This article was published by PETRIe at http://www.petrieinventory.com/man-is-the-measure-of-time
Do we fight time? Do we embrace it? Is time a source of anxiety or a stimulant of joy? Does time have a colour or a shape? Can we ever think about here, without thinking about now? These are questions that we seek to explore in our new digital issue, PETRIe Temporality. Our goal is to question the chronological, mechanical structure of time, and challenge the tools, traditions, and inherited models of recording, measuring, and understanding time.
Increments of time make up the fabric of our life; as they link to each other, unbroken, their unstoppable flow designs a background for how we imagine ourselves: solid beings standing strong against the ephemerality of our own fluid lives. We affirm our unique identities in celebration of being able to prevail when time attempts to disintegrate us, to carve into us like a river into rocks. We are constantly aware of the successive “now” moments that pass us by, and we remain ready to grab the unrepeatable dose of inspiration contained in each of them: art, fashion, architecture, and design are expressions of both our relentless creativity, and our perpetual battle with time.
If individually we are, for now, defeated, unable to reach eternity and immortality, we overcome collectively, as the strength of mankind resides in being able to build something from nothing, to leave behind lasting testimonies of our life-affirming, innovative, and courageous spirit. We fearlessly attempt to tame the unknown, as we conquer space – physical, mental, digital – and set up colonies of technical and technological progress, scientific advancement, and pioneering ideas. Speed seems to be today the measure of all things, yet we’re constantly surprised by the joy and inner peace we feel when we slow down, and by the depth of an idea thought through. Slowing down is often seen as losing the race, but what if it’s actually winning it?
It takes nine months for a human being to be made ready for life, and about 80 years for life to destroy it again. It takes seconds for a search engine to give an answer to our question and for us to forget it again, and millennia for philosophers to be forgotten. For some, time is money, for others – a thief in the night; time gives and it takes away, but, most importantly, it never leaves us the same as it found us. What we make of time is what we make of ourselves, and this might actually be the real battle we are all facing.
Words: Elena Stanciu