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A Skelding Summary

Children always have plenty of time. It is vaguely thought that as we get older 'things' get faster. Or is it something to do with the fact that children are ten times (at least) more conscious than adults? (by now set in their ways). Sporadic attempts to explain this phenomena.

The Romantic 'A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

W. H. Davis' poem is worth sticking on the bedroom wall.

The Scientific
'Telepresence allows travel-weary executives to visit anywhere from their desks'.

Scientific American takes this seriously enough to warrant an article with pictures of robots on wheels transmitting video pictures. (oh pleeeeese)

In his novel "Sybil" Benjamin Disraeli first alluded to 'two nations' existing in this country - the rich and the poor. Like it or not this line blurs and another one sharpens - the under and over worked. In an article, nearly five years ago, Nicci Gerrard, a journalist was noticing those who had survived mass unemployment, once known as redundancy (until replaced by yet another anodyne euphemism - 'downsizing'.)

She felt that for those who work for a living particularly the middle classes - there is very little time on their hands to feel good about their job or anything else for that matter - since they are working themselves to their emotinal knees. Indeed, were these men and women ever to give pause - they would realise that their lot is not a particularly happy one.

Examining old press and books and looking at old movies it is easy to see that people talk and eat quicker than they did back in the 1970s. The boss manages 'time', Safety officers manage 'stress'. We even walk faster than we did in the 1970s. This has been attributed to the change in working practices rather than flared trousers and platforms being an impediment to fast perambulation.

Nor will it come as much of a surprise that people see less of their families (they are either in the office until late or down in the pub vainly trying to recuperate afterwards). And less of their children since it takes two tp pay for a normal mortgage and Christmas presents as well. Even the price of a holiday includes double time before to 'make sure' and after for ' catching up'.

Similarly we have less sleep. 40 winks in 1976 would probably only be worth around 30 now. (It wouldn't come as much of a revelation to discover that the sheep we nocturnally count - actually jump over the farmyard fence faster than ever - forcing us to lose track & sleep as we start counting all over again)

The pace at which people live is becoming increasingly dictated by technological advance, echoing the Industrial Revolution which affected our ancestors. Getting richer (and taxed more) means more time at business (or busyness) with little time to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

We all know time has sped up but nobody knows why. Are we noticing it too late to do something about it? Have we time to notice it all?

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Index of things

Histories of Things
By Laurence Skelding

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