We recently switched from cable TV over to DirectTV and it has dramatically changed the way I look at time. This might seem like a really deep lead into a topic, but I’m actually being super literal. The front of our old gargantuan cable box had a digital clock that stared us in the face 100% of any time we were in the living room watching TV, reading, or just chilling. Now that the electronic brick is gone and replaced, I am amazed at how much a difference it has made.
The world has clock pollution. It’s been so long since I haven’t had immediate access to what time it is, it’s hard for me to remember what life was like without. As kids and teenagers, we wouldn’t have any access to what time it was unless we were in a car or house. Our days bike riding in the park didn’t end at 8pm, they ended sometime between “it’s early” and “it’s getting dark.” I’m not trying to blame my obsession with time on the insertion of time-telling technology into every aspect of our lives, I just find it curious how much of a difference this unintentional cable box change has made. It makes me wonder how much more my perspective on time might be altered if I hid the clock on my phone, watch, and computers. There are definitely situations where knowing the exact time is a necessity, I’m just feeling as though there might be a lot fewer of those situations in our day-to-day lives than we realize.
A scene from Interstellar just popped into my head. The Endurance & crew have successfully traveled through the wormhole and are debating on whether or not to make the trip down to Dr. Miller’s planet when Anne Hathaway’s character says “Okay. Cooper’s right. We need to think of time as a resource, like oxygen and food. Going down will cost us.” The quote is a bit out of context, as they were referring to time lost by people on Earth, but the concept of time as a resource is an important thought because we have no idea how much is ever left. Imagine that you have a bank account but no idea how much money it has. The only thing you know is that your bank account is getting withdrawn from all day every day. It’s difficult to care about an account that you cannot see or control or understand the nature of.
And so, time.