This content was published first in The Sunday Letters Journal: https://sundayletters.larrygmaguire.com/p/never-enough-time by Larry G. Maguire on Sun, 04 Dec 2022 22:22:36 GMT
It seems to me that it's not about having enough time for all the things we want to do, or even the time to merely think and plan. But rather that we do too much of both with the time we have. Our time here as you and me, the people we believe ourselves to be, is finite. We don't know when we'll go; in the meantime, we're possessed by thoughts of who we are, who we should be, what achievement is, and how to get it. If that's not our motivation, it is to relieve personal suffering in whatever form it seems to afflict us. Or maybe it's both. Perhaps they're interchangeable. Regardless, we think the answer is action, staying busy, doing, when really all this busyness keeps us from finding the answers we're looking for.
As far as I see it, there are opposing forces at work. The first is loud, bright and often shiny and is operational at the level of people. It compels us to get “an education”, find a job, work at least forty hours a week and make a positive contribution to society. In this, we prove our worth as a bonafide member of the group and demonstrate our entitlement to participate in the game. But it's not that simple, because this force “out there beyond us” makes us forget who we are. We subjugate ourselves to others, their ideas, values and beliefs, like the order pickers at Amazon. They do so to such an extent that they forget their own humanity. Pissing in bottles for want of a toilet break and algorithms deciding their working fate is the measure of that.
The second is not easy to talk about. In fact, it's better to discuss what it is not. It is the unidentifiable dialectical opposite of the first. If you think you can identify it then that's not it. It is quiet, drowned out by the noise of the first. But it's persistent nonetheless. That's what I'm after and what I crave – big gaps in things to do, to stare out windows, to take my time, and let random things come to mind.
With our focus on the external and our pursuit of material things, life has become increasingly abstract. Previous generations noticed and wrote about it, and I'm sure they would hardly believe the extent to which the abstraction has evolved. We've gone beyond Huxley's 1984. Technology is the vehicle, and despite its apparent advantages, we have become further lost in it, or at best, just as lost as we have ever been.
Less to do and more time to do it, I think that's the answer.
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