There is something comforting about complicated. We can become absorbed analysing it, understanding it, and ordering it. We become animal laborans, which as the name implies, is a human being akin to a beast of burden, a drudge condemned to routine. Totally absorbed in what we are doing and oblivious to the outside world. The world of the Swiss Watch – expensive and owned by someone.
Complexity is a nuisance, but up to a certain point, apparently manageable. We can add new features, reset the time, and above all else, show it off even when its effectiveness is questionable. When we live in a world of Chronos time, a place of linear, measurable intervals we can design timepieces to suit, and use them to govern our life. Nine to five (or more likely six till eight if commuting)
At the moment though, it feels as though the rules are running out. When we spend endless hours debating the rules of parties, whilst Afghanistan starves, Ukraine boils and Interior Decorators occupy the Cabinet Office, it becomes difficult to tell on waking in the morning whether we are in the World of Warcraft or the World of Westminster; both have that surreal, virtual but absorbing rules-based quality that animal laborans craves. Follow the media’s bouncing ball. Don’t Look Up.
We seem to be entering Kairos time – a sense of time for requiring action, of opportunity and the unknown, when the world of the Swiss Watch is of little use to us at all. It is a time to sense, to feel, to impute and let homo faber – human as maker – take over. Take our nose away from the grindstone and look about us. To move away from measuring our lives through the abstraction of money to the tangibility of contribution.
Just what have we made today that will not just show we were here, but who we are? What will me make from start to finish that someone can hold, or write that will make someone years hence smile? What happens when we think less in terms of measurable goals and objectives, and more in terms of legacy? When do we stop treating the world with a marketing mindset of “built in obsolesence?”
I think it matters to all of us, and we would do well to consider just how important the methadone of money is to us compared to creating something tangible that says “I was here”
Chronos has had it’s day for a while – it will return – but right now its Kairos time. Time to make something tangible.