The other day, I had the pleasure of reading an article on the Wild Hunt, by Rhyd Wildermuth, titled: “The Time Of Your Life.” The article has to do with time, our time, and how the concept of personal time has changed with the onset of Christianity, Capitalism, and modern philosophies of economics and politics. It’s an article that’s worth reading, not just for Pagans, but for anyone who might be wondering why it seems like we work so hard in our professional lives and sometimes only seem to earn stress and dissatisfaction for all our efforts, regardless of what our paycheck looks like.
I bring this up because of a conversation I had last night with a perfect stranger. I happened to have an appointment yesterday evening that ran later than expected. My route home took me through what is often touted as the most dangerous part of our town. I don’t much care for driving a car in town, and the buses are usually few and far between at that time; so I decided to go for a walk. While walking through this part of town, I came across an elderly woman, slowly making her way a short distance ahead of me. I walked up to her, and asked her if she wouldn’t mind me walking with her for a while … the thought of her getting attacked by some of the so-called men roaming around that part of town didn’t sit well with me. Apparently it didn’t sit so well with her, either, and she accepted my offer to accompany her along her way.
While we were walking, we chatted a little. She told me about how she came to this country from Turkey over 40 years ago, how she was involved in education and local politics until the passing of her husband made her simply too tired to keep up with everything. We spoke about some of the countries we had both traveled to, and exchanged our perspectives on those places. At some point, after watching a couple of drunk youngsters almost get into a fight with each other outside one of the numerous little bars in the area, we started talking about the rise in aggression in the world these days. We were both of the same opinion: aggression has of course been around for a very long time; but it seems like these days, aggressive behavior is gathering itself all over the world. It was then that she offered what I found to be a very profound outlook, and one that would have fit quite neatly in Wildermuth’s article: she said that it’s only natural that the level of aggression is on the rise, as our society is trying to turn people into machines. She said that people weren’t meant to live or perform like machines; and it is the pressure caused by the demands that we do so, along with the consequences for failing to do so, that are causing people to erupt.
This concern with how our time is treated in today’s society is not just a Pagan concern, then. It is a concern we all share; and it will take all of us to arrive at a better solution at some point. The solution is there … solutions are always there, intimately connected to their respective problems … we need to find a way to sit down collectively and discover it. While our current way of doing things brings a great many benefits our way, it’s also changing us in ways that aren’t so beneficial. We aren’t machines, it’s simply not natural to the human condition to exist in boxes or as statistics.