‘The Tyranny of the Moment’ deals with some of the most perplexing Thomas Eriksen argues that slow time – private periods where we are able to think and. Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age Thomas Eriksen argues that slow time – private periods where we are able to think and. Eriksen (Tyr) 01 chaps 20/6/01 pm Page 1 From Thomas Hylland Eriksen: “ Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age. London.
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The general focus of the book is on why social life has become so hurried and accelerated and what the negative consequences of these changes are for family life and leisure-time. We face a double paradox — Despite the proliferation of time-saving technologies we seem to have less time to spare than ever, and the information revolution has not created a more informed population, but a more confused one. Tyranyn book stems from a sabbatical in which the author got very little work done, because his time seemed to filled with lots of minor tasks — he had no time to sit down to a long project.
So it o with life today — we seem unable to think a thought more than two inches long. This book friksen not luddite, it is an attempt to create ttyranny of the unintended consequences of the information society. The general focus of the book is on how life is hurried and accelerated — how working days are overloaded, leisure-time is chopped up and the consequences of these changes for family life.
We seem to live about two seconds in the future. When one is on the receiving end of a mass of erikksen, the scarcest resource is slow, continuous time. In the information age it tyrxnny be that more flexibility makes us less flexible and more choice makes us less free — Why do most of us have less spare time, and why does more information result in less comprehension? We need to understand the move from an industrial to an informational society — a term which can be traced back to The Frankfurt School, MacLuhan and of course Toffler.
The move to the informational society is only one ryranny many trends leading to greater complexity, uncertainty and individualism. The third major event was the emergence and rapid growth of the Internet, which changes knowledge through linking chunks of it together differently and leads to constant updating, which heralded the move to an informational society, which is a society in which IT is integral to all production, as it is in many other spheres of social life.
Information has now become the new scarce resource — Information processing is increasingly integral tbe many jobs.
Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age
In the information society, freedom from information is a scarce resource. The skill we really need to learn is to learn to filter out the 0. Many of us are coming to see living in a world of colourful fragments of knowledge — and engaging with this knowledge without being able to grasp everything in its entirety as not being a problem. In information society, the gaps are being filled with fast time NB Mgraine has something to say about this.
For those on the supply side of the economy, they are competing for attention — and they want our attention NOW because information can quickly become obsolete. For those of us who are consumers, freedom from information is our scarce resource. People are uncertain of who they are, where they have to re-invent themselves on a day to day basis.
People are free to choose but not free not to choose. In Information society — The point of gravity in the global economy has moved from things to signs. The sign economy changes at astonishing speed, and requires other organisational forms and a greater flexibility than the economy of things, since signs float more freely than things….
The free availability of ideas simultaneously implies that many of them compete for the free spaces in our heads, leading to confusion and uncertain identities — identity has become disembedded from tradition, or major, continuous narrative. Hybridity and blurred boundaries are the norm. Another feature of the 21 st century is that freedom and vulnerability are synonyms — the bipolar world has been replaced with a unipolar world. That pole is called market liberalism and indivdualism, and its beats the drum with catchwords like flexibility, freedom and openness.
Resistance is scattered and uncoordinated. New tensions result and new types of scarcity might emerge as a result:. What matters is not whether any of this is new, what matters is the fact that our age is the information age. What is the relationship between technology, time and culture? You have to understand this by looking at the recent past… which is where we go back to in chapter 3….
Acceleration is at the heart of the last years of cultural history — Writing lasted years, the printing presswhile radio only had a few decades of dominance before the TV. Today, it is feasible that a product can be obsolete before it hits the shelves. He now apologies for making some general comparisons of the traditional, the modern era and the information era…. Writing, clocks, money, and notation. Writing — Has been an essential tool in the transition from a concrete society based on intimate, personal relationships, memory, local religion and orally transmitted myths, to an abstract society based on formal legislation, archives, a book religion and written history.
The emergence of Clock Time — Time used to be event-determined — Something would happen when everything else was ready — You find this in some traditional societies today — where trains arrive when they arrive, not at a pre-given time. With the invention of the calendar and especially the clock, time becomes external and something which we are expected to sign a contract to stick to from cradle to grave — It becomes something objective which can be chopped up.
It also now becomes something which can be used to coordinate us — the basis of modern business. Money does roughly the same thing to payment, value measurement and exchange as clocks and writing do to language and time.
They make the transaction abstract and impose a standardised grid on the whole world. They place individual, mundane transactions under an invisible umbrella of abstraction. Money renders personal connections and trust redundant, as long as we agree on the value of the digit. Musical Notation is his final example — manuscripts make music abstract, separate them from the individual.
He argues that classical music would not have been possible without musical notation. All of these changes together lead to a small-scale society based on local knowledge to a large scale society based on an abstract legislative system and abstract knowledge founded in logic and science.
The printing press and the industrial revolution were also necessary to pull all of the above together in modernity — a society where external abstract systems regulate huge people into being part of of one machine in which they are expendable.
