Time Fascism – Thinkibility Nibble

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With Time Fascism we mean that sometimes time restrictions are used in a way that should be characterized as oppressive, intolerant, dictatorial and/or aggressive.

Babies and toddlers are expected to develop within a certain time-frame. Those who for various underlying reasons do not sit, crawl or read or should be known by the authorities, so they can help and ensure the best treatment. However, many children develop in other directions and at other paces. Early support is often beneficial for lots of conditions but the framework is often rigid. There is also a risk that a child will be defined as someone with a developmental or learning disability, and more importantly the environment will behave to conform this “fact “. However, many children do not follow “normal development” and they nevertheless grow up to became successful people.

IQ tests and other learning performance tests have time limits. If you have not solved the problems in a certain time-period, you get a lower score or even fail. But what if someone is able to solve all the problems in 24 hours, and then performing better than the average student? Notwithstanding that in some countries they define entrance levels for higher education at the age of 10.

To get a passport, or other official documents, we are bound to opening hours. Mostly we have to take an holiday to fulfill our obligations as a citizen. However, the government should work for citizen and should open their offices like shopping malls, who are welcoming their clients they depend on.

At the age of 18, if you want to go to university you should have A-levels in a couple of disciplines. What if someone is brilliant in mathematics, but lacks sufficient fluency in a required language? He or she  will not be admitted to an university, because they had not acquired some skills in a certain time. What if the person could acquire that extra skills later?

To be on time when having an appointment is a good business habit, so you don’t waste time for the person you have made the appointment with. But maybe by being late you give the person an opportunity to reflect on his or her functioning or even time to clean up the desk?

We understand that an individual, institution or group we have called a Time Fascist will find the way we selected examples to be highly offensive and inappropriate. We just tried to show how authoritarian and intolerant power-holders use time as means for repression, which in some way is homologous with fascist ideology: that is governmental suppression of individual freedom.

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Thinking Strategies: It’s Time to Plan the Thinking

Since we began this blog, we have discussed a range of Thinking Strategies to enhance capabilities to think about a subject. Thinking Strategies are process designs for thinking. It gives you a global approach for thinking. Thinking Strategies allow you to make a map of the thinking situation before you enter the area. It allows you Thinkibility-on-the-Spot. Image

Have a nice summer reading!

The New Currency Is Time – Thinkibility Nibble

In times past there was a barter economy. Goods were exchanged for other goods. Yet the exchange did not have to take place at the same time, it could be up to a year later.

A major economic innovation was the invention of money in form of silver, pearls or any other valued, but scarce goods. The advantage was that the payment took place immediately, but also that the seller was not dependent upon what the buyer had to offer.

Nowadays, money is not scarce anymore since most of the money is not backed by a substantial amount of gold. But there are many problems with the money economy as we known. There are large differences in income between people and countries, which this year was one of the major topics at the World Economic Forum in Davos. It  is possible to manipulate the money streams as the economic crisis recently has shown. And last but not least, it has led to a materialistic world and a tendency to express everything in “earning bugs”.

What if the currency would be Time?

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What if we leave an economy based on exchange of goods for an economy totally based on an exchange of time?

We do not suggest  that occasionally a dentist and a hairdresser could exchange half an hour of their time, where they offer each other skilled labour. There are many initiatives of this kind of  exchange currencies, especially in countries plagued by the economic crisis. Tax offices have a lot of problems with those spontaneous initiatives, as can be seen here. Often the system provides you with opportunities where you can place your surplus money on a virtual time bank. This means that  you do not  have the disadvantage of the system where you can only trade in equal amounts of time. For example, someone mows someone else’s lawn for an hour in exchange for a repair of a computer that took two hours.

It would be very interesting to research the relative “price” of the goods and services that are traded, but it seems that the amount of minutes spent by each party is equally valued. The time spend by a plumber is of equal value of that of the baby sitter.

We mean here that all currency is expressed in time, not as a parallel system in a dominant money economy.

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It’s mind bogging to imagine what the world would look like, it is also difficult to visualize . Therefore, it is a good exercise in Thinkibility skills!

An interesting aspect is that the (time) value of  every product would be expressed in the time it has cost to produce it. An iPad “cost” a certain amount of minutes. Another interesting aspect is that everybody have a limited amount of minutes available during his or her life time. But what will happen when someone has spent  all the minutes in his or her life time?

What would be the consequences for crafts? Would an economy based on time as a currency improve the efficiency of time usage for some tasks, or just the other way around? Would the productivity sky-rocket because machines do not  consume time, but to design and produce them cost time? Today  it is much cheaper to fly from Paris to London than taking the train. However, taking the train costs much less time.

Are there some sub-cultures where actually the currency is time? Some tribe, alternative community or an art collective where we can study the effects?

How can you spend your minutes when your are not working, f.e. on holidays?

Nowadays, employees give time to a company in exchange of money, related to their knowledge, skills, experience and age. If the currency is time, will companies pay in minutes for the hours spent in the company, regardless of the capacity an employee brings to the task? Or will it be the other way around. But why should we spend hours in company if we do not earn more minutes? And could we instead of spending time working,  playing with the kids? If you are going to school, you are loosing time. Could you earn more  time by meditating?

Would it be possible to invest in time? To give time away for free?

If time is your most precious currency, might it not important to think about what might happen if the new  currency would  be time. Or is that a wast of time?

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To learn more, read here or the Wiki article

Time as a Search Light for Deliberate Thinking

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It is remarkable that neither in management nor in psychological literature much attention is paid to how time influences thinking. However, many expressions indicate the importance of time, like:

  • This is a window of opportunity
  • Let’s buy time
  • Don’t wait for time, make time!
  • Time is money
  • The boiling frog
  • A gram in the backpack in the morning weights a kilo in the evening
  • The Deep Time
  • Being in the Zone
  • Appropriate timing in negotiations
  • Deadlines

There is a highly subjective component to time, but whether or not time itself is “felt”, as a sensation or an experience, has never been settled.

