The Phaserl


Reinventing Humanity by Reinventing Time

from Zen Gardner:

Humans think about the underlying systems we use for keeping time in much the same way that fish think about water. We simply don’t.
The numbers on the clock are a constant reminder of our daily schedule, where we should be, and what happens next. We eat, sleep, and breathe according to a framework of time established by ancient humans.
Without ever stopping to ask “why,” we have built our entire social structure for planet earth around some guy saying, “Hey, let’s do it this way.”

We now have the ability to shift from a system-centric approach to something with a far better human interface. The convergence of atomic clock technology, GPS, and an increasingly pervasive Internet will give us the tools we need to reinvent our core systems thinking about time.

In the following narrative, I will introduce you to a series of new concepts including Circadian Time, Continuous Daybreak, Micro-Banding Time Zones, and Virtual Moments.

This is far more than a Mensa exercise. As we explore these options we can begin to uncover some of the true imperatives for our human-to-time relationship.
A Clock-Centric World
Why do we hold meetings at 3:15 pm in the afternoon? The short answer is “because we can.”
Time, as we know it today, was invented by ancient humanity as a way of organizing the day. What began as tools for charting months, days, and years eventually turned into devices for mapping hours, minutes, and seconds.

 The first mechanical clock movements began showing up in 13th century Europe, predating other key inventions such as the piano and the printing press. Spring powered clocks showed up in the 15th century and over time evolved into pocket watches a couple hundred years later.

Patek Phillipe created the first wristwatch in 1868, but it wouldn’t be until the 1920s when they became popular, setting the stage for a far more time-centric lifestyle.

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2 comments to Reinventing Humanity by Reinventing Time

  • Ken Jackson


    I’ve been fascinated ever since I learned that our base-60 time system dates back to the Babylonians or maybe even the ancient Sumerians with their base-60 cuneiform. One wonders if the system wasn’t invented before the flood.

    And I was amused to learn that China has only one time zone across the whole huge country.

    But I can’t imagine that any change will be more of an improvement than a disruption.

  • Millicent

    The regimented, 9 to 5 lifestyle is a recent phenomenon associated with the industrialization of the West. Now people are trained from an early age that they must get up and be somewhere at an appointed time. I do agree that it probably shortens the average lifespan and causes undue stress upon people.

    Is there an answer to change this…? I suspect not until the present system of human exploitation is somehow changed.

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