Time is a funny thing. It flows like a river. It travels faster or slower without any real rhyme or reason. It is money, it is precious, it is wasted, it is all manner of things. It’s also something people like to wax on and wax off about to prove their point.
Like Rhyd, for example, with his latest post: The Time of Your Life
Fair warning, his post does not live up to the hype. It was not the time of my life at all.
In the 2011 sci-fi film In Time, Justin Timberlake plays a factory worker in a dystopian future where each person is born with a set allotment of time-currency. The poor work to buy more time from their bosses, while paying their time to others for rent, or food, or other necessities, constantly checking their time-balance (a digital clock embedded into their flesh) to ensure they have enough to survive the next day. In the constructed world of the movie, when you are out of time, you die.
Honestly, I almost walked away right here. Anything with Justine Timberlake is automatically going to be horrible. I grew up with NSYNC. I remember the dark times, and they didn’t get any better when he went solo. I lived through when he tried to bring sexy back (it hadn’t left, but considered it as soon as that song came out). So Rhyd’s first mistake here is watching anything with JT in it, much less one of the most droll scifi movies of 2011 doing a weaksauce take on of capitalism. I’d say it was also trying to take on dystopian movies, but anything with Timberlake in it is automatically dystopian by nature.
Elsewhere in this future world, others have plenty of time–the wealthy hoard hours and days from the masses of the poor, living long and opulent lives. Their own days seem near infinite; their worries minor compared to the workers in other ‘Time Zones,’ who scramble constantly in time-debt trying to have enough minutes to feed their children.
Those sound like Gods to me.
I’m not even joking here. Immortal beings living opulent lives far surpassing any amount of time or pleasure that mere mortals can? Pretty sure that stops counting as a human being and starts counting as an immortal. Hell, give them some not standard body parts and they might as well be the Fae, Demons, Gods, or any other supernatural creature.
But okay, I get it, time represents money and the “wealthy” have too much “time” as compared to the “poor” people. I know this is suppose to be something analogous to capitalism, but honestly who the hell came up with this system? How is it even inforced? I mean, it can’t have been inforced by the wealthy, because then the poor would just riot. Or a philanthropist would have figured out how to “hack” the life clocks so that everyone had infinite time. Any technology that could produce dictated lifespans shorter or longer than natural life is something that could easily be used to grant all of humanity immortality?
Wait…was this system made up by an environmentalist? Cause that’s the only way it makes sense. If you’re trying to curb over population, then you would create a system that makes it super hard for people to survive and use up all the resources. And of course, since all one has of value in their lives now is time they would figure out how to market it. And of course, “wealthy” individuals would arise because power and money naturally flow to the fewest hands possible.
I mean, you can tell this system wasn’t created by a capitalist. A capitalist would do everything they could to keep people alive so they could take part in the marketplace and increase the amount of wealth/time generated. Killing people off because they’re out of time makes no sense from a capitalist standpoint.
Maybe I need to go see this movie after all…
The film is a fantasy, of course. But despite its fictional nature, In Time is uncomfortably real—no work of film or literature comes quite so close to depicting the unspoken truth behind the Capitalist economy and its adage that “Time is Money.”
Actually, I’m pretty sure that “Atlas Shrugged” is a better piece of literature speaking the truth behind a capitalist economy.
But okay, fine, movie does a “great job” of depicting that idea that “time is money.” Or maybe, “time as money.” Even if you don’t automatically die when you run out of money.
Most of us work for a living, selling our time to employers in return for wages, for currency that we use to purchase the necessities of living like food and housing. We exchange pieces of sacred paper inscribed with glyphs, or digital ciphers abstractly representing those dollars and euros and pesos–all which become for us a currency bearing crystalized meaning of minutes, hours and days.
And this is a problem?
I mean, we all need things to live. These things have to be created (replicators are not a thing yet). Someone has to create these things. All things take time to create. then we have to exchange the things we create for other things we need which we didn’t have time or knowledge to create. The easiest way to do that is with magical paper glyphs.
Eventually, everyone working together makes all the things that people need, and some things that people just want, and through a team effort of creation and reward, we all mostly get the things we want and need most of the time.
