A CLOSER LOOK





Our resident philosopher Joss is back to discuss this month's theme, 'Time'. The country music loving writer studied Critical Theory and Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham; his interest in critical thinking, psychoanalysis and alternate theory is what makes Joss' work refreshing and unique. For our 'Time' edition, Joss considers his own relationship with clock watching. He discusses how labour enables us to allocate meaning to our minutes in this personal consideration of time.


Read all about it below.



WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?





Time has been on my mind a lot recently. I’ve moved to London with my partner and for him time is precious. He works as a vet from 9-7, 5 days a week, when he gets home he needs to eat and rest, and his weekends have to be filled with down time. His free time is reduced to almost nil from Monday to Friday. His time is allocated. For myself, I’m seeking employment at a moment in history where competition blocks all but the finest or most appropriate candidates. 90% of the time I’m far from a perfect match, and with this level of unemployment anything short of a perfect match is not enough. My time is my own, and yet more than ever it escapes me. When I’m applying to jobs I feel my time is well spent, but there are many hours in the day where the new available jobs are already applied for and I’m left at an end.


What do I do with my time? It has become a menace. I feel guilty for not using my time to apply for jobs, and yet there are no suitable jobs left to apply for. No one is allocating my time, and I can only allocate my own time to what I deem progressive to my goal. But who is to tell me what that is? My entire situation, or further yet, my entire mind is preoccupied precisely with occupation. Who is to decide what I can do that can help further my job search? If I could tell myself then I’d have a job. It’s a vicious circle.


Of course, my partner is in the situation where on the weekends he does not struggle to occupy himself, and yet this time is not allocated. Only that isn’t quite true. When the majority of your waking hours are allocated to work, the rest of your time becomes allocated to recuperation. When someone has you on the hook with a salary, they dictate all your time. Outside of work? You’re finding ways to waste time. Only now I see him and envy his preoccupation. Don’t get it twisted, it has nothing to do with salary. I envy that his time is meaningful. But how can time have meaning? Isn’t time an abstract measurement? We calculate it in seconds, minutes, hours. How can meaning be attributed to that? Perhaps time is not so simple.


Do my partner and I experience time the same way right now? I hope it’s clear by now that we certainly don’t. My time is devoid of meaning and it poses me a major conundrum, whereas his time is overloaded with meaning. We’re living through precisely the same measurements of time, many hours of it we share together, and yet our experiences of it could not be more different. The effect of his time is exhaustion, and mine boredom and frustration. I find myself in a situation where money is not my immediate problem, although I can’t deny it drives my problem.


The real issue is what on earth do I do with my time? That indecision, that guilt of owning your own time is boredom: I cannot decide what to do with myself if my time is idle regardless of how I spend it. It is the feeling that I owe my time to someone, but who deserves my time beyond myself. Well, it’s the hand that feeds you, it's the provider of money, but the provider is arbitrary without the money itself. Money is what you owe your time to, every living second.