Time is a personal resource, it scansions and nurtures each of our lives from the moment we are born to when we die. Unlike all other resources, it can be exchanged but never recaptured. Since its origin, human kind has sought ways to prolong, stall and ultimately capture it.
Jonathan Crary’s 24/7 is an insightful and timely book on contemporary processes of time commodification. He outlines that drawn by the solemn call to the economization of time, we constantly engage in a schematization of our everyday, the more we do so, however, the more we are dispossessed of our own temporalities. One is perpetually deceived with the illusion of choice and autonomy, while the fear of falling behind only activates a process of disengagement whereby each individual is inexorably absorbed in its fantasmatic digital insularity.
24/7 sets the framework of the social hallucination in which we find ourselves entangled in. The contemporary fear of ageing, of wasting time and ultimately dying is developing into a category of social reality, which seeks shelter in the increasingly digital and technological hyper-realities, constituted by human energy under the form of routine passive activity.
Immersed in their daily need to capture value from time, people’s patience hence sociability has become increasingly atrophied.
How then, are we to reconstitute the possibility of a communized sociality, which is not illusorily facilitated by the always-open shopping mall of infinite choices offered by the ‘24/7’ society?
Crary offers an intriguing – to our historical present almost lavishly utopic – alternative: sleep.
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