But I’m sure this practice of rewarding each other with magic papers is some how going to be evil isn’t it. Like we should either never have to use our time to make things for trade with each other, or we should never be compensated for our time making things other people need.
It seems a pristine and precise system. My time compensates the time of others, and I spend spent hours on goods and services created with the spent hours of others in a great bazaar of equivalent exchange. The very abstraction, the symbolic extraction seems near beautiful—an hour of me is worth an hour of you, and we humans share and trade the time of our lives for the time of others in ever-equalizing currents.
What Rhyd is describing here is communism/Marxism. Everyone’s time is equally valuable to everyone else’s, regardless of what that person knows or is creating. But things do not work this way.
They do not work that way because somethings take more time to create. That means more effort went into them and thus they have more value based on their scarcity and/or skill.
For example, I can make a hammer out of a rock, a stick, and some cord, in about 30 mins give or take, depending on how close the materials are to each other. But that hammer is never going to be as good as say a hammer forged out of a finished piece of wood with a metal head on it, which would take several hours to make, if not days depending on materials. Plus, there’s the knowledge and skill needed to make a good metal hammer that isn’t required for my stone and wood hammer.
Knowledge takes time. Resources take time. Thus, the more time into a skill or object, the more valuable that object and the more it warrants to be compensated from the hours of lesser time-involved skills or creations.
But according to Rhyd’s logic, the stone hammer worth as much as the metal hammer and a blacksmith should be valued as much as some bum who tied a rock to a stick.
Hours and minutes and seconds swirl ’round like clock-hands, like a finely-honed machine so eternally-present it seems as if Nature itself birthed such exchange of time for money.
Nature birthed time.
Man birthed creation and exchange.
But we know this is untrue. An hour of me is not worth an hour of a tech worker. He can buy 5 of my hours with an hour of his, and I can buy 40 hours of a Haitian’s life with an hour of mine. According to this system, my time is worth more than many, worth much much less than many others. Embedded in our symbols of money are invisible accountings of time we cannot quite unravel and cannot quite see.
Yeah, an hour of your time is not worth the hour of time of a tech worker. Because he went to school and learned skill you didn’t, to build and maintain things you are ignorant of creating, and thus his time is worth more because what he creates has greater value.
That’s what’s true.
And sure, your time is more valuable than the time of say a Haitians (also, the way you phrased that Rhyd was…kinda racist). But yes, your time is worth more than some people because you “potentially” know more than they do (or you managed to land a cushy government job as a social worker while the rest of us didn’t), and it is less valuable than others because they know more about other things than you do which are more important to society.
This is perfectly fair. Because unlike you, I can see the accounting and unravel the mysteries. And maybe, just maybe, if you were interested in learning rather than destroying things you admit you do not understand, there’s the potential you could learn things you do not presently know. But apparently, despite how much people talk about how smart you are, you’re just another person who doesn’t understand something so they want it destroyed.
Like many other changes wrought into the world these last 400 years, we have trouble understanding how this happened, or that it even happened at all. The ubiquity of systems like Capitalism and Monotheism seem to obliterate the past, or re-write themselves into history so that they always seem to have been there, our Modern life merely a completed tapestry of threads woven from the dawn of humanity. And Time seems the same; we cannot easily remember a Time before Time.
I have no trouble understanding it. Probably because I have actually studied history, unlike some people, and thus have a better understanding of why we are here today the way we are here today.
But hey, ignorance gonna be ignorance and still claim it’s intelligence.
- People make things
- People trade things
- People used to trade their things directly, even in vast quantities which took a lot of effort to move.
- People realized that coins could have a value everyone agreed upon.
- People realized that coins were very easy to move.
- People traded goods for coins, and then coins for goods.
- Trade exploded, coins went everywhere, were always good for buying things, and you could get coins for things you made. You could even get a lot of coins if you sold those things very far away.
- People realized that you could get coins by buying things from one person, and trading them for coins to someone else far away.
And that’s how capitalism happened.
Before that there was barter and trade (steps 1-3) and that’s all there was for free people. There was also slavery, where in people were forced to make things, but someone else owned them and the things they made, which really stops at step 1.
But congratz, I just condensed thousands of years of economics into eight sentences. You know know what was before Capitalism and how capitalism came about.
