When Time Becomes The Battlefield: Capitalism Verses Utopia

I imagine I speak for much of the world, but I contextualize this to metropolitan areas of the United States (from which I am from). I argue that the idea that  “there is not enough time in the day” is not the main problem when we feel cut short, unable to do everything we wanted… rather, the problem essentially is that time is scheduled, it is segmented, it is turned into a bunch of small multiples as opposed to just a continuum of newness. These time segments are all given a beginning and an end. And even when there is no explicit end to certain micro-segments, then one gets anxious whilst in the moment “when is it going to end?” Our days have become so programed that we want and wait for an end even when there is not one, even when we do not really want one. This effect that I am problematizing is correlated to the phenomenon of creating tasks for oneself, creating agendas, mental and written lists scattered about, rarely being fully checked off (and thus an ensuing feeling of unproductivity).

Capitalism, our currently economic and cultural hegemonic force,  thrives in this type of cultural rhythm, for at least these 2 reasons:

1) We are kept so damn busy. Even when we have free time, many of us spend it worrying (or more productively, “planning”) about the time in the future we have scheduled up, or how to use the un-scheduled time. Better than any Virilio quote, is a wikipedia quote summarizing Virilio: “that which moves with speed quickly comes to dominate that which is slower.” We are coopted by the dumbed down but sped up speeds surrounding us. We are diced by the speed and force of mass production and massive amounts of transportation, the number pullers and paper pushers… a panic sets in that we will not have enough money for the future, that we do not have enough money now! They use formulas to make themselves more money, but we are not mathematicians, how can we keep up? We are turned into schemers, thinking of ways to turn non-monetized practices (posting to a blog) into profit making practices (charging subversays to let him post his bloody blog). Perhaps a landlord, or some sort of other middleman profession. We are swept up in the winds, worse and more powerful than that of a nascar race, this is the rat race.

2) It is hard to offer an alternative to water when you are a fish. Because of the above stated problem, there is a natural inability to get into deep thought. Thoughts of creating a totally different society, of spiritual liberation, of effective strategies to challenge capitalism, to even realize the need to challenge capitalism can not emerge out of such a rush. Money never lets our undivided attention fully roam to thoughts and social events that are fully bereft of money. The ever present anxiety about time never gives our fully focused attention endure for very long. Instead of climbing giant mountains of thought, we allow ourselves (are allowed) only time enough to climb up small hills, to then quickly descend back to ground level. The views from atop thousands of small hills can not compare to the view from the summit of Mount Aconcagua. It becomes Mount Neverest because there will never be enough time. Thought is entrenched in petty banality and everyday servility to capitalistic time and money imperatives.


With the upcoming economic contractions and recessions due to resource scarcity and poor resource management (see the flowery but apt JHK – http://kunstler.com/blog/ ), unique opportunities are presented to those who have glimpsed at utopia, a place where time is not kept (clocks become taboo), nobody is ever late (pissing others off) or early (pissing themselves off), natural cycles and ecosystems are restored to a greater harmony than before reached, and so on. There is always the risk that we will create ways to continue our agony, new techology to keep this dying beast on life-support, through shale oil, natural gas, a move to more renewable resources, coupled with starvation and mass killings (population reduction) over territory ownership, and natural disasters (plagues, intense heat, and earthquakes; more population reduction). But if we could just unplug this destructive industrial society and let ourselves move beyond this epoch and into a totally rethought one, we would be all the better. The reasons economically bad times can be useful to we utopians:

U)  people will focus more on what their basic needs are, cutting their values in capitalistically created wants and desires; T) a lot more time for thinking, with less worry about money; O) a great deal of change will be taking place, getting people used to change that is socially need to start a totally new society; P) Governments will have less control as they are strapped for energy, we will lose our sense of dependence on them; I) People will start to be more vigilant (self-governing), building new ways of living from the ground up, collectively; A) The non-human world will start to reclaim over-industrialized parts, reteaching us the animal survival ways which we have lost