Heidegger on Time

As someone who has a deep ambivalence towards the present structure of modern capitalist society, especially the notions of work and leisure, I feel moved to note Heidegger’s comments on time in What is Called Thinking?:

Today’s reckoning in sports, for instance, with tenths of seconds, in modern physics even with millionths of seconds, does not mean that we have a keener grasp of time, and thus gain time; such reckoning is on the contrary the surest way to lose essential time, and so to “have” always less time. Thought out more precisely: the growing loss of time is not caused by such a time reckoning–rather, this time reckoning began at that moment when [humans] suddenly became un-restful because [they] had no more time. That moment is the beginning of the modern age.

I wonder about us as an imaginative species at this moment in time. We choose to create the world based on how we imagine it (with the qualification that as individuals, we may feel powerless to do such because of the various structures that order our world). I feel, given our “advances” that we exhibit a deep lack of imagination such that we haven’t created a world where “technology” isn’t working for us in more healthy and imaginative ways. What weakness is shown by our imagining and creation of a world where every moment is taken up by the work/leasure diad–where all of our individual activities are framed in as a contribution to the work of the economy, or leisure to support this work. If there is a revolution, I think it needs to start with re-imagining how we want to see our daily lives. It needs to begin with the question of how we make the modern work for us. Let us have a revolution of play, where work is the minimal support for play; let us discard the structure of leisure, where it is the minimal support for work. Perhaps we should bring back the 19th century question of alienation with this new thinking in mind.


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