Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism redefines Time

Since our civilization decided that transport should be faster (railroad infrastructure) and communication much faster (telegraph) in order to increase economic growth, our civilization qualitatively shifted to the shorter-term timeline for plans and programs that is going strong.  Long-term scholars and planners had to accommodate the new philosophy of progress lest they find it difficult to be hired by public and private institutions.  

The future is no longer the goal of any decision; future generations will have to deal with what they inherited and resolve what the past generations lacked in courage and determination to improving the conditions for the coming generations.

Modern man asked the Genie Earth: “I want faster transportation and communication means.  I want to live twice as long; I want to generate the same amount of food and products working twice less per day and per week.”  The Genie obliged all these wishes in less than 20 years with one condition: “Man, I demand that you spare half an hour a day recalling what I gave you and revisiting your wishes.  Think of the next generation’s happiness and sustainable conditions on earth”  (Never mind if the third of earth population, in the poorest States and the most populous States, witnessed a reduction in life expectancy to half what it was a century ago.)

Mankind had no time to ponder and satisfy his part of the deal; mankind neglected all his oaths and responsibilities toward family members, close community, and the needy people.  The modern man said:  “My individual needs and greeds come first and the hell with people around me.  Society is meant to support me and not expect anything in return from my time and energy.  The needs of  society is the responsibility of the State:  Government, public institutions, and public servants are paid to substitute for my previous past responsibilities.”

The French author, Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber, in his  “Too Fast: Why have we become prisoners of short-term reality?” included cartoons at the beginning of each chapter representing the short-term mentality  Here are a few cartoons:

A penguin is saying: “I propose you to edit my manuscript:  It is about the consequences of our obsession for speed.”  Another penguin replies: “Can your manuscript be read quickly?”

“Last summer we visited Mauritania, Senegal, Mali and most of western Africa.  The summer before we toured China, Japan, Vietnam and most of Far East Asia.  I will save you the countless countries we have overflown.”

“Is everything going fine and smoothly?”  The manager penguin replied: “Thanks for your concern:  You have just made us lose half a million.”

“In my youth, enterprises were milking the cows.  That was youth misjudgment:  When I see a cow, I feel such an urge for steaks.”

“No phone calls in the last ten minutes; no e-mails; no SMS.  Am I already dead?”

“Do you think our friendship has a tomorrow?”  The penguin friend replying: “Come on!  You may stay for breakfast, can’t you?”

“What about ecology? How long are you going to break my ears with ecology?”  The penguin replied sheepishly: “Well, I was thinking that may be it is not too late for our grand children to enjoying a sustainable and healthy earth.”  The reply is swift: “What?!  Your grand children are already in voting age?”

For the concluding chapter we have this cartoon.  “I am late for an urgent matter:  I am taking my time for reading an interesting book.”

Speed is no longer related to transportation, communication, and transfer of financial transactions and financial tools.  The most devastating kind of speed is the frequent turnover of new technologies with the accompanying obsolete states of products and services and the habit we got accustomed to.

Last century, within a lifetime, a person was to handle and learn less than 9 new technologies for daily usage and less than three technologies in order to retaining his job.  In the last decades, re-learning new technologies to keeping a job is to be a continuous obsession every two years, lest we are pointed out as dinosaurs.

This century unfolded the capacity of a single operator manipulating monster machines, equipments, and facilities to discard the collective cooperation of the masses of laborers who build gigantic monuments in the antiquity.

Prior to this century, people suffered and endured a lot, but they died young.  Now, we can enjoy all kinds of amenities with less physical pain and suffering, quit to paying it a hundred fold in pain and suffering as we become incapacitated after we retire.

We lack patience and refuse to wait another minute:  The previous models of our tools and computers, still highly functional and valid, are lacking the speed edge and have to be replaced by new performing tools.  Speed is a valueless criteria and we are ready to give half our life and earning for a newer version.  Our brain is a living matter and changes structures when short-time constraints become standard habit:  The earlier the kid accommodates this development the harder for him to accepting the longer-term strategies; the neurons and nerves react negatively when we will to read a longer book or taking leisurely time for in-depth reflection on important future consequences.

We have no time to appraising the consequences of every speed breaking standard.  First, we put the new technology on the market and then we evaluate its consequences on safety and health after complaints and lawsuits accumulate.

The main definition for how short should the term be is: “If I need to reserve time for meditation then, how long this duration can be reduced in order to retaining the same level of benefice?  If I need to exercise every day then, how far can I shorten the set of exercises in order to maintaining the same level of satisfaction?  If I need to set aside time for enjoyable reading then, how short this allocated time can be fruitful?  If I want leisure time or quality time with the family then, how short this period could be in order to keeping quality intact?”

It is in that perspective that continuing education has a satisfying meaning.  If we must fit within the framework of “short-term mania”, at least let us be proficient in making the best of what is short, outside the mentality of quick financial generation of wealth. 

