Mr. Thomas Johnson, my 8th grade science teacher, was a real hoot. In addition to all the clever things he did to beat science knowledge into the skulls of his students, he had a wry sense of humor. He had a habit of lecturing from atop his classroom desk when he perceived that we scholars’ attention was flagging on account of the heat and humidity (our Florida middle school lacked A/C).
Perhaps Mr. Johnson’s greatest triumph was the simple sign he taped to the face of the clock over the blackboard at the front of the room. It said: TIME PASSES, WILL YOU? Recalling this makes me think about the fluid, artificial and oft-confusing concept called time. Of course, Thomas Johnson’s admonition had a specific goal, namely that of encouraging we eighth-graders to take our studies seriously. But time is also an elusive element, one whose grip is inescapable.
I shall not attempt to list all the ways in which time impacts our lives. The fact that there are four devices within reach on my desk that display the time, albeit with varying accuracy, is symptomatic of this reality. My question of the day: “Ought we permit time to parse all human activity down to the nanosecond level?”
I think its safe to say that horse is long out of the barn! Recognizing this how do we go forward? How do ordinary humans put time in its place? I’m not advocating throwing away all timepieces. Maybe all I can hope for is to establish “time-device free” periods in my life?
I don’t know how I might do this but it seems worth a try. What do you think?