The Fundamental Disruption of Industrial Time
Time, measuring the passage of time, and telling the time of day, are among the most fundamental aspects of human life. The Industrial Revolution changed how we tell time so fundamentally that we don’t even realize that there was ever another way. I call the current conventional format for measuring time “Industrial Time.”
You probably are familiar with Industrial Time as “time,” or “normal clocks,” or the answer to the question:
What time is it?
Our current time format is so widely adopted that it seems odd to give it a specific name to differentiate from another format for telling time – since we don’t currently use any other ways to tell time – but we should give it a name because it really is new. It is called “Industrial Time.”
Industrial Time and the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution has brought about such a pace of change that Industrial Time – despite its earth shaking consequences to our daily lives – is lost among numerous equally important and fundamental changes that we have quickly accepted as normal. What is really weird is we accept things so arbitrary and disconnected from natural reality simply because our lives are short and the generations that knew another way have died. The Industrial Revolution began around 1760, which at 25 years per generation, is about 10 generations past. 10 generations is not many, but it is enough to almost completely wipe away life experience of a different reality.
Our perception of the world is based on our own short realities. This works when the world remains the same for thousands of years at a time, but when the world changes fundamentally every two or three generations, we should make an effort to understand the changes. In my Industrial Change Surfing category, I consider industrial advancements that we accept as normal, even though they are all less than 10 generations old.