Clock time is a human invention. So it shouldn’t be a box that confines us; it should be a tool that helps us accomplish the things we care about.
But consider the system of standard time, first imposed by the railroad companies in the 1880s. It constrains people who live 1,000 miles apart—on opposite edges of their time zones—to get up and go to work or go to school at the same time, even though their local sunrise and sunset times may vary by an hour or more.
And it also consigns people who live on the eastern edges of their time zones to ludicrously early winter sunsets.
For over a century, we've been fiddling with standard time, adding complications such as Daylight Saving Time that are meant to give us a little more evening sunlight for at least part of the year.
But what if these are just palliatives for a broken system? What if it's time to reset the clock and try something completely different?
This is a guest story from the podcast Soonish, first published in 2021.
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