Home » Uncategorized » Only 183 (ish) days until Christmas

Only 183 (ish) days until Christmas

Well the longest day is over and we now descend once more into the depths of winter. I have been told off enough by the Lovely Wife about being the voice of doom recently that my inner five year old just wants to keep repeating it, in the same way a child might parrot a rude word.
Together with the reminder that Christmas is just around the corner.
Seriously though, where is the time going?
The rational part of my brain is reminding me that in terms of minutes, hours and days it has not changed and that the time between Jools Holland declaring that the New Year has arrived (must try and get tickets to one of those recordings one day – must be very odd getting a full studio to pretend it is New Year, considering it is recorded in mid December) and the other major event of the year (the Doctor Who Christmas episode, obviously) has stayed the same. But it seems as though everything is accelerating and I think in terms of the pace of life that is certainly the case. We are moving faster, even if the clocks continue to plod on as they always have.
I think part of the problem – if there is one – is that we have been facilitated in the speed of everything we do and many of us have a problem in not filling spare capacity.
Back in 2012, before the London Olympics, the section of the M25 that I frequent was expanded to improve the transport links around the games. When the road works were finished there was a blissful period of about six months when there was a great new wide road and the same amount of traffic and my commute had never been easier. Now, two years on, it has never been worse. The road is the same, the problem is that traffic has increased to fill the capacity and we are back to square one; or perhaps worse.
Information Technology has done the same for our work place, and in some cases, our social lives. I recall a speaker coming to give a talk on the future and on innovation, maybe ten years ago. One of the comments he made stuck in my head as being disturbingly valid. Computers, he said, were lauded as the saviour of the human race. There would be an explosion of art and creativity as suddenly we all had a lot more free time – those helpful, clever computers would do it all for us, faster than before, leaving us to do more interesting things.
Seems silly now, but I think I recall that kind of feeling in the early days. In reality, like the motorway, as the systems improve and create more and more capacity in an illusion of making it easier for us, that capacity just keeps filling up. Because we are not doing the same amount of work, but faster and more efficiently – because it is faster and more efficient we are doing more work.
So I think we are speeding through life a lot faster. To be clear – I am not saying this is a bad thing necessarily. The opportunity to achieve more than we ever could before in a lifetime is there like never before, but the pressures of the time and the constant pulls on our body and intellect also are considerable and increasing. I have confidence in the amazing biology that make up our forms to cope with this up to a point. But as technology moves on at a seemingly exponential rate, is this going to become a real selection pressure on the human species, the ability to run fast enough to keep up with it? Are we speeding up the treadmill as a species so fast we are going to fall off the back of it in an embarrassing heap?
I think I might just go and spend an hour tonight in the garden listening to the birds and watching the damselflies dance over the pond. With the phone switched off. And try very hard not to think of the billion other things (it feels) I should be doing.


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