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  • Michael

How We Are All Slaves to Time

Updated: Jun 17

In the frenetic pace of modern life, one element consistently dominates our thoughts, actions, and decisions: time. We find ourselves perpetually racing against the clock, juggling responsibilities, and striving to balance our personal and professional lives. This relentless pursuit of managing time has turned us all into slaves to its unyielding march. So what are the complexities and what can we do about it?

'time is in control' Midjourney (2024)

The Modern-Day Bondage

From the moment we wake up to the time we lay our heads to rest, our days are meticulously scheduled. Alarms, deadlines, meetings, and appointments dictate our routines, creating an ever-present sense of urgency. This obsession with time management stems from a societal expectation to maximise productivity and efficiency. We are conditioned to believe that every moment must be accounted for and used optimally. The only inkling we may get to really disassociate and break free from the slavery of time is through some heroic psychedelic experiences such as LSD-25, 5-meO-DMT, or Psilocybin. But sadly, these tools are not always readily available to many around the world for harmless wellbeing means.

Historical Perspective: Time as a Construct

Historically, timekeeping was not always as precise or pervasive as it is today. Ancient civilisations had a more fluid concept of time, often tied to natural events and seasonal changes. It wasn’t until the advent of mechanical clocks in the Middle Ages and the subsequent Industrial Revolution that time became rigidly structured and integrated into daily life. But how do we really know how much time is in a second?

The shift from agrarian societies to industrialised economies brought about the need for standardised time to coordinate work shifts, transportation schedules, and production processes. This standardisation, while beneficial for societal progress, also marked the beginning of our collective enslavement to the clock. The Swiss are good at this, but managing our own variations of time is a challenge.

'we are all slaves to time' Midjourney (2024)

Psychological Impact: The Stress of Time

The constant pressure to manage time efficiently can lead to significant stress and anxiety. The concept of "time poverty," where individuals feel they have insufficient time to complete necessary tasks, is a growing concern. This phenomenon often results in a perpetual state of hurriedness, leaving little room for relaxation or personal fulfilment.

The pervasive influence of technology exacerbates our time-related anxieties. Smartphones, calendars, and digital reminders ensure we are always connected and constantly reminded of our obligations. The result is a relentless cycle of checking the time, planning ahead, and multitasking, which further fuels our sense of being enslaved by time.

However, the opposite of the stress of time could also lead to helplessness and pointlessness of time and life. This could then lead to something beyond stress, and more like a feeling of necessity to melt away into time in some way, maybe like not celebrating birthdays could help with managing age, time or cognition? How did Peter Pan do it for so long? Is there a way to break free or find some type of mechanical content with it?

'the stress of time' Midjourney (2024)

Breaking Free: Finding Balance

Despite the pervasive nature of time's control over our lives, it is possible to regain a sense of balance. Here are a few strategies to help mitigate the impact of time's tyranny:

  1. Prioritise Mindfully: Identify what truly matters and focus on those activities. Learning to say no to less important tasks can free up valuable time for more meaningful pursuits.

  2. Embrace Mindfulness: Practice being present in the moment. Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help reduce the stress associated with time management.

  3. Set Realistic Goals: Avoid overloading your schedule with too many tasks. Set achievable goals and give yourself permission to rest and recharge.

  4. Unplug Regularly: Take breaks from digital devices and social media. Allow yourself to disconnect and enjoy moments of solitude or face-to-face interactions without the constant intrusion of time reminders.

  5. Redefine Success: Shift your mindset from equating success with productivity. Recognise the value of rest, leisure, and personal connections as integral components of a fulfilling life.

While we may never fully escape the influence of time, we can strive to live more harmoniously with it. By prioritising what truly matters, practicing mindfulness, and redefining our notions of success, we can reduce the stress and anxiety associated with time's demands. Ultimately, the goal is not to be free from time but to master our relationship with it, transforming from slaves of the clock to masters of our own time.

'masters of our own time' Midjourney (2024)

How do you deal with being a slave to time, or not?

What tricks do you have up your sleeve when it comes to time?

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