Episode Seven: Technology and Time

Technology and Time

1. Visual - Medieval Calendars

People in medieval times conceived of time differently than us, and therefore experienced time differently. In the modern era, time is fairly homogenized, and is marked mainly by school and work year. In medieval times it was ruled primarily by the seasons and the church year (which were intimately connected). Medievals experienced time as cyclical, communal, and meaningful. You can see this demonstrated in their calendars. 

Circular

Astronomical clock:Prague, Czech Republic — including the monthly labours.

Astronomical clock:Prague, Czech Republic — including the monthly labours.

As you can see from this giant clock, each year was conceived of as a circle. Life was made up of repeating patterns, seasons, and festivals. The repetition of each season reminded one of an eventual break with time: eternity. Just as Spring's power came bursting forth and anew every year, the medievals lived in anticipation of a someday eternal summer.

communal

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Red Letter Days

This phrase comes from the most important Saints Days in the medieval monthly calendars which were noted by red ink.

Each month held specific expectations for all the people, meaning that you never had the illusion of control over time. You were subject to time, and not the other way around.

meaningful

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Labours of the Month

Each month of the medieval calendar had a "labour" appropriate to it. Examples: Feasting (Jan), Sitting by the Fire (Feb), Digging Trees (March), etc. 

For a medieval person, all moments were bursting with meaning. Each week had a Saint, a celebration, a task, a feast. 

What are the markers of your time? How do you imagine time?

For more reading, check out these links...

 

 

2. Literary: Brave New World

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

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Brave New World 

Brave New World.jpg

A Dystopian Future... or is it?

In the Brave New World, everything is convenient and nothing needs to be waited for. In the World State, all the demands and effects of time have been all but eliminated. Children are incubated in a lab, so no woman waits the patient months of pregnancy. Everyone is sterile, so there are no (practical) ramifications for rampant promiscuity. And when people grow old, they are killed. However, in conquering time, the people of the brave new world have lost all that is essentially human: love, birth, death, longing.

3. Musical: We Used to Wait

Arcade Fire

lyrics:

I used to write

I used to write letters

I used to sign my name

I used to sleep at night

Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain

But by the time we met

By the time we met the times had already changed

 

So I never wrote a letter

I never took my true heart,

I never wrote it down

So when the lights cut out

I was lost standing in the wilderness downtown

 

Now our lives are changing fast.

Now our lives are changing fast.

Hope that something pure can last.

Hope that something pure can last.

 

Now it seems strange

How we used to wait for letters to arrive

But what's stranger still

Is how something so small can keep you alive

We used to wait.

We used to waste hours just walking around

We used to wait.

All those wasted lives in the wilderness downtown

 

We used to wait. We used to wait. We used to wait.

Sometimes it never came

We used to wait

Sometimes it never came

We used to wait

I'm still moving through the pain

 

I'm gonna write

A letter to my true love

I'm gonna sign my name

Like a patient on a table I wanna walk again

Gonna move to the pain

 

Now our lives are changing fast

Now our lives are changing fast

Hope that something pure can last

Hope that something pure can last

We used to wait We used to wait We used to wait

Sometimes they never came

We used to wait

Sometimes they never came

We used to wait

I'm still moving through the pain

 

We used to wait We used to wait We used to wait We used to wait for it We used to wait for it

Now we're screaming "sing the again"

We used to wait for it

We used to wait for it

Now we're screaming "sing the again"

I used to wait for it

I used to wait for it

Hear my voice screaming "sing the again"

Wait for it Wait for it Wait for it

 

So what do you think?

how does technology shape your experience of time?  How can you reclaim the goodness of waiting? 

 

 

 

Joy Clarkson5 Comments