More and more I have been thinking about the relationship between time and space.
They have a very direct relationship. The more attention you pay to time the less room you have for space. The more you try to maximize time, the less spacious you can be.
They are two very different values and each has their place.
What Makes Time And Space Clash?
Western cultures embrace a viewpoint that values speed as a way to increase productivity and a way to challenge limits. Speed forces focus and resources to one objective. Speed is force.
Speed, which accelerates time, creates an alternate reality. Speed increases intensity and forces us to compress our effort and attention into a small space of time. When we increase our intensity we are burning up our own resources – physical, mental and emotional.
Speed consumes the space of our attention as well and in doing so removes other matters from our attention. Emergencies then become the highest claim for our attention. The easiest way to control the human agenda is through emergencies. They control the social space and attention space and shove simpler, often more important considerations to the side.
Speed And Creativity
Some people think that by going fast you can bypass the critical mind and negative programming, which will, therefore, free you to be more creative. Essentially, speed is being used to shut out parts of ourselves that may be wounded or rejected to increase our productivity. We are shutting out parts of ourselves through speed.
There can be validity to these methods because focus is important. However, it seems unfortunate that we have to deny important parts of ourselves in the pursuit of desired results. Whenever we reject parts of ourselves, we lose an ally for our creativity. There is always a price to pay for denying aspects of ourselves which we need to be fully functioning.
When we work this way we are using time to control space – the space of our attention. But what we are doing is trying to trick ourselves into being focused and effective.
Time And Productivity
The evidence is all around us that speed is not a good basis for living or problem-solving. Whatever we achieve through speed often comes at a high cost.
Relying on speed is an attempt to achieve success by rushing. And if we can rush those who are on the receiving end of our rushed work, perhaps they can be rushed into not noticing the flawed work they are receiving.
Time And Space As Values
Time pressure actually makes us stingy with our time and attention. It causes us to become sloppy. It forces us to value that which consumes little time over that which might be relevant, material and valuable – but time-consuming. It harms us when we need to do good work and are rushed into something less than our best. It causes us to feel bad about ourselves, and over time erodes our self-esteem and will cause us to question our worth. Deep down we know something is wrong.
Space is such a different value. Space lets a situation or task’s requirements dictate the attention we bring to it. Space is generous. Space is where our receptivity meets the world’s needs. It helps us connect to life with generosity.
When we make space for whatever we need to make space for – learning, grieving, work – we are also making space for ourselves. We don’t have to look over our shoulders hoping that we are not in someone’s way or out of step with a schedule that has no room for us. Space lets us be who we are and bring what we bring to the table. Space looks to let information in not shut out what it does not want. Space does not have a predetermined outcome.
Space works with not against. Space is communitarian and ecological, not competitive. Space includes everything so there is nothing to reject or exclude. Space is a kind of heaven. Time pressure is a kind of hell. For highly sensitive people, environments that have a value of space are the ones that make the most sense for their holistic natures.