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November 17, 2003

The Clock and the Calendar

The clock and the calendar are the axis of modern civilization. Without these tools, society as we know it would likely collapse.

The clock and the calendar are arbitrary divisions of time based on the spinning of the earth (the day) and its orbit around the sun (the year). Further divisions into months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds are useful for planning, but can become a straightjacket for our lives.

Our bodies work in rhythms, including heartbeat, breathing, eating, digestion, walking, sleeping, urinating, and defecating. These organic rhythms are very flexible in their length and duration - they speed up and slow down according to our needs and our responses to the world.

The clock, in contrast, is a rigid machine. From an early age we are forced to mold our body rhythms to match this machine. There is a "proper time" for eating, sleeping, shitting, pissing, laughing, learning, working, playing, and even having sex. We have been coerced into this clock/cage for so long now that we often don't even realize it.

Living by the machine makes us physically and emotionally ill. We drink coffee to force ourselves to wake up and take pills to force ourselves to sleep - all to get to work on time. We eat at noon whether we are hungry or not. We hold our piss and go to the bathroom when it's "break time." It's okay to cry during the duration of a movie, but not at other times. If you take note of your actions on an hourly/daily basis, you may be surprised how much of what you do is dictated by "the machine."

Getting off the machine is not easy, but it is worth it. It is essential to our health to find ways to experience the natural rhythms of life. This can be done by taking breaks and holidays and doing things when we feel the urge - instead of when we are "supposed to." It is also possible to adjust our careers and lives to be less controlled by this temporal straightjacket. It may feel strange and difficult at first, but it is relaxing, rejuvenating, and inspiring to follow our own rhythms and our own pace.

It is worth it to investigate our subjugation to the clock and the calendar. And then I believe it is worth it to break free.

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