But this particular sort of Time is new, and this accounting newer still, and it is not Pagan, and it is not good.
- Forms of Capitalism did occur during Pagan times. As did barter and trade, feudalism, and slavery. In fact, all the problems most anti-capitalists complain about capitalism not only existed outside of capitalism, but existed in greater quantities than generally found in capitalism. Oh, and those “problems” were very much a part of most, if not all, Pagan societies.
- Why is it not good for people to be compensated for their labor according to their skill and what they create with that labor?
We live in the Time of Capital; in Machine Time. We are refugees from a war on a Time we cannot remember; a war nearly erased from our collective memories. The Time of Nature is hidden from view, and we are crippled by our loss of Time.
Seems a bold statement, I’m sure. But follow me back a few hundred years to the War on Time.
Actually, it sounds like an idiotic statement, for sure.
Production of goods hasn’t changed in all of human history. People have to make things. It doesn’t matter what era, we’re talking about. I have suspect Rhyd thinks we live in Star Trek where things just are going to magically appear and they never have to be made and all are of equal importance and value.
Plus, and I the only one who gets this image in his head when Rhyd talks like this?
I mean seriously. “The Era Of Capitalism!” “The Age of Nature.” What the hel is this, Lord of the Rings? Because if it is, I hate to break this to you Rhyd and co, but you’re the forces of Mordor coming to tear down what Mankind has built.
Clockmakers and Preachers
In his study, Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism, British historian E.P. Thompson traces the birth of Western Time conceptions through the upheavals of the 16th through 19th centuries. These centuries also saw the Enclosures, the Witch-Hunts, the mass slaughters of European Imperialism, the Reformation, and the birth of new forms of state control over people — 400 years of pitched battle, in which leaders of the Church and powerful warlords (called ‘kings’) fought to repress, restrain, and exploit increasingly politically and religiously independent peoples.
That…is perhaps the most biased version of history I have ever read. Well, except for the one where someone described the Islamic Imperial occupation of Iberia and the suppression of it’s native peoples a “multi-cultural paradise.”
I would like to point out that these “births of new form of state control” actually refer to Democracies and Republics, by the way. And however you might feel about monarchies, Kings were not base warlords. They actually did a lot more stuff than wage wars, they took care of a lot of administrative stuff and helped preserve and even develop a lot of our modern ideas about what a government is supposed to do for it’s people, not just what a people are supposed to do for their government.
Not that Rhyd would ever read an unbiased history book to find this out, though.
It was, also, the birth of Capitalism.
Fuck it. Yeah, I can see that as far as Rhyd is concern, that entire three hundred year time period was the birth of nothing but evil. It should be purged from all of history, deleted from human memory, and never spoken of again.
Oh, and Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
The Birth of Capitalist Time is inextricable from the birth of the factories, and the story of the birth of factories cannot be told without mentioning the Clockmakers. In fact, many of the machines of the factories were made by clockmakers, who had experience with the timing of gears, and E.P. Thompson notes that many of the most powerful industrialists of the early period of Capitalism, as well as early 20th-century ones like Henry Ford had also been chronomancers.
CLOCKS ENSLAVE US! CLOCKS MADE CAPITALISM! CLOCKS ARE EVIL! DESTROY ALL THE CLOCKS, AND ONLY THEN CAN WE BE FREE OF THIS CAPITALIST PRISION WHICH BINDS US TO TIME AND FORCES US TO LIVE LIVES OF LABOR AND MONEY!
DESTROY ALL THE CLOCKS! DESTROY ALL THE CLOCKS! DESTROY ALL THE CLOCKS!
Jesus fucking christ, Rhyd, we all hate our alarm clocks sometimes, but you’re basically saying that clocks are evil, clockmakers are nazis, and that industrialists used time magic to enslave the world.
THEY HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF GEARS! THEY HAVE BROUGHT EVIL TO MANKIND!!!!!!!
What’s next, you’re going to point out something like “most clock-makers were Jews, Jews make lots of money, it’s all a Jewish conspiracy to enslave mankind because they’re space lizards from out of space who want to destroy our natural world where in all humans lived a glorious life filled with everything they ever wanted and never had to work until those evil space lizards enslaved us with their clocks and capitalism!!!!!” Because if is…you need to lay off /pol man.
