A selection from the Pomodoro Technique book that has, for some reason, stuck with me recently:
According to the work of Bergson and Minkowski, two profoundly interrelated aspects seem to coexist with reference to time:
- Becoming. An abstract, dimensional aspect of time, which gives rise to the habit of measuring time (seconds, minutes, hours); the idea of representing time on an axis, as we would spatial dimensions; the concept of the duration of an event (the distance between two points on the temporal axis); the idea of being late (once again the distance between two points on the temporal axis).
- The succession of events. A concrete aspect of temporal order: we wake up, we take a shower, we have breakfast, we study, we have lunch, we have a nap, we play, we eat, and we go to bed. Children come to have this notion of time before they develop the idea of abstract time which passes regardless of the events that take place.
Of these two aspects, it is becoming that generates anxiety – it is, by nature, elusive, indefinite, infinite: time passes, slips away, moves toward the future. If we try to measure ourselves against the passage of time, we feel inadequate, oppressed, enslaved, defeated, more and more with every second that goes by. We lose our élan vital, our vital contact, which enables us to accomplish things. “Two hours have gone by and I’m still not done; two days have gone by and I’m still not done.” In a moment of weakness, the purpose of the activity at hand is often no longer even clear. The succession of events, instead, seems to be the less anxiety-ridden aspect of time. At times it may even represent the regular succession of activity, a calm-inducing rhythm.
This post has not been revised since publication.