I recently took part to a discussion, with MIT students and professors.
The question was: What is most valuable: water, energy, or time? How to prioritize these elements? How to use each of these resources?
I saw that time is set besides water and energy. Interesting.
A fellow from the USA referred to 'indigenous culture', meaning anything which is not urban USA culture. Interesting.
Actually, I told her, am a representative of such a indigenous culture. I am a primitive brutal indigenous and uncivilised man from the South of Italy. :-) I unworthly represent only a few millenia of civilization.
Yet, a fellow from the Near East and another very intelligent lady from Japan, seemed to set time aside from other commodities, as it had a different nature. I feel some affinity with them.
I would like to underline that we are discussing in English. Language frames and conditions thinking. Thinking in different languages gives freedom and creativity. I would guess that in the heart language of said fellow from the Near East and said very intelligent lady from Japan, there is something that does not quite match with English.
English language is an utilitarian/utilitaristic language. Very practical. But is does not capture human reality fully.
In English language there is an underlying methaphorical concept. TIME IS MONEY. English language is full of expressions reflecting such concept: you are wasting my time, this gadget will save you hours, that flat tyre cost me one hour, I have invested a lot of time....
In many languages, these expressions can be translated without distorting much of the
Yet, in many languages, time has very different connotations.
In Italian, we have an expression: 'sciupare il tempo'. It does not translate exactly into 'wasting time'. 'Sciupare' means spoiling the beauty, harmony, cleaness, or order of something. The underlying conception of time is different, although such conception of time is under ferocious attack.
The idea that everything can be reduced to money is a key assumption of neoliberalism.
Such an idea is deeply engrained in American business culture and in English language itself.
That is the basis of PRODUCTIVISM, which is is cancer of our society.
I would argue that human time has a quality. I believe there should be different words for ''time'' (as for the word "truth"), but unfortunately we have only one. So, here we go....
When we plan our cities, we should aim for the quality of time, not - or at least not necessarily - for the optimization of production.
Human time has a quality that sets it aside from commodities. Those who are always treating time as a commodity, are - ultimately - contributing to devastating the world. In such devastation, energy becomes scarse.
We have plenty of resources. Scarcity is just in our head, when we think that we need more of everything. It is a manifestation of a compulsive obsessive disorder.
Time is not money. Time is our life. Do not trade one for the other.
I know that what I write is controversial... but hey.... a little bit of spices does not harm... does it....