16 May 2008
For several years now I've had this idea developing in the depths of my mind - periodically rising to the surface only to drift back down again as I become engaged in other things. You know how they say that time is money? Well, I have this sense that money, in one sense, is really time. Maybe that's not all it is, but I'm certain that it's part of it.
The way I first understood this concept was in terms of jobs. Looking back to when I was in high school I never liked the idea of jobs. There's something inhuman about them; the fact that you are compelled to do the same thing day after day for eight hours with a half-hour lunch break until you find something better, retire or die. It's almost impossible to escape too - even the people we think of as not having jobs (movie stars, athletes, musicians, etc.) have them too, only on different terms.
The way we're told to think about it is that we are selling our talents, abilities, or labor to a company for a certain period of time, but that's not how I see it anymore. Somehow that never truly made sense. Now, however, I understand that what we're actually selling is our lives. It seems so obvious when you think about it, but we're told not to think about it that way. We sell our lives away, hour by hour, to the highest bidder or for the most appealing form of work. Every hour that I spend at work is an hour that I could be reading a book, writing a book, listening to music, meditating, taking a class, swimming in a lake, watching a movie, eating cereal, making love to a woman, or just sitting on my ass. And I can't get that hour back! So how much is it worth? Is one hour of reading a book worth $10? $20? $10,000? Are all of my hours worth the same amount? Is 3:00 worth the same as 4:00? Is the morning worth the same as the evening or the afternoon? Is an hour of making love worth the same as an hour watching TV? Why should they all be counted equally? Then again, why is there so much difference between the value of one of my hours and the value of one of a CEO or a movie star? Is my life that much different than theirs? Hell, I bet they'd just waste their hours anyway, so aren't my hours actually worth more?!
But that's just the beginning. Money is time in so many other ways too. We sell our hours in which we could be doing so many other, more interesting, things, but then money can be used to buy those hours back too! Look, you can pay a little extra money for a meal that's already prepared, and there you have another hour back. You can buy clothes that are already made and there you have 4 hours. So many of our little transactions are merely buying back the time that we sold to somebody else. But at what cost? If I can buy back an hour in a meal, then who is selling that hour? Is it a fair trade (one hour for one hour) or am I buying somebody's three hours for the price of one? That girl in the sweatshop in Pakistan, how many hours did she sell to make my shirt?
Think about it. How do you sell your life? How do you buy it back? I promise, it will change the way you look at the world.
Posted by Jeremy Trombley at 12:36 AM