Because evil space lizards are coming to pollute the precious chronological fluids of our bodies by using unnatural clocks, we continue looking at Rhyd’s The Time of Your Life.
Machine Time, Machine Discipline
Clocks had been around much longer than factories, mills and work houses. Personal clocks were much rarer, often out of economic reach of the poor until watchmaking became a more common skill and the lower classes had enough money to purchase them (often, as E.P. Thompson notes, as an investment for wealth, as a watch could be hawked or put up as collateral against credit).
Sure, the fact that most watches were made out of metals, often gold, silver, and copper, and were some of the most advance pieced of technology for the day, had nothing to do with the fact that they were valuable pawn pieces like everything else made out of metal. It was because they told time….evil, evil time…Delicious time…but eeeevvvviiilllllll!!!!!
The keeping of time, then, was the province of the upper classes, the urban dwellers, lords, aristocrat who sought power over the poor. During this period, there were actually two conceptions of times: the rural/common/peasant recognition of tasks and Nature (the time of the sun and the times of human activity like meals) and the time of the upper classes, measured first in imprecise hours until the perfection of the pendulum allowed time to be divided into discrete minutes and eventually seconds.
(I kid you not after I read this, I spent twenty minute laughing so hard I nearly puked. Twice. I’m still having trouble breathing.)
Okay, so because “rich” people have clocks, they are the keepers of time and they use this time as a weapon against humanity. And they’re oppressing the poor with their “time wealth” because the poor people do not have “time” the way the rich do.
See, this is the problem with seeing everything through a Marxist lens. Time is a finite, measurable substance. But because the “wealthy” could measure it with more accuracy, they had time “privilege” and thus abused that “privilege” over the lower classes by…telling them the precise time. Because the lower classes didn’t have “precise time.” But later, when they did achieve their own “means of chronology” they were only further oppressed. By the wealthy. Because…time…
Look, Rhyd, we get it. You hate your job, you hate your alarm clock, and you want society to hand you everything without demanding any reliability from you. Do we really have to keep going? You could have said that in like…three sentences. Everyone would agree, no one would blame you, and we could all get on with our lives and stop wasting our time on this massive piece of Marxist reasoning for why you’re an entitled lazy asshole.
What’s the difference? In Machine Time, the human day is broken into machine-regulated denotations trumping natural patterns. Waking happens not according to the rising of the sun but of the stroke of a bell or the sounding of an alarm; 6.30 am and one must leave the bed, shower, eat, prepare the children for school all to meet another impending time-marker, 9am, when you are expected at work. Leave at 8:30 and you arrive ‘on-time,’ leave a little later and you are late and perhaps disciplined, punished, or at least scolded not only by your manager.
Okay…guess we have to keep going.
Yes, machine time is so unnatural. That’s why we can easily quantify it according to the cycles of the earth. From which it was derived. Because we measured it.
But hey, we get it. You wanna get up when you feel like, go to work when you feel like, never get scolded because other people had to pick of the slack of what you were supposed to do, which makes their day harder. Because it’s all about you Rhyd. It’s all about your personal comfort and how much you get to enjoy your life.
So…congrats on being a narcissist. Who believes that evil chronomancers are out to control the world. With clocks.
Lunch, not at ‘noon’ when the sun is directly overhead but at 12:00. Return half-an-hour later and the work-day commences. Work ends not when work is done, but at another set time, 5:00, as you, along with millions of others leaving work fill streets with cars rushing home on highways built wide to accommodate the predicted flood.
Wow…and I’m going to have to sit through him whining about having a job, having to do that job, having to go back and forth from that job.
Sorry folks. Here’s a cute cat.
And those workers, home finally, regulate their day further by the logic of the machine by returning to their beds at a ‘decent’ time, not necessarily when they are tired or when their thirst for life’s been sated.
Bellona’s tits, man we get it. You hate your life. Stop fucking whining about it. Go live in the woods, move to Alaska, homestead, anything, but get off the fucking web and go build a life you can be happy with rather than try and make everyone else god damn miserable with your entitled whining!!!!