In addition to all of the above, possible because all of the above, a key feature of modernity was faith in progress — that things were getting better — however, now we are living in a postmodern age.
People think things are about to go horribly wrong. This is not caused by linear time, but by a time perception which is not sufficiently linear. Time has been partitioned into so many pieces that the only time in existence is a single, manic, hysterical moment which is continuously changed, but which does not point to anything other than the next moment.
This could well be an unintended consequence of the efficient society concerned with speed. Chapter Four — Speed and the consequences of time speeding up!
The chapter starts off by drawing on Paul Virilio, a theorist of speed dromology. Virilio studies the military — pointing out that invading a country used to take another country months to organise, then weeks and now possibly minutes — even more rapidly if we include the potential of eriksfn. Time dominates place, everyone is close by in an instant.
The chapter eri,sen goes into an interesting description of how acceleration took place in the industrial revolution which was caused by the IR and new productivity demands in commodity production.
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Koment acceleration was aided in the second half of the twenty first century by Information Technology — IT is simultaneously catalyst, source of coveted goods and economic powerhouse. There are eight consequences of acceleration which are unique to post-modernity:. Because it is easier to communicate today, we communicate more — previously, the labour in writing a letter precluded the writing of unnecessary letters, emails are easier to write, and we we can be contacted anywhere, so we send more emails.
Also, we are now more impatient in waiting for a response. In the age of email, we now expect, demand, a rapid response to our communications —.
For example paintings to photos, and summaries of books in Eriksenn Digest actually the reference to Readers Digest dates this a bit! Quite a weak section — speed tyranng to a reduction in quality generally, but sometimes fast products are OK and especially better than nothing!
Today decisions have to be made almost immediately.
Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age, Eriksen
Those who pause for thought are overtaken by those prepared to act immediately. This can lead to bad decisions and uncertainty — unsurprising maybe when we no longer stop to reflect. In politics, politicians react immediately and short tyrwnny is in fashion — those who play the long game get nowhere the greens? While in financial markets, ripples in one country rapidly domino to others. What matters is beating the other guys to getting something published.
Because they complete over our attention, every spare moment is precious in the information age — There are less empty spaces, less time for the free flow of thought, messages on mobile technologies fill every gap. We also speed up….
A political scientist recently studied the development of the annual financial debate in the Norwegian Parliament, comparing the speed of speech in selected years from to — Looking at Phonemes per minute….
In other worlds the average politician spoke 50 percent faster in compared to Increasing speed also makes us more impatient — If a plane journey takes an hour, a delay of 15 minutes is less bearable than if the same journey took two hours.
Similarly we are now impatient when it takes a computer 30 seconds to log on. For example — Although computer processor power doubles every 18 months, so does the complexity of the software. Also it means more choice, and more time spent tyyranny these choices, and hence less efficiency. Who could have thought that time saving technologies and more information could have made time scarcer and us less enlightened? Basically involves the doubling of a number over a certain time period — Growth is slow at first, and then there is a sudden leap upwards, leading to a qualitative shift in a very short time — for example when a village becomes a town.
There is now a dearth of information — and when there is more information, we spend less time looking at any one piece of it…. And thus the producers of info change the info to fit in with this — Movies are more action packed and commercials shorter for example. Speed is also a narcotic, it is easier to speed up the info rather than to slow it down. Basically larger organisations are less efficient, and more time is spent in wasteful activities. There is more of everything — he now spends some time outlining the rapid growth of books and journal articles most of which are never read?
Before stating that the growth rates in cyberspace surpass everything p Changes tyrannh cyerbspace represent compression in time — more and more information, consumption, movement and activity momenh being pushed into the available time, which is relatively constant. When the og line hits vertical, time has ceased to exist — this happens when news is outdated the moment it is published. When more and more is squeezed into each moment, the result is stacking…. We have moved from the relatively slow and linear to the fast and momentary — novels and old style dramas evolved based on passed events and assume you read progressively.
The internet and new style dramas Dynasty stand still at enormous speed — the web is not hierachical and new dramas despite the cliffhangers do not generally progress — you can pick up the narrative thread after being away for several episodes.
The most important part of navigating the web is filters, but filters do not remove the fragmentation. We are forced to customise the content in the internet — this gives us freedom of choice but we lose internal cohesion, meaningful mlment and slowness. In the Informational Society pieces replace totalities….
The tidal waves of information fragments typical of our kind of society stimulate a style of thought that is less reminiscent of the strict, logical, linear thinking characteristic of industrial society than of the freely associating, poetical, metaphorical thinking that characterised many non modern societies.
Instead of ordering knowledge in tidy rows, Information Society offers cascades of decontextualised sings eirksen or less randomly connected to each other.
Contemporary Culture runs at full speed without moving an inch. The close cousins of acceleration and exponential growth lead to vertical stacking.