#142 – Time

For an event to be “current” in our series of Current Event essays it must have taken place recently or be related to recent events. But wait! That would mean we must understand the implications of time itself. Oh! Oh! Now we are becoming philosophical, metaphysical or just plain boring? Maybe so but we think time, like truth is important so please indulge us for a moment or two. (Yes! A “moment” has to do with time.)

In today’s world we seem to be moving fast, thanks in part to our electronic sophistication and “time flies” faster than ever. This is assumed to be a good thing thanks to our basic assumption that technological progress is beneficial. If you have been paying attention in reading our essays, you know that we believe technology is neutral, neither good nor bad. It is up to us to use it in ways that enhance the quality of our lives or cause pain and suffering. Do we know how to do that? Probably not, but you can decide the answer to that question yourself.

Here are some principles revered over time by the wise and insightful among us: simplicity, silence and solitude. Now for those of you who want to take the time, let’s go back in time to 1913 to the Virginia town of Williamsburg as a point of comparison and see how things used to be.

This editorial appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch: “Once we wrote of Lotus-lidded Williamsburg, where the drowsy folk forgot Election Day. To forget seemed to us a good way of maintaining the peaceful serenity of life unfettered and unvexed by the drama and trampling of the dynasties. Now the Lotusburgers have come upon a way of solving all their troubles. They have seized upon eternity and bound it captive. In short, they have decided to let the clocks stop. The City Council refuses to waste money having the clock in Bruton Parish tower wound.

“Time has always worried Williamsburg. The people didn’t know what to do with it. There was always so much of it; it was so persistent. They tried abolishing the calendar, but time kept up. Now they will kill time by stopping the clock.

“There is a malicious rumor that the unwound clock has stirred many to fever heat. This is a plain lie. The native Williamsburger never stirs. He never lets his anger be aroused for fear it should arouse the rest of him. He regards fever heat as a breach of decorum.

“No one really believes that this town of twilight and dreams cares for the clock. It has too much sense.” (1)

If you have the time you may want to take time to explore the implications of time for the citizens of Williamsburg and the rest of the Global Village today. Click on the link below.

Insight # 142:   No clock strikes for the happy one.   — German proverb

Link:

Reference:

  1. Phillips, Cabell. “The Town That Stopped the Clock.” American Heritage. February 1960, page 25.

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