This question is inspired by some of the feedback we got to last week’s question How Can You Help? Several people commented on how busy they are, and how time spent thinking about our questions and/or composing a thoughtful response is time that is taken away from other activities.
This is certainly a valid point. But it brings to mind another question: Why are we so busy? Over the last century or so, a growing number of devices have been introduced into our society that are supposedly “labor-saving” devices, like the electric vacuum cleaner or the automated dishwasher. But as we have access to more and more of these labor-saving devices, what is happening to all the hours the supposedly being saved?
Moreover, the Internet, and our ability to communicate much more easily with people all around the world, has shortened the day. 24-hour news channels have increased the amount of news available to us, while providing less and less time to process and make sense of that information.
But it may be possible to become accustomed to a world swamped with information and expectations. Our brains may be flexible enough to adapt to whatever demands our modern world places upon them.
So which is it? Are we too busy? Or are we just busy enough? Can we handle even more? If we are too busy, what can we do about it?
Related questions: What is time? What are our responsibilities to others? What is important? How have we changed?
Our culture has changed tremendously over the last few hundred years. Our life expectancy, literacy, access to different foods, access to different places, how much information we have and the way we process it, the technology that supports us, what we know about the world and how we interact with it.
What have these differences done to us, genetically, physically, mentally, emotionally? How have we changed?
Related questions: What is time? How have we changed the world? How much does our past determine our future?
Live sporting events have a certain thrill that comes from not knowing what is going to happen. Each year, the Super Bowl has a huge TV audience during the live broadcast, but outside of fans of the winning team, there is much less desire for recordings of past Super Bowls.
Why should that be? Where does that thrill come from? Why is it better to watch a sporting event live rather than recorded?
Related questions: What is time? Why are we fascinated with the unknown? Why do we like what we like? Why do people like games?
We all know what time is — we experience it every moment of our conscious lives. If there is one thing that we all have in common, it may just be the passage of time as we get older.
But once you actually start trying to provide a definition of time, it eludes our grasp as if it was so much mist. Trying to come up with an explanation without using self-referential terms seems really difficult.
Maybe someone else will have better luck than me: What is time?
Related questions: What does “now” mean? Is free will important? What do we have in common?