Aldous Huxley on TIME

Time, as we know it, is a very recent invention. The modern time-sense is hardly older than the United States. It is a by-product of industrialism–a sort of psychological analogue of synthetic perfumes and aniline dyes.

Time is our tyrant. We are chronically aware of the moving minute hand, even of the moving second hand. We have to be. There are trains to be caught, clocks to be punched, tasks to be done in specified periods, records to be broken by fractions of a second, machines that set the pace and have to be kept up with. Our consciousness of the smallest units of time is now acute. To us, for example, the moment 8:17 A.M. means something—something very important, if it happens to be the starting time of our daily train. To our ancestors, such an odd eccentric instant was without significance–did not even exist. In inventing the locomotive, Watt and Stevenson were part inventors of time. [Please go to page 2]

One thought on “Aldous Huxley on TIME”

  1. This is a fascinating quote, and I’m left wondering what we do with it. I concur with Huxley’s analysis, yet find myself bound as tightly to the bell schedule of my classroom (7:55 – start; 8:44 – end) as the train station is bound to its timetables. Is it slavish? Or is time something we moderns steward like other resources?

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