The human body is not a machine; no matter the usefulness of such metaphors. Our heart-rates are irregular, subject to alterations in times of fear, passion, lust, happyness, sorrow, or even sudden stimuli. Neither do we rise from slumber or fall into sleep at regular intervals, as the natural ways we measure time are ever-shifting, subject to daily, seasonal, and biological variations. In summer, the sun rises hot and bright, in winter cold and distant. Clouds may obscure the light, or the work of the day, or an illness, or a new lover may all cause us to rise later.
Well by this logic my car is not a machine, but rather a living thing. I mean, it doesn’t have a regular rhythm, it runs at odd hours regardless of day or night, with no set scheduled. And it’s performance varies greatly by how hot or cold it is outside. And it has made me late for work several times.
Nature is no strict manager of our lives. Nor do we humans labor always at regular intervals and at equal strengths; fatigue, sorrow, distraction, illness may all slow work; impatience or eagerness may hasten it.
Because, you know. Patriachy. Oh wait, this is Rhyd. Because, you know, Capitalism. It’s always something else’s fault that you fail or fall behind.
But the logic of the factory and industrial Capitalism requires standardized working hours, regular and predictable output. A factory or business cannot operate if workers come in whenever they choose; a Capitalist cannot plan production or profits if he cannot be certain he will have enough workers present–those unpredictable Human components–at the wheels and levers of his pristine, regulated, inanimate machines.
HOW DARE SOCIETY ASK ME TO BE RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE! DAMN IT, I WANNA STAY IN BED AND FUCK MY HOT BOYFRIEND, BUT MY DAMN BOSS NEEDS ME TO COME IN AND HELP HOMELESS PEOPLE FIND HOMES SO THEY CAN LIVE THEIR LIVES! FUCK THEM, FUCK THEIR UNNATURAL SYSTEM THAT EXPECTS THINGS OF ME! NOW GIVE ME FREE THINGS BECAUSE I’M A HUMAN BEING!!!!!!!
Btw, that’s basically what he’s saying here in this post so far. Working is unnatural, how dare society ask me to work in a dependable and reliable way, so that people can count on me to be there and provide them with my skills in their hour of need, because damn it, I don’t wanna be a reasonable and helpful member of society, I want to be handed free stuff and equally valued with everyone else regardless of what I do or don’t do for other people.
How then could a Capitalist, intent on turning the labor of humans into the fuel for his wealth, cause unruly and undisciplined people to work his machines?
He turned to the clock.
Yep, if it wasn’t for our chronomancer, space lizard overlords, all of humanity would be living in a paradise of iPhones and Starbucks, being pleasured by beautiful men and women and never having to worry about a thing. That snake, talking to Adam and Eve? Totally a chornomancer space lizard set to enslave all mankind with clocks.
I’m sorry, I can’t do this with a straight face. We have passed all levels of “autism meme” and “dumbass meme” here. We’re into territory for which I don’t even have a meme level to describe the stupidity and paranoia.
At first a curiosity for the wealthy, a tool for the astrologer and the alchemist, the modern clock became more prevalent and more available as demand for its other uses increased. Like many other human inventions (one thinks of gunpowder and the combustion engine), it did not become ubiquitous until the powerful learned they could wield it against others. Time-pieces had existed for thousands of years, water-clocks and sundials and hour-glasses, but mechanical time was unneeded but for a few specialized professions and studies.
Uh…automobiles became ubiquitous when people realized they could live in the suburbs and away from urban crowding, filth, over priced conditions, and crime. That had nothing to do with being a tool of the powerful used against others.
And gunpowder got more ubiquitous when nations realized that it was cheaper and more effective than plate armor. Which…I suppose was a bit of the powerful using it against others…who were also powerful. But what am I doing, arguing with this. There’s really only one response here!
I mean, it’s not like your average human would want to know what time to meet up with their friends or family. Yeah, measurement of time is solely of use to the capitalist to exploit the worker. Without capitalism and industry, humanity would have no need to know what time it was!!!!!
