Tag: time (page 1 of 4)

The week as an human construct

This article in Aeon was published at around the same time as I published a post on my personal blog about time as a human construct. In that post, I talked about the French Republican calendar and the link between it and the weather.

What’s interesting in this article is that the author, David Henkin, a history professor, talks about the success of the week as being because it’s not attached to religious, cultural, or climatological norms.

Weeks serve as powerful mnemonic anchors because they are fundamentally artificial. Unlike days, months and years, all of which track, approximate, mimic or at least allude to some natural process (with hours, minutes and seconds representing neat fractions of those larger units), the week finds its foundation entirely in history. To say ‘today is Tuesday’ is to make a claim about the past rather than about the stars or the tides or the weather. We are asserting that a certain number of days, reckoned by uninterrupted counts of seven, separate today from some earlier moment.


The modern week has superimposed upon the ancient week a rhythm that is fundamentally social, incorporating an awareness of the demands and constraints of other people. Yet the modern week is also somewhat individualised, inasmuch as its rhythms are shaped by all sorts of private decisions we make, especially as consumers. Whereas Sabbath counts and astrological dominions subject everyone to the same schedule, the modern week makes us aware of our relationship to our networks and to the habits of others, while simultaneously highlighting the variety of our networks and the contingency of those habits.

Source: How we came to depend on the week despite its artificiality | Aeon

Paying for everything twice

As someone who’s recently started using a budgeting app, and who has a lot of music-making equipment lying around unused, I concur.

One financial lesson they should teach in school is that most of the things we buy have to be paid for twice.

There’s the first price, usually paid in dollars, just to gain possession of the desired thing, whatever it is: a book, a budgeting app, a unicycle, a bundle of kale.

But then, in order to make use of the thing, you must also pay a second price. This is the effort and initiative required to gain its benefits, and it can be much higher than the first price.

A new novel, for example, might require twenty dollars for its first price—and ten hours of dedicated reading time for its second. Only once the second price is being paid do you see any return on the first one. Paying only the first price is about the same as throwing money in the garbage.

Likewise, after buying the budgeting app, you have to set it all up, and learn to use it habitually before it actually improves your financial life. With the unicycle, you have to endure the presumably painful beginner phase before you can cruise down the street. The kale must be de-veined, chopped, steamed, and chewed before it gives you any nourishment.

If you look around your home, you might notice many possessions for which you’ve paid the first price but not the second. Unused memberships, unread books, unplayed games, unknitted yarns.

Source: Everything Must Be Paid for Twice | Raptitude

Introspections on timewasting

What I’ve learned over the years from my own experience is that what one person calls a “waste of time” is the complete opposite for someone else. It also has a temporal/timing element to it, as well, I’d argue.

For example, I spent an inordinate amount of time on Twitter between 2007 and 2012, but this paid off massively in terms of my career. I learned a lot and made really valuable connections in the process. My wife thought it was a waste of my time. These days, it absolutely would be.

In this post, the author reflects on why they “waste time” and look at different reasons as well as various ways they’ve sought to combat it. As someone who’s been through therapy, I’d suggest that there’s always something below the surface that needs a skilled professional to draw out.

That’s what seems missing here.

"Scattered Thoughts, Like Scattered Leaves:-)" by mysza831 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I spend way too much time on reddit, hacker news, twitter, feedly, coinbase, robinhood, email, etc. I’d like to spend time on things that are more meaningful – chess, digital painting, side projects, reading, video games, exercising, meditating, etc. This has been a problem for years.

This post is only slightly adapted from my personal notes, so excuse the lack of structure; I didn’t want to try to twist this jumble of thoughts into a narrative.

Source: Scattered Thoughts on Why I Waste My Own Time | Just a blog

Image: CC BY mysza831