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Copyrighting Time

October 28, 2011

“Who owns noon in this town?”

“We do!!”

Oh man. So awesome. (Via the crazy good Radiolab).

Back in the olden days, there was no standardized time (as we know it now). Each town, business, or group had their own, local time. But railways/trains changed all that, and eventually everyone started going by the Railroad company time (because it became pretty important to know when the next train would arrive). Eventually British colonialism carried this standardized time all over the world. There was resistance to this, and groups fought back by simply refusing to go by the “standard” clocks. There would be towns that were 20 minutes late or early. The politics of time, in other words.

What would it mean if we all controlled our own time? How old would I be in such a world? Would I be pleased or sorry that there are indicators besides calenders to mark my age?

What if time was measured by the rhythm of our lives; our bodies and its needs were prioritized over productivity and industrialization? Would we still close our eyes when the stars are out? Or would we choose to rest our bodies and blank out our minds during the sun’s garish essence? How would it change our dreams? Would time seem to be endless if it wasn’t contained in minutes and hours? Would it make us more selfish? Or would be learn to understand each other’s rhythms in a more intimate way? Unaided by minute measures, would we be forced to pay more attention or less?

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