June 8, 2015 6:08 pm

I’ve just spent an interesting hour of my limited available time watching a documentary on the latest high speed train being built by the Chinese. Apparently it will shave half an hour off the journey from Shanghai to Beijing, hurtling through the landscape at over 200 miles an hour, an amazing technological achievement. But I had a thought. In this manic existence we call ‘modern life’ when did time become a commodity? The Chinese Rail company along with Airlines and Bullet trains are not selling cutting edge technology, they’re selling time.

Whilst I would be concerned about 300 Chinese rail passengers wandering aimlessly around Beijing station wondering what to do with this gift of an extra half hour of time; in the eyes of the Time vendors this equates to millions of dollars in extra revenue. How? Surely they can’t mean that their high speed patrons can now work an extra half an hour on top of their already insane timetables? Obviously no-one is going to fork out the extra fare for this high speed delivery system and then give their bosses an extra half hour of labour for free, reducing what little time that they can call their own by at least two and a half hours a week.


Ah yes! You might scream, I’m missing the point, this is an extra half hour that has been granted from the great God of Progress and will benefit all of mankind… but who asked for it? Was it the young man sitting on the 200 mph Train frantically banging away on his laptop as he hurtles towards his dead line?…. Or was it the old man wading in a paddy field, tickling the bum of a buffalo with a twig as the gleaming epitome of technology hurtles past him in a blur of sight and sound? As a species; if we are to survive; we must evolve and evolution skips hand in hand with innovation but as we pay the toll on this highway of evolving, who owns the road? Where, in this age of time saving technology do we find time for ourselves; once we escape our allotted time in which ever salt mine we pinned our career to and return to our high tech caves we call home and once we’ve consumed our instant food; tweeted and twittered on our face books; exercised and moisturized to deny the foot prints of time; the day is over, so we climb into our memory foam beds (with built in Wi-Fi) and prepare to do it all again tomorrow.

Some people believe that somewhere, in lofty Ivory towers surrounded by a mist of high security, there lives the masters of this frantic world and it is they that asked for this extra half hour. Maybe those people are right, maybe these Dark Lords of Time really do exist and maybe even now they are scheming and planning the next efficiency drive that will generate even more revenue but if this so, surely they are even more trapped in this Time prison than we are? Maybe you can squeeze a moment of time in your day to smell a flower whereas these poor unfortunates would only try to find some way to market the aroma.

Maybe we are rapidly approaching a cross roads in our evolution; maybe it’s time to ask ourselves, who is right….the man who stares at a clock or the man who stares at a Buffalo’s bum…..you decide.

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