Time Canon

Why is it so important to be exactly on time for everything?  Will anything bad really happen if you show up five minutes later than you said you would?  Why does it constantly feel like we are running out of time?

American culture, as well as many other cultures, places a huge emphasis on time and punctuality.  We are continually concerned with what time it is and making sure we show up to things as scheduled.  Time is a driving force in all of our actions and is always on our minds.

Time is a man-made concept that we give false meaning to.  It has no concrete or physical element, it is all abstract and theoretical.  No other animals keep track of when things happen or how long different tasks take to accomplish.  Time is an idea that we allow to control our whole lives.  All of our daily activities and ventures revolve around how much time we have.

Our obsession with time puts us at a great disadvantage for attaining happiness.  Many people are far too focused on making sure everything gets done on time that they forget to put in their full effort or enjoy what they are doing.

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7 thoughts on “Time Canon”

  1. I never really thought about time like this before, but when you put it this way it makes me reconsider being angry at people for being late to things. I think it’s not just something belonging to man, but to different cultures instead. I’ve heard a lot of hispanic people talk about how they run on “Spanish time” instead of regular time, meaning they are always late.

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  2. I agree with your statement about how tim puts us at a disadvantage for attaining happiness. Time is a huge factor that lead to stress. People are always stressing out because they have to do things on time. The stress lead to people’s happiness level decreasing. That be said, I also think time is very important. Our lives are regimented by time. Where would we be without a sense of time? Imagine if people didn’t work around a time schedule, people would be lazy and would take their time doing things that matter. I like your blog, it is well written and presents a strong point. I wish we could get away without having a sense of time.

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  3. Time has become something we center our lives around, but there is a reason that it has happened. Species in the wild run on time as well. They may not be able to identify it as “time,” but they know when to hunt, when to sleep, when to hide. Humans thrive off of routine – it’s why some people who have mental illnesses have strict routines, and need to follow them to feel safe and comfortable. Being late is seen as someone not caring about your own schedule. If someone was twenty minutes late to meeting me somewhere, I text them to let them know I’m waiting, and that I hope they’re safe. It’s okay to have a loose schedule with friends, but there are always situations where you have to be respectful of someone else, because even if you don’t believe that time is important, it could be very important to them and their wellbeing. Great post – puts things in perspective.

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  4. This is a very interesting way to think about time. Time is a man-made construct that is borderline arbitrary. However, as a species, we have always been affected by “time”. Today, we just happen to have numbers and symbols that go along with this concept. As human beings, we have always ended the day when the sun went down, began our day when the sun came up, and it hotter areas of the world, knew that when the sun was the highest in the sky (midday), it would be the hottest. It has evolved beyond this for us as a species, as we now associate more with time. For example, if one is not on time for an appointment or going to meet up with a friend, it can be almost seen as disrespectful.

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  5. While I don’t dispute that our system of time measurement is certainly man-made and arbitrary, I think it may be a bit misguided to attack the act of measuring time itself as the real problem with our culture here. The common system of seconds, minutes, hours, and times of day is a standardized way to quantify the passage of time, nothing more than what a ruler is to space. The sense of urgency, the reliance on the smoothness of carrying out one’s schedule, these seem to be the real problems, and they don’t exist because we’re able to track time to the minute. Rather, I would suggest that people are “far too focused on making sure everything gets done,” as you say, because society as it stands demands as much of the typical working professional. That is an area rife for exploration and further discussion, but blaming the concept of punctuality as a whole seems a bit like shooting the messenger.

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  6. I definitely admit to being stressed out about being on time to events or handing in assignments on time but that is totally due to the way that out country works. I think a big part of it comes from an economic stand point of making products as fast as you can, getting into stores and selling them. Whoever can come up with the new popular item makes millions. I think another part of it is a way that our society gets things done, and its the simplest way for us to measure productivity. Like you mentioned, this sometimes causes people to be less concerned with quality and more focused on getting in done, but I think it would take a lot of time (for lack of a better word) to try and change that whole school of thought. For now, I think that is the best incentive we have for people to accomplish tasks and gives them the best idea of how to work on projects.

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  7. Yes, time can be a stressful concept to maintain, however, without time how would we get anything done? The concept of time is a necessity that we cannot live without. Though other species do not have specific times like noon and 3:15, they do function on the concept of time as well. Some animals are nocturnal, while others live on the same schedule as we do, but they too have a schedule. Roosters wake up at the crack of down to awake their flock of chickens for the day in order for them to lay eggs and get their days started. Mother birds are constantly venturing off from the nest to fend for food for her babies every few hours, while we do the same thing and eat every few hours to maintain our bodily functions. Without time our culture would collapse. Everything we do revolves around time and that is by design. I could not even imagine being able to function efficiently without time and never want to.

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