The Alarm Clock
Back when we were only hairy fledgling humanoids wandering around the African plain, hunting down whatever that moved and searching for edible plants, did we ever have that concept of time–that concept that we had to get up right about now so we could get things done? I assume life was a bit more idyllic then than the present, if only being concerned about your next meal could be considered that.
Today everything is so hectic, so required, that a rat race doesn’t even begin to describe how life is. Perhaps a more accurate analogy would be that of automatons in a computing industry. We work like machines, getting things done at a specific time. We must continually upgrade as things get exponentially faster or we’ll get dumped into the next landfill with the human equivalent of the Commodore 64.
We are only made of flesh and bone, though, and biological processes no matter how wondrous and strange have limitations due to their own complexity. We are not the simple little photons that go along happily at the speed of light, but we try to be that and more, ignoring all the way the warranty that comes with our bodies. Instead of trying to understand how people work so they could be outfitted with a compatible lifestyle, what we want overpowers reason and lifestyles are thrust upon us whether they fit us or not.
One prominent example is the clock. No one can argue that the clock didn’t compartmentalize our lives. One can’t argue either that the clock hasn’t rearranged our days so that morning, noon, and night are no longer relevant. Who cares when the sun rises or sets when working shifts can begin at 2AM as well as 2PM. In theory, the clock may make us more efficient, but how many times do you remember sleeping in, trying to stay awake, falling asleep in the middle of a task? Probably too many times than you care to remember.
I don’t propose that we go back to our willy-nilly ways of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. It would undoubtedly wreak havoc on what we’ve built up now. What I do suggest is that we don’t take such a breaking-all-limits approach to our lives. Challenge is good and even necessary to better ourselves, but we can’t rely solely on that “clock” by setting that alarm earlier and earlier every day until we no longer get any sleep.