The Global Value of Time
"Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever." Horace Mann
Time means something to everybody: more specifically, it means something different to everybody. In the previous section, we spent a good deal of time discussing the views of numerous professionals who were qualified "time experts" in their field. Now the attention shifts from the view of the professional to that of the layperson. We are going to investigate how time affects: the average workers in industrial societies; the cultures of developing nations; the residents of upper, middle, and lower class communities; the youth from around the world; even you.
In many nations, time plays a significant role in how individuals structure their lives. Some people live by the hands of a watch. “Even when the demands of others don’t control our time, it’s astonishing how much we let the clock do it” (Crispell). In other cases, time is less restrictive and provides a more relaxed and forgiving approach to life. This disparity often depends, in large part, on what part of the world you are from. “If a resident of Manhattan and one from Mexico city are both standing at a bus stop, one may define the situation as ‘waiting’ for a bus that is ‘thirteen minutes late,’ while the other is ‘being’ there for a bus that is ‘coming’” (Robinson and Godbey 25). So the harried New Yorker stands—with a racing heart and sweaty palms—waiting for the bus to come because there’s an appointment in 10 minutes, while the Mexican calmly meanders about the bus stop, confident in the eventual arrival of the bus. How is it that two individuals from different countries can view time so differently? Much of this variation is due to the society that an individual is raised in. So, while you browse through this section, keep the following in mind: How do you view time?
- Crispell, Diane. “Time on Our Hands.” Findarticles.com. Oct. 1997. 12 Nov. 2006
- Robinson, John P., and Geoffrey Godbey. Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time. 2nd ed. U. Park, PA: Pennsylvania State U. P., 2000.