Pressure of time

project "monsters of modernity" #3

painting, acrylic on wood, 2 x 1 m


We hear and articulate this monster’s favorite phrase many times a day: I have no time! We have been measuring time in seconds long since. However, the limited number of seconds does not restrict the amount of desires for ways in which to spend our time. Pressure originates from the disparity between ʺdesireʺ and ʺrealityʺ. Due to the enormous number and omnipresence of options, our desires grow and grow – too much for a 24-hour day. I believe, the idiom ʺto keep up with the timesʺ needs to be replaced with ʺto chase after the timesʺ.

                Time for self-care, for bodily well-being; time for work, for every-day duties; time for social activity; and enough time to stay up-to-date und to react to developments, in order to be successful in society. Still, this is only for personal use – in addition, relatives, friends, and acquaintances demand time. Nevertheless, a day was and always will consist of just 24 hours. Since the time at our disposal is a constant, pressure can develop, for example like this: Imagine you need a pot. If the shop shelf displays only three different pots, then you choose one and go home. Today however, not only can you find ten different kinds of pot, but also two microwaves and a steam oven. Now, in the moment of choice, you start to think  ̶  which product is more useful, and why do you feel as though you don’t have enough money?

                We experience the same situation with our time: A variety of options generates time pressure. Not only do we have the ability to choose from many different activities – we have to, constantly. And with every decision made, we lose all of the options that we would have liked to pursue, too. Consequently, each of our choices is flawed. Availability of attractive, yet unrealizable alternatives produces such a negative perception. This is the basis for the phrase: I have no time! — from the mouth of the monster that we have created ourselves.


In this situation, it seems defiant when people ʺsacrificeʺ their time, spending hours with unproductive hobbies, or sleeping off their intoxication from last night. Naturally, the continuous frustration of underachievement seduces many people to excessive behavior, even if (and especially when) it is considered foolish. In this way, time pressure acquires a tragic dimension: In the attempt of freeing oneself from constant pressure, much time is being lost, but only brief relief can be gained.