The Time Paradox

Please note: This is a more free-form brainstorming piece done in anticipation of a fuller paper surrounding a new idea in interaction design. Out of context, it may not translate well. I simply needed to get the idea out (publicly).

The Time Paradox gave me an interesting Aha! moment. In its section on the benefits of reading the book and implementing the time principles (?) into your life, one word jumped off the page at me: MORE

I imagined the claim hidden in this notion: More is better. The reason you’re unhappy/dissatisfied is that you lack. You have less. If you start living your life according to the time principles presented in this book, then you can have more. If you can have more, then you will be (become?) happier and more satisfied than you are now. Therefore, if you start living your life according to the time principles presented in this book, you will be happier and more satisfied than you are now. The problem with this argument is that having more does not necessarily make one happier. Having more of anything (including time!) …Wealthy families still suffer unhappiness. Celebrities who have a lot turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their lives. Employees with a lot of time on their hands suffer boredom and actually realize that even though they may have more time, they have less to do.

Life is made up of tensions, and this book addresses one such tension: having versus lacking. And one could make a strong argument, depending on the context, for either state of being. If one could make a strong case for either state of being, then one acknowledges each state of being has its benefits in a particular context. If each state of being has its benefits within a particular context, then we can say of neither state that, in general, it is better or preferable to the other. We can only evaluate the merits and demerits in context.

We can say, however, that sometimes it is better to have and sometimes it is better to lack. It follows from this principle that a good life is not one constituted by a surfeit of having or a surfeit of lacking, but rather by the ability to negotiate
the relationship between the two. A good life is one which evaluates particular lived-scenarios in order to determine whether it is better (preferable?) to have or to lack and takes the necessary steps in order to position one’s self such that one lacks or has, in accordance with the outcome of the evaluation. There is the necessary third step of reflecting on the evaluation and positioning in order to determine whether or not this was the best path to take…but this step can only happen after the evaluation and positioning.

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