You Have Watches, We Have Time

In this morning’s Guardian Poly Toynbee quotes this oriental mantra as being uttered 20 years ago upon the invasion of Afghanistan. It points out the dichotomy of approach.  20 years later they still have time and “we” still have watches to measure shit with / by.

The West has a strong hankering for immediacy which until recently has been more absent in the East. It must be fixed or destroyed. We must win the battle, win the argument. But so often if results don’t come quick enough people pack up early and sulk. There is the revolving door of football mangers and performance metrics which cause people to throw the baby out with the bath water. There is little forbearance, little patience. It must happen and it must happen now preferably to a fanfare of trumpets and good PR.

There is tendency to win the battle but lose the war.

Because of this immediacy people tend to think only in the short term. They do not have five-year or ten-year plans. Few imagine the future a decade down the line. China knows that semiconductor chips are the next gold and so it builds massive fabs. It has its eyes on Taiwan, where there are also massive fabs. When / if China takes over Taiwan they will control the semiconductor market. They too have time, and “our” watches are now fabricated by them.

This impatience and short-term results orientation are perhaps getting worse. That fear of missing out {FOMO} drives the immediate gratification culture where people search for their latest fix.

Perhaps the pandemic has tested this immediacy narcotic a little…some relax, others still want to score.

Right now, I know that I have a lot of time on my hands, I do not posses a working watch. If it takes me three days to fix something instead of paying someone else to do it, it is a good use of my time.

All that knee jerk reaction often gives rise to ill considered “action”.

Pavlov might be turning in his grave, “I told you so….”