Fuck it, I was gonna have a post about this, but here we go. Rhyd is a social worker in Seattle. I looked up what they make. “The median annual Social Worker (MSW) salary in Seattle, WA is $63,606, as of April 26, 2016, with a range usually between $57,277–$70,455 not including bonus and benefit information and other factors that impact base pay.”
The Gods should curse me with such a well paying job. But nooooo, a man who helps homeless people find places to live and makes a good income (especially for a single guy who supposedly lives in a $400 dollar a month attic) is going to make us sit here and listen to his entitled whining about how horrible his job is because its dictated by chronomancer wizards from ancient times!!!!
The way work is compensated in Machine-Time is disciplined, too—hourly wages, expected time commitments (40/hour weeks—and that only because workers fought and died for the 8-hour day), salaries all managed and configured to standardize payments not of work performed but time given. Piece-work and task work eventually fell out of favor because it was more difficult to manage–workers completed their tasks only as money was needed and would not regularly show up otherwise, and thus the adoption of a new form of compensation–waged Time.
On the other hand, Natural Time is not so easy to describe, because it’s as varied as the people who experience it and the communities and cultures they are a part of, as well as the work performed. There is the time of agriculture, starting and stopping work according to the light of day, with hard and long work performed socially for several months broken up by long periods of little work. The time of the fishing community, measured not by the clock but by the tide and the moon’s light. The time of the migrating cultures, measured by many First Nations peoples according to the moon as well (The Flowering Moon, the Wolf Moon, etc.,).
I find your whitesplaining of native cultures to be racist, patriarchal, and imperialistic. Why not let a person of color explain to us what “natural time” is since it is so far out of our Euro-centric, capitalist, imperialist mindset.
Even in Europe before Capitalism, time was measured by the feast days and festivals, many surviving still in Catholic countries like France where even non-Catholic workers are notorious for claiming those holidays and ‘faire le pont’ (making the bridge—taking an extra day between a holiday on a Thursday or Tuesday to make a four-day weekend).
I find your Marxsplaining of pre-Christian European cultures to be classist, bourgeoisie, and exploitative of the native people. Why not let a person of Heathenism speak to their native cultures since it is so far out of your Maxist, anti-capitalist, illiberal mindset.
Natural time exists everywhere Capitalism has not supplanted it, but on those frontiers the war rages on. Cultures which do not live by machine-time are often called ‘primitive’ or ‘backward.’ One BBC interview program a few years ago provides a great example: international businessmen and local entrepreneurs lamented the lazyness and tardyness of Africans and Arabs. Those interviewed complained that Africans just didn’t get time, even when they owned watches. Or that Arabs couldn’t quite ‘comprehend’ the urgency required to live in a Modern and Advanced world.
And yet they always show up on time for Prayers…
Worst of all, one local North African interviewee suggested that the reason Africa was a continent full of so much poverty was due precisely to the lazyness of his fellow continentals. That is, they were poor because they were never punctual. They even called it “African Standard Time.” [Remember this the next time you hear someone complain about ‘Pagan Standard Time’]
Black man calls other black people “lazy.” Must be a racist.
Natural Time is culturally-specific, rather than universal, constructed upon events and activities, work and festival. It relies both upon the rotation of the earth and apparent movement of the moon, sun, and stars, as well as the specific needs of a community. Time to migrate, or to put the livestock out to pasture or to bring in the harvest, all recurring activities which generate their own patterns of time, rather than the tyranny of a machine. And it’s the time of Animist cultures, which is why Westerners, after finally submitting for centuries on their knees at the alarm-clock and time-sheet have such trouble understanding ‘mythic time.’
Again with the evil clocks man? God damn it.
“My clock tells me what time it is, it’s oppressing me. Every time I see that clock’s face I get triggered. It’s like I have ptsd, man! Fucking micro agressions of those seconds ticking away. Just ticking, ticking, passing one after the other, and I can’t get them back. STOP OPPRESSING ME!!!!!”
Capitalism’s obsession with the clock and the machine did much more than affect the way workers were corralled into factories in the morning or return to their homes, though—it affected the way the entire world was seen.
Assuming I don’t laugh or shoot myself to death from the stupidity.