Monday, May 31, 2010

Society Now!

Welcome to Society Now.

The advent of technology continues to revolutionize our world, but at what price? I believe what has been the greatest benefit, comes with unrealized consequences.

But thats what happens when society is built on a mentality of now, instead of later: fast food, emails, video streaming. The generation of waiting is slowly disappearing; patience along with it. I find it frustrating sometimes when I have to wait for my computer to start up. Imagine entire minute or two and I am complaining how long its taking.

During a talk by Carl Honore, on slowing down he made an interesting point. The way we look at time reflects how we spend it. Now breaking this thought down, we get two beliefs: either time is cyclical, or time is linear. The thought of time being cyclical gives us a sense of death and rebirth. A sense of renewal in the day, in the body and the mind. There seems to be something organic about this idea. Now, the linear time line is filled with limitations. The arrow of time moves through past, present and future; unfortunately there is no way of going back to the past. Concentrating on this belief, we start to compress as many activities as possible into our days.

Once we start compressing our days, we see chores in things that shouldn't be chores: a family dinner without the tv being on, a walk through the park with a dog, a phone call with a long-distance friend, reading a bedtime story to your child, etc. Now looking at our this healthy? What's in store for us in the future? When fast food becomes faster? When emails just take too long? When teleportation is delayed by a millisecond?

How do you view time? Most of Western ideology lives in a linear time line. Unfortunately for us, the Delorean is not able to go back to the future, nor the past for that matter. We live in a world without a Delorean, and for good reason we will continue to do so. Instead we live with quotes that tell us to make the most out of our day. Making the most out of your day doesn't mean you need to fill it with every imaginable activity.

Its interesting to see countries in Europe trying something new. There are businesses that operate on 25 - 30 hour a week days. They are finding that their employees are more productive then then most 40+ hour businesses and their employees are much happier.

Fortunately for us, our future is in our hands. Bring the speed dial down once in while. We end this post with a quote from Ferris Bueller: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once a while, you could miss it."

Time for the a cup of the ol' green,


ncchapman said...

Really interesting thoughts. It reminds me of this story that I read on the wall of a Jimmy John's. This is it:
Pretty moving. And it's not to say that hard work doesn't pay off-it does. But it gives new perspective to the idea that we are meant to always be chasing this unattainable goal of more, more, more and better, better, better.
I'd like to think that I spend my time wisely. I'm the kind of person who can lay in bed all day intermittently reading a book and napping and consider it time well spent. I've never felt the need to fill the day with all the activities I can for fear of wasting my life not experiencing everything I've always wanted to, merely because I wouldn't find it at all enjoyable. I admire and feel sorry for those who are constantly dealing with too much on their plate, someone like you, hahahaha.
I quit smoking(fucking sucks) but it gives you another perspective on time. Just because you want something now, in fact, you NEED it now, doesn't mean you have to have it. And if you've quit smoking, and plan to never ever smoke again then all then the hold that it's had on your life, the pains of quitting, and all the other bad stuff that people fear when quitting loses it's power over you. You can translate this to really any situation of our 'me' generation. Wish me luck!

Polly Zero said...

Very fascinating read. (I definitely needed the break from nonstop genealogical research too.) I realized that I cannot fill everyday with every activity imaginable. However when I do have my delightful free time, I do put into something that brings me joy. I also found that I could never really succeed at completing anything because I was so worried about running out of time. The older I get, the faster life flows. I actually manage my time a lot better and stopped feeling guilty about days where I am just a bum. As the big 3-0 looms next year, I am making an honest effort to slow down and appreciate all the great things. I've spent the last five years in various states of unrest and anxiety over what I couldn't control. It was a dark time that came to an ugly head last year.

Now I am perfectly content and guilt-free when I indulge in my "me" time.

Aquaryan said...

In this fast paced world, everyone is rushing from point A to point B to point C that we do not always connect the dots. This summer, I will be attending my 20th High School reunion. I do not feel like I will be turning 40 around the corner. I feel like I am fresh out of high school. I feel like I am still in my 20's, even. Time had moved so fast for me that I wonder how many times did I stop to smell the roses or how many hours I spent wasted on stupid things. What I have accomplished the past twenty years since I graduated from high school? I guess it is TIME to change that.

When I was younger, I wondered what my older-self would tell my younger-self about the future. As I became my older-self, I realized that there would be nothing that I would share with my younger-self because I had to walk my own path. I had to make mistakes along the way. Certainly, there are things in my past that I would have liked to have changed. Yet, the past cannot be changed, even if I could change the past, I would not.

I found my camera, so now I can go out and take new pictures and to discover new things in this world.

Until next time!

JokerQuinn said...

I completely agree. I can't help but want and slow down, and try to live my life day to day. Not really looking towards the future, and not looking into the past. But trying to make each day the best that it can be. But due to my usual 36-45 hour a week work schedule, I find myself trying to cram as much into my day offs as possible. And sometimes, after working 6 or 7 days in a row. I don't want to do anything but rest. Which isn't making the most out of my day at all. But rather wasting it.

Did you ever see the movie Tuck Everlasting or read the book? The message it has in it is universal for everyone. The Tuck's have an eternity of life to live, they take each day as it comes. Never really planning ahead. But they understand the gift of life, that in order for a new life to come into the world, and old one has to leave. And they wish they could die. They understand how life is supposed to be.

If you have never seen it/read it, you should try. The movie is more focused towards girls I would say, but like I said...the message is very universal.

Trista said...

Interesting. I feel like I'm constantly battling time, wasting all my energy trying to slow it down. I do indeed find everyday things to be like chores... things that really shouldn't feel like chores. Everything's a to-do list in my head.

I believe that time is cyclical, but I live my life as if it's linear. I need to find a way to change the way I live!

Anyway, sorry I haven't been visiting your blog lately... I'm a bad friend! :(

Heather Max said...

I find it fascinating how the Society of Now is congruent with the Society of Leisure. The "now" is a direct result of the want for ease in life, even occasionally a result of pure laziness. Some schmuck doesn't want to get off his bum and turn on the television and change the channels by hand, thus the invention of the remote. But one could also argue that if there hadn't been the invention of more than one channel in the first place (even the invention of the television, really) then the remote wouldn't be an issue.

New technology gives way to more technology made to make the first technology easier.

And I've digressed. Per usual.

All in all, patience seems to be the inevitable casualty in a society that prides itself in comfort and ease. Until our society can rediscover the patience within us, our frustrations will continue to mount as we are "forced to wait" for our morning coffee, during our drive through construction, for that movie we've always wanted to see but someone's rented out the last copy. Contentment and patience seem to be low on the list of priorities, so it seems that the Society of Now will stay... for now.

Charyl said...

"In the year 3000, everything will be instant. But the DMV will still take like 9 f*ckin' seconds. 9 SECONDS!?? COME ON! I GOTTA BE AT WORK IN 3 SECONDS!!" -Dane Cook


Rebecca said...

I love this. I needed it too. Thanks Serg!