress is an illusion that we have created ourselves and that we keep fuelling with our modern 'civilised' lifestyle.
When did time begin to run out? I've asked this question a few friends and most assumed that it all started to go downhill during the industrial revolution. But an article I've recently read (in FLOW magazine #10) suggests that the all-too-familiar feeling of 'lack of time' began already 500 years before the first factories were built. Here's what happened: At some point in the middle ages, clocks started to appear in public places, especially on towers. Suddenly everyone always knew the exact time and everything was organized according to the new pulse of life: the ticking beat of the clock. Tick tock, tick tock.
Before the arrival of this controlling beat people used more organic measurements of time. “Let's meet in the morning after we've taken the cows to the field.” There was much more flexibility which meant that you had no reason to get stressed just because you might be ten minutes late. There was less pressure to be on time and so you had more freedom to enjoy beautiful moments (which tend to appear spontaneously, ie. unscheduled). The sun and the stars provided all the guidance – no clocks, just blowing wind and beating hearts. Almost like a timeless paradise.
I guess those romantic days are long gone. Nowadays it's important to know the time, and to be on time – it almost seems like a matter of survival. The generous rhythm of nature has been replaced by the tight rhythm of the clock. And wherever we are, whatever we do, we hear it ticking, the clock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Perhaps with fewer clocks we'd have more time again.
Listening less to the constant ticking.
Focusing more on simply being.