At the “happy at work” workshops, we always talk about the value of breaks. Of having five minutes a day, where you’re not working, talking, mailing or phoning. A non-time where you can become centered and grounded and aware of yourself and your surroundings. At the last workshop, a participant told me about the norwegian anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen who has written a book called The tyranny of the moment, in which he argues that we are loosing our pauses. He says, that it is in the silent spaces between doing things that we can take on new ideas and contemplate change.
Thomas Eriksen argues that slow time – private periods where we are able to think and correspond coherently without interruption – is now one of the most precious resources we have, and it is becoming a major political issue. Since we are now theoretically “online” 24 hours a day, we must fight for the right to be unavailable – the right to live and think more slowly. It is not only that working hours have become longer – Eriksen also shows how the logic of this new information technology has, in the space of just a few years, permeated every area of our lives. This is equally true for those living in poorer parts of the globe usually depicted as outside the reaches of the information age, as well as those in the West.