What Time Is It?

Many years ago the legendary band, Chicago, posed the simple yet thought provoking question, “Does anybody really know what time it is, does anybody really care?,” on one of their multiple hit recordings. The perception of time has completely changed, due to technology, since the classic tune was written in the early seventies. Back then the clock was a visual representation of past, present, and future time because the second and minute hands suggested a complete picture of what was, is, and will be. That notion (of authentic time) is best described by Jarice Hanson in the book 24/7. Digital time, on the other hand, now recognized by the majority of today’s technological society is only an illusion of the true time. The author goes on to explain how the digital age renders a counterfeit sense of what is by presenting only the current moment; therefore, offering just a fragment of the complete picture.

Occasionally, people do want to really know what time it is, but with the advancement in technology they’re sometimes literally incapable of figuring out the authentic time on their own. If the digital time they’ve grown accustom to, found on all of their cell phones, computer screens, and now commonly found even on their wrist watches, is unavailable to them then some people are clueless as to what time it actually is when a clock is their only source for telling time. This was quite evident, several years ago, when I owned a small music store at the height of the compact disc craze. Many high school students frequented my establishment to get their music fix.

I had a clock that resembled a cd, with functional second and minute hands, setting on my counter. I routinely would point to it whenever I was asked if I had the time. Time and time again I was shocked, and then saddened, by the number of teens who could not decipher the correct time when looking at the cd clock. Many of them would just stare intently at the shiny object as if they were being hypnotized. I finally gave up, after many failed attempts, trying to teach the high schoolers the apparent lost art of telling time. I was forced to admit this was no longer the seventies, and maybe nobody does really know what time it is.

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