Sunday, June 14, 2009

Machines-the urge to control time

From the standpoint of a person who is paying out to receive a service [INR 4718 million was paid out as bribes by rural households in 12 states, in one year] its almost always to make something happen quicker. So, things happen slower than is convenient (the provider) and services are required to be quicker (the consumer). These can sometimes be related. But to simplify things lets consider the situation at a very early stage of development of this problem, when the interdependence was rare. So, the first person who wanted to get a service out of turn and when the service provider was still not accustomed to the idea that the consumer would payup. Why did the person want the service out of turn?

This time factor, attempting or desiring to get things done or even requiring to get things done quicker than it normally would take is inherent in what we term growth in the artificial world. In the natural living world, growth is a function of time; but the function is programmed in the DNA, so that we can't quite change it within our lifetimes. However, in the world we perform in, to demonstrate growth we have two avenues. One, achieve/create more than we start with without tampering with the natural timescale of events. The term achieve is relative. If someone has already done what I want to do, I achieve nothing that is socially perceptible. Therefore, the second route is to tamper with the timescale and achieve something that has already been done, but quicker, hence implying the possibility of being able to achieve a net more within our equivalent lifetimes.

A citizen, who is against paying up for services is also, I feel, against recognizing the value of time in the sense I just described. For example, the answer to the question, what is the difference between the life of a eighteen year and a thirty eight year old in the Indian society, is not time! But when we try to control time do we destroy our social structure? Obviously not always, but perhaps when you try to accommodate 16% of the world population in 2.4% of the world's land area? Curiously, breeding was once upon a time the manifestation of prosperity. Now, very often human beings are born, here, to keep the family unit intact.

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