My father sometimes says: “We have the clock, they have the time.” The “we” refers tu us, Western people, and our habit to hurry, to stress and to live on the clock; the “they” refers to people in developing countries, specifically middle Africa. According to a little joke my dad likes to tell, “all men in Africa sit in the shadow of fruit trees while the oranges drop the ground and rot in the sun”: they seem to have plenty of time.
Social scientists study globalization, and many have recognized the astonishing acceleration in transport, production and way of life that took place in the last century or so. Time has lost its meaning, its significance. Information travels across the globe within ms via glass fiber cables: the Internet. And still, though everything goes fast, it is not fast enough. We act grumpy when our bus is one minute late and when our train is delayed by five minutes. It is true: we spend hours a day waiting for public traffic, in queues, traffic jam etc.
But consider those countries where they cannot answer the question “At what time does the train leave?”, because civilians will answer you “It comes from the north, stops at our village, and goes south. Once a day.”
It would be fun to write a story in which time is the limiting factor. An average day in Ney York and at noon all clocks stop working. Chaos. No “I’m going home at six.” No “I’ll pick up the children from school at three.” No “We’ll meet at 19.30 in the cinema.” Or worse: no electricity. No Internet. No television, radio or airco. No waste. No emissions. No impact.
What if we did not measure time like we do know. No years with 12 months, 52 weeks, 7 days, 24 hours, 60 minutes and 60 seconds. Working days do no longer last for 8 hours. Distance is no longer expressed in minutes. Speed will lose its meaning (distance per unit of time), just like acceleration (distance per (unit of time)^2). Will then finally end the tick tack of time?