When we are bored, time passes slowly but when we are excited time runs fast.

The passing of time seems to increase when we are getting older. If you are  involved in planning your own project, there is a tendency to be overly optimistic. An outsider is likely to estimates the time it takes as much longer.

Products can be introduced too early, or consumers can get accustomed to a new service slower than expected.

In the beginning of a jog, a distance of 2 kilometres seems to be insurmountable but after a few hours of running a 2-kilometre leg becomes peanuts.

Earth is around 4 700 millions years old, if this time was reduced to one year, human would have appeared 8.35 pm on the 31st of December. Despite that, we tend to think in hours, days, weeks, and seasons.

Time perception is a field of study within psychology and neuroscience. It refers to the sense of time, which differs from other senses since time cannot be directly perceived but must be reconstructed by the brain. Some researchers have tried  to categorize people by how they differ in their perception of time.

The perception of time is strongly tied to emotion, and thus to the body. However, the direction of the cause-effect relation is unclear. Does mood affect perception of time?  Or does an increased focus on time influence the embodiment of emotions?

Maybe our sense of time, as perceived signals from the body, produces the sense of self as a succession of moments that constitutes its duration. As such, the sense of time would be a creation of the body itself.

Time is a human construct. It is therefore not surprising that in different cultures people use time differently and attribute different values to it. The Aymara, a tribe in the Andes, think of the past as in front of them and the future as behind. This way of lookign at time  may influence other concepts they may have on life, such as economics and  social relations. The Yupno people, who inhabit a remote valley in Papua New Guinea, think of time topographically. No matter which way a speaker is facing, he or she will gesture uphill when discussing the future and point downhill when talking about the past. In contrast, the Amondawa, a tribe in the Amazon area, seems to have no concept of time at all.

It might also be that we exist in various scales of time simultaneously. We live in the moment, make plans about next week, remember what happened last year, study the history of ancient Rome and ponder the Big Bang billions of years ago.

A need for focus on aspects of time

Time is a neglected factor in evaluation, negotiation, decision-making, action planning and forecasting of future and trends. Mostly, we project ourselves at one point in time, the here-and-now, and will reason from that point into the future, thereby assuming that the present situation will remain the same. However, situations may change as time passes independently from our actions. Moreover, the situation could change because of our actions itself and the feedback loops it will activate.

We believe that there is definitely a need to make mapping the implications of time a deliberate mental activity. We need a Search Light to focus on aspects of time in a situation. At this moment, we are developing the contents of such a Search Light for our forthcoming book.

We encourage you deepen your insight in the concept of time, for example by studying various expression regarding time, as listed here.

If you would like to learn more about the use of Search Lights to enhance and broadening your thinking, read our E-book Thinkibility – Thinking about Thinking, Creativity, Innovation and Design Part 2 Positives and Negatives.

Photo: “Man Thinking Of Time” by digitalart

Focus the Attention for a LOOOONG Time!

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Paying attention is a form of jogging. Jogging requires practice and training. And if you practice for a while, you may one day experience a feeling where time disappears. You are in a zone and feel like you could run forever.

Flow, a coin termed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, means you are in intense absorption. Completely engaged. Yet attention fitness is rarely practiced. Clay Johnson on Lifehacker writes, “Most people who click on this article won’t finish reading it. So says Nick Carr. The New York Times will remind you that you’ll probably forget it in a few minutes. This idea’s so prevalent, even the Onion has started taking jabs.”

Attention fitness is vital not only to finish reading a blog post but also to solve problems and search for new solutions. Fast ideas and suggestions may be valued but insights and understanding may take time to develop.

Jennifer L. Roberts, professor of history of art and architecture introduced students to the virtues of deep patience and close attention. Patience and attention are rarely valued in today’s Internet era.

The students were asked to prepare an intense research paper on a single work of art. The project should start by doing a close examination for a work of art. Ah, a close examination sounds easy. . . but this was a looooong examination. The students had to spend THREE hours looking at the painting.

If you look at the painting below by Singleton Cople “Boy with a Squirrel”, there are relationships that take time to see. The students were amazed at some of the things they could see after a while.  Jennifer says that if you focus on the painting for a long time there are details that emerge after about one hour about the shape of the boy’s ear and the squirrel’s ruff. You may notice folds of a curtain and the proportion of hand and glass of water.

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Teaching art students’ “patience engineering” allows them to slow down and explore new things. Things that a quick a fast glance might not reveal. Allow yourself to process things deeply rather than shallowly!

I must admit that looking at a painting for 3 hours – well, I simply could not do that. I like to focus for a short period, move around and return later to the problem. Maybe I can increase the time that I focus so that each week I focus a minute or two longer. Also I need to find something that will absorb me. Some of us may find it easier to focus on music. There are differences between focusing on music for three hours and looking at a painting. Music is constantly changing and it leads you somewhere. But then again maybe being absorbed in a painting takes you somewhere.

Focusing the attention is a vital part of applied creativity. And so is awareness of when your attention is shifting. Defining your focus when you are looking at a painting may help you to stay focused, for example, you could focus on aspects that you like with the painting or what the artists was trying to achieve. This approach can also be used when focusing on generating creative ideas. What is the topic? What is the goal? Deciding on what to focus on before starting enhances your chances of success.

Go here to read more about the focusing the attention.

Photo:  “Orange And Fruit Mix” by adamr, John Singleton Copley’s 1765 painting Boy with a Squirrel.