Last night I was tickled to watch a new movie called In Time with Justin Timberlake. The premise of the movie is as follows: In the future, humans have been genetically engineered to have a digital biological clock timing their lives. The first 25 years are free, but after that it’s all about the hustle in order to get the next day’s time. The catch is that, if you can figure out how to get rich then you essentially become immortal.
JT’s character ends up being given a century worth of time by a disillusioned rich person. And so the plot continues with JT becoming part Robin Hood and part futuristic Bonnie and Clyde. He robs the time banks and redistributes the wealth! All in all, a very timely story…
So their economy is based on time not money. As I was watching this movie put into practice the mantra that “time is money” (a statement I fundamentally disagree with), I found myself feeling even stronger the necessity of removing money from our culture.
I realize that I’m in the minority about this money stuff. For some deplorable reason, people love their money (we need to be consistently reminded that it is the root of evil). I was having a little twitter debate the other day and my conversant said something like “money is older than language.” How he knows this without time travel remains unclear. However, it is likely that some form of trade existed before language.
But I have no patience for these people that argue that money has always been with us, and so they assume that the future will have money in it as well. Why do we continue to hold onto money? Is it merely for the sake of progress? Why not evolve into a society where we are all free and equal?
Money is a tool that can help people accomplish amazing projects, and it is also true that great good can be done when the money is in the right hands. But if money didn’t exist, then we would all be economically equal and there would be no need to worry that money might fall into the wrong hands. Unfortunately the money is already in the wrong hands of too many people in this world. That is why we occupy. There is too much money in the hands of mountaintop removers, and tar sand frackers, and fertilizer companies, and forest clear-cutters – you’ve heard it all before.
I think that it is a cruel joke played on humanity that people bought into the lie that time is money. Time is time. And time itself is a functionary of the machine.
If we were able to safely de-colonize America tomorrow and rely on our own communal bonds of humanity rather than time and money holding us together, then we would no longer have any need for time nor money. We could welcome nature back into our cities and follow the natural cycles of the sun and the moon and the tide and the seasons.
The concept of time allows us to scrutinize and micro-manage our lives to such a degree that people who are skilled at it should be considered obsessive compulsive at least and insane at most. In truth, time has nothing to do with living the good life. Time, like money, is nothing but another human construction designed to control and oppress.
And yet, we find ourselves in a race against the clock. Everyday we pull more oil and coal from the ground and put it into our atmosphere. Everyday we dump more pesticides and herbicides on our farm land. Everyday that poison runs into rivers to create giant dead spots in our oceans. Everyday 200 species of life go extinct. How long until humans are next? This race against the clock is a race to sustainability. It’s my deepest hope that this race doesn’t culminate in a “last man standing” ethos, but that instead, we can all transform our lives and dismantle the machine of industry and technology to leave it alone forever.