Of the clock


The clocks have gone back. My stomach says it’s lunchtime yet the timer on the oven tells me there is still an hour to go. I’ve lost an hour or gained an hour. I can’t work it out but know it’s lighter in the morning and darker earlier in the afternoon.

The whole daylight saving thing makes a mockery of time. It confuses us all and highlights the arbitrary nature of what we understand as time. We think of it as a physical thing yet in truth it is a figment of our imagination. Indeed until the invention of the clock time was almost an irrelevance.  

The fact that we can push the clocks forward or back proves my point. We only need it to coordinate our overstuffed lives. Time is needed to make us more anxious and demanding. It is another way of ensuing we are under control.

Interestingly when clocks were invented most time was told using a sundial. This is why the hands go clockwise,  to mirror the movement of the sun’s shadow. For a period then there were two times, of the sundial and of the clock, hence why we say o’clock.

At this time of year the news always says that we will get an extra hour in bed. Instead I get up somewhere between when my body wants to and when the clock tells me, spend the whole day changing the myriad of time pieces (I always forget someone) and feel out of sorts until my biology catches up.

Ironically, changing the time in spring and autumn is an anachronism, harking back to a very different era. Several countries across the world have abandoned the concept of changing the clocks and keep the same time throughout the year. Morocco is the latest. Could we go the same way soon? I hope so.

Indeed why don’t we go the whole hog and have a standard world time. No more time zones, people will just get up at different hours across the globe. They do anyway. Only a fraction of us work from 9 until 5 of the clock.

It’s time for a rethink.

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