Learning techniques to shorten useful periods for our healthy mental and physical equilibrium are good opportunities for keeping our brain young and healthy.  Learning new techniques every year for just the application of new programs in order to retaining a job is counter productive for a sustainable earth planet and mankind.

Note: For more details refer to my previous article:

714.  Part One: Complete equal rights in Islam for man and woman; (Mar. 18, 2010)


715.  Sex markets and trades; (Mar. 19, 2010)


716.  Is death necessary? (Mar. 19, 2010)


717.  Beyond Versailles and Vienna; (Mar. 20, 2010)


718.  Capitalism redefines Time; (Mar. 21, 2010)


719.  Sources of misogyny in Islam: not the Prophet at all; (Mar 22, 2010)


720.  Democracy in Islam: What kinds? (Mar. 23, 2010)


721.  Part Two: “The Great Disillusion”; (Mar. 24, 2010)

Capitalism redefines Time; (Mar. 21, 2010)

            The dividing line between present and future is invisible for the capitalist spirit: the past is passive and inefficacious to revert to and the future is mobile and evolving.  I saw an old American movie a couple days ago: a customer is checking a Cadillac and asks the salesman: “Is it this year model?” and the dealer to reply: “This is next year model you are sitting in”

            Capitalism captured the western cultural guiding rod in the last century: Time was no longer the enemy to mankind and time should be considered as the main dependent variable when studying nature, life, evolution, and development while space, temperature, climate, and the multitude of other independent factors were meant to explaining time. Time (and what correspond to time such as speed, rate, and turnover) is a directive God, the one notion that essentially defines all the other phenomena in the universe. Time and timeline are the measuring guideline to all human activities: work, distances, history, space, production, marketing, investment, liquidity, and budget. All other societies had to keep up with capitalism rhythm of what became the standard terminology and behavioral routines.

            Power is no longer essentially related to borders, raw materials, dimensions of a nation, or even larger armies.  Power is rate of return, turnover rate, and quickness in planning and starting production; power is quickness in distribution and consumption, quickness in gathering information and timely intelligence, quickness in analyzing and interpreting data, and quickness in relaying and disseminating information and intelligence.  Power is how Time is tamed and used as the most potent ally and tool.  Power is how to discover the best method to control and manage Time.

            Oil, as a raw material, is no longer an intrinsic power; the value of oil is how quickly deposits are located, excavated, drilled, produced, refined, distributed, and consumed. Geopolitics, as a political power status, has changed its laws into chrono-politics for the flow of signals, dissemination of intelligence, and turnover of fundamental research into applied sciences.

            Multinationals that represent the spirit of capitalism have tamed the most potent power tool: Time.  Multinationals have set the rules of the game on how to compute, evaluate, account, and transform liquidity into ready investment; on how to change the concept of interest to periods of computing it; on how profit is defined as turnover rate of products and services.  Multinationals have set the rules of how to do business, how to think business, and how to dominate with other people’s money and raw materials.

            You cannot fight and win an enemy who adopted and tamed Time as its ultimate potent God while your arsenal is still limited to inert space and your notion of time is reversed toward the dead past, a past that is incorrectly read and synthesized.

            It does not mean that capitalism cannot be defeated the way it is practiced as rules of the game but in the first phase you need to get trained to capitalism efficacious arsenal and then insert other dimensions to reform and transform the current ideology of capitalism. The new civilization capable to counter the enemy has to work toward a more viable quality of life such as earth sustainable ethics, eco-ethics, quality time to knowing yourself, quality time to listen intently to your communicator, quality time to focus on reading books relevant to man emotional development, and respect of the ancestors. 

            Most important to countering the enemy is learning to reserve peaceful time to reading the past without the need to superimpose your current obsessions and difficulties in order to interpret the past correctly and not tend to finding mythical solutions in the past that do not correspond to current realities:  the fainting fits in reviewing the past is one of the magical behaviors because we mostly fail to read correctly our traditions and history. In order to endeavor reading the past we first must feel comfortable and well rooted in our present. It is important to read the past as a hobby in hours of distractions; otherwise, we end up projecting our current problems on ancient texts  which distort proper focus on the initial content and context of the texts.  I am reminded of a saying by Teddy Goldsmith (1928-2009): “We can destroy Earth without violating a single law: it is illegal to protect nature!”

Note: I extracted this notion from the French book of Fatema Mernissi “The political Harem”.  Mernissi relied on the Moroccan author Mohammad Jaberi’s “We and our heritage” who criticized Moslem societies and imputed to the Western civilization the potent usage of time as its directive for modernization.  I thought to redirect the topic to a more specific ideological/economics concept that is more adequate to describing the trend in the last century since Western nations were very much attached to nationalism and still are in many instances.




February 2023

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