Soon, bell-towers which had rung out to townsfolk the calls to prayer or alarums of fire became also clock towers. As wealthy merchants, nobles, and industrialists saw time-discipline crucial to their profits, many of them funded the placement of clocks in every town, village, and city, often upon the sacred houses called Churches.
Remember kids, if a capitalist does it, it’s automatically evil, no matter how helpful it might be to the everyman.
Because capitalists are nothing but evil space lizards who exploit humans for their precious bodily chronology, so they can pollute the sacred irregularities of the natural world with their harsh chronomantic magics which bind everything to set measurements of time. Because evil.
That placement’s important, and religion too had its role in the birth of Capitalist time. The prevalence of clock-time was not enough to compel the average person to measure out their days and ways by the regulated hour. Just as it was fortunate for the Capitalist that the Clock existed, it was doubly to his fortune that Protestant preachers roamed the countryside and the warrens of the towns, observing the chaotic and un-Christian lives of the commoner and seeking, through sermons and tracts, to bring the light of an ordered, regulated life to the poor.
Look, I’m not a fan of the Christians, but this level of maniacal evil projection is hilarious. Wild and vicious preachers roaming the warrens and fields, hunting for prey. You know, I though Powerwolf was just a band, I didn’t realize it was historically accurate metal. Shit, if I’d know Christianity was like that…well, I’d still probably be a Pagan, but Christianity would have been much more bad ass than it has been.
Those same centuries saw a flurry of tracts, primers, almanacs, and sermons against the venial sin of sloth and the most deadly moral failing of the poor, sluggardly staying in bed. Like the Puritan attempts to regulate the sexual activities of the poor (sleeping with boards between husband and wife, having sex only on certain days, avoiding touching), these guides were authoritarian and prescriptive, codifying the best times for waking, for eating, for working (incidentally, every day but the Sabbath) all to attain a purity of life in accordance to the will of God and the proper functioning of Christian society.
Yeah, it’s almost like there was some new means of communication that allowed anyone to publish anything they wanted and they suddenly jumped up and started writing about how everyone should live their lives the way the writers thought was best based on their moral, economic, and “religious” views.
Uh…that reminds me of someone….
John Wesley was one of the most famous of the religious preachers to issue such strictures, and more importantly developed an entire religious movement based upon perfecting the human soul in relation to God through methodical order and disciple—Methodism.
Rhyd Wildersmuth was one of the most famous of the Pagan Marxists to issue such strictures, and more importantly developed an entire religious movement based upon perfecting the human soul in relation to Gods through Marxist order and disciple—Radical Paganism.
Religious teachers were not the only ones to write such guidelines—statesman, humanists, and industrialists issued their own screeds against the tendency of the poor to laze-about and drink tea (a serious problem, judging by how many warnings were issued about the sinful Tea Table.) And consider “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” Benjamin Franklin’s decades-long publishing of facts mixed with maxims, including that most tyrannical truth mentioned earlier. It’s from Franklin (incidentally a clockmaker in his younger days) we first learned that Time is Money.
Oh, and Ben Franklin was a chronomancer space lizard who wanted to devour the natural chronons of humans to feed himself. That’s why he got so fat. Chronons are high in caloric value. Also, Franklin was a Mason, member of the illuminati, and helped create the most evil of capitalists nations, the USA. He’s evil guys, don’t you see, pure evil!!!!
Capitalists needed workers to show up on time, on regular schedules, in order to run the new mills and factories. Protestant ministers and preachers (many of them invested both in the factories and in the Capitalist ethic, which is distinctly Protestant, as Max Weber has shown) saw the introduction of time-discipline as a way of better managing the faithful and ridding society of non-Christian activities which they alternately described as Pagan or Devilish. Thus, both became allies in the War on Time against the masses, whose transition from unregulated life and work-as-you-will seemed never complete.
The War on Time.
Actually, it was called the Time War, and you stole that from Dr. Who. Along with the space lizard thing. Although, to be fare, Star Trek might have gotten the space lizards onto tv first. I’d have to check.
But we should consider what non-Capitalist time actually was and what the stakes actually were in this war.
Tell you what Rhyd, let’s get to that in part two….
And remember kids. Space lizards.