Does the left really know what time it is?
Does anybody really know what time it is? The band Chicago asked that question back in 1970. It's a memorable song and a sly question. But the more intriguing question is the follow-up: does anybody really care — about what time? The last half adds complexity by introducing the interrogative pronoun, what, as in, what sort of time are we talking about? The left and Marxism ignore the question, probably on purpose. It is their fatal flaw.
To take an antediluvian long view when Adam, Jared, and Methuselah lived over nine hundred years is different from a post-diluvian long view when historical figures died off at roughly our current life expectancy. Time manifests itself relatively even though we can glance at our Apple Watch. We follow different metronomes. One person can be wound tighter than an alarm clock. Another person can be a very Bill Murray mellow. We all are on the same clock but synchronize with it uniquely. Objectively or subjectively, time is the uncompromising essence of mortality.
Our doctors may ask us to measure pain or suffering on a scale of one to ten, but what really concerns us is how long is it going to last, hence the word agonizing. Addictions are thus a way to cope with time. Recovering alcoholics measure their recovery in days sober. Time often seems a conundrum, but it is also the greatest challenge facing humanity, and it is naturally insoluble on purpose.
To solve intractable problems of the human condition is at the center of the left or Marxism. The most we can do is ameliorate some suffering, but we cannot completely solve or eliminate it. Aspects of the human condition can be improved, but the condition itself is a given. That given is time.
Time imposes a hard stop on what the left wants to accomplish, which amounts to utopian visions of eliminating suffering and guaranteeing equity. Okay — then what? That's the big question for utopias. Will we look for ways to fill up the extra time on our hands? What great things do we do? In Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End, he notes that "the supreme enemy of utopia is boredom."
Imagine living in a world where there is no sense of urgency and time is never of the essence. Even if someone has a superb idea, in a world with little suffering and organized equality, who would even be interested in moving that idea forward? China with all its ideal communist organizing has to put Uyghurs in labor camps to make Amazon's products cheaper. How is that possibly a civilized advancement toward a Marxist utopia? So Uyghurs in labor camps are the broken eggs on the way to the omelet?
Ideology always comes with grand visions of human perfectibility, but humankind is not perfectible in mortality because mortality can exist only in the inescapable medium of time. Ideology in general and in particular is organized around a fundamental false hope that after some ill-defined long march through the institutions, sufficient government programs and regulations can manipulate or organize a self-perpetuating civilization so that bands like Chicago will never ask such a ridiculous question as "does anybody really know what time it is?"
Spruce Fontaine is an artist and a retired college art instructor.
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