Don’t set yourself back by participating in the systems of your own enslavement.
The regimentation of time is about one thing – control. Standardization of time makes efficient the processes by which the ruling elite are able to profit to such historically unprecedented degrees of wealth inequality. Yet it has been destructive to the individuals forced to pace their lives around profitable efficiencies.
Since the first and most rudimentary forms of life have appeared, periods of dormancy and inactivity have accompanied them. Some form of sleeping has been used by every living species to provide fitness to the individual. Rest is such an important part of living that we simply cannot imagine existence without it. And yet only one species, and only recently, has tried to supplant their natural sleep patterns with regimentation.
Even to human beings, waking on schedule to the sound of an alarm is a pretty recent thing. In fact over the past few hundred years the way that we sleep has changed dramatically. Where earlier humans appear to have slept multiple times in the period of a day, according to their natural rhythms and own desires, we now force our sleep into a single period as if it were a chore to be commenced all at once. Many have come to view sleep as a interruption of waking activities, rather than an equally important and enriching part of their lives.
The reason for this shift in sleeping attitudes and habits can be summed up by one of industrial capitalism’s most insidious platitudes – Time is money.
And yet many of us find that no matter how we try, our sleep just does not want to conform with the contrived necessities of our socioeconomic position. Rather than fight the system we fight ourselves, leading to insomnia and other sleep disorders, which in turn leads to health problems, mental issues and self-medication, which in turn invites addiction. It creates a cycle of illness that feeds itself, pushing the individual further into harm’s way.
Strict schedules make us easier to manage as labor resources, but they require sleep to happen differently than evolution has instilled in us. We are sacrificing our own well being in order to make exploiting us easier for this system’s profiteers.
At the very least this is probably contributing to some degree the existential crisis’ which brought us the plague of mass violence we are experiencing in America. An even worse scenario is that the system which pinches a few extra pennies out of us through sleeplessness is robbing us of our very own eternity. Is there even any need to ask if it is worth it?
This Sunday is daylight savings time, the day in which time artificially springs forward an hour, another contrivance of the industrial-capitalists who can sleep whenever they want while we toil to put a third coat of gold on their castle.
Survival requires that you obey, and so I do not expect this writing to lead to any smashed clocks. However it is important that you think about it. It is important to consider all of the little ways in which your life is chipped away at by the conveniences of the super rich. The fact that you cannot even sleep as every other living thing does, when it is best for your own needs, should be a pretty good starting point to see how almost every aspect of your life is controlled by external forces that do not have your best interests or well-being in mind even a single bit.
The sound of the alarm is the sound of your enslavement, and the bastards have even tricked us into setting it ourselves. Ready to think bigger yet?
“When once they stalked deer, or crouched shivering in the mud for the flight of ducks to alight, or risked their lives in the crags after goats, or closed in with shouts upon a wild boar at bay- that was not work, though often the breath came hard and the limbs were heavy. When the women bore and nursed children, or wandered in the woods for berries and mushrooms, or tended fire at the entrance of the rock shelter- That was not work either.
So also, when they sang and danced and made love, that was not play. By the singing and the dancing the spirits of forest and water might be placated- a serious matter, though still one might enjoy the song and the dance. And as for the making of love, by that- and by the favor of the gods- the tribe was maintained.
So in the first years work and play mingled always, and there were not even words for one against the other.
But centuries flowed by and then more of them, and many things changed. Man invented civilization and was inordinately proud of it. But in no way did civilization change life than to sharpen the line between work and play, and at last that division had came to be more important than the old one between sleeping and waking. Sleep came to be thought a kind of relaxation, and “sleeping on the job” a heinous sin. The turning out of the light and the ringing of the alarm were not so much the symbols of man’s dual life as were the punching of the time clock and the blowing of the whistle. Men marched on picket lines and threw bricks and exploded dynamite to shift an hour from one classification to the other, and other men fought equally hard to prevent them. And always work became more laborious and odious, and play grew more artificial and febrile.”
Excerpt of ‘Earth Abides’ by George R. Stewart (1949)