Friday, February 28, 2003

At last, I have triumphed over Kronos!

This morning, I arrived on campus and parked my bike as usual. But before I entered my office, I realized that I was duty-bound to supply a king cake for my co-workers. (I got the baby from the king cake we had last week. It's a Carnival tradition, at least in New Orleans.)

I was very near a phone, so I could have clocked in with Kronos before making my way to the bakery across the street. That would not have been entirely honest, but the thought did enter my mind. I was tempted by the thought of an early mark on my record. It would certainly look better if I clocked in at 7:45 AM rather than 8:00, right?

But, then again, although I was near a phone, it would certainly be more convenient for me to proceed directly to the store. That would be the honest thing to do as well. I would lose my "early mark" but I would regain my dignity.

My spirits began to rise as I walked past the entrance to my office. I felt as if a weight had been lifted, and I suddenly realized a certain irony: By keeping this journal, I have been caring too much about Kronos. I need to care less, but how can I learn to care less when writing an entry in this journal is a part of my daily routine?

I muttered a curse under my breath -- I cursed Kronos, for the first time ever. My spirits were soaring now. Without warning, my perspective on Kronos had shifted radically. I was no longer cowering in fear before the God of Time, I was cursing him, cursing and laughing. It felt so good, I wondered if I would ever be able to discuss Kronos without cursing.

Somehow, I had regained my pride.

I've remembered to clock in and out almost every day so far this year. That's odd, because by nature, I am a forgetful, even absent-minded person. (Ask anyone who knows me.) I've only managed to be so faithful to Kronos because of the daily ritual of this journal, which keeps Kronos uppermost in my thoughts.

In today's information economy, attention is the most prized currency of all, and I have been offering Kronos too much of it.

As I mentioned, Carnival time is upon us, and Mardi Gras is just around the corner. I won't be writing in this journal for the next few days. Perhaps on Ash Wednesday, when I return to my routine, I will have something more to say.

Or perhaps I will begin a new campaign, to think about Kronos as little as possible, and never write here again. Who knows?

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Yesterday afternoon we were notified that Kronos was down and that we would not be able to clock out in the usual fashion.

I felt like I had been released from my electronic leash. Sweet freedom! I left the office with a song in my heart.

Today things are back to normal. But it's nice to know that even the God of Time can stumble on occasion.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

I thought I would quote John Holloway for today's entry:

The negation of doing is the homogenisation of time... The doing of today is subordinated to the doing of yesterday, the doing of tomorrow can only be conceived as a continuation of the doing of today. Time then becomes tick-tick time, clock time, like a length of railway track.

Tick-tick time measures duration, a being separated from doing, an existence separated from constitution. Capitalism is the separating of objects from their subjects, of things which are from the doing that made them, of existence from constitution. This separating creates duration, the notion that things 'are', independent of the doing which created them. Value, for instance, appears to have an existence independent of the self-divided doing which created it: Marx's Capital (the labour theory of value) is above all an attack on duration, a critique of the separation of existence and constitution, a restoration in thought of the doing denied by duration.

One of the great advantages of this homogeneous time, duration-time, is that it can be broken up into periods, into lengths of time. This is crucial to the organisation of work in the factory and in the office and in the schools and universities. Homogeneous time is crucial in the organising of the doing of others for whom doing is purpose-less, object-less labour.

But it goes further than that. It permeates our social thought, the way we shape and think about our social relations. Time becomes stodgy, almost solid, something that can be cut into wedges, into periods, into paradigms, a million miles removed from the timeless-time of intense love or engagement.

From "Time to Revolt - Reflections on Empire" by John Holloway

Monday, February 24, 2003

Creativity comes in spurts, but Kronos does not.

As a creative worker, I am faced every day with the problem of inspiration. Where will I find the next idea for this project or that project? Some people speak of the Muse, but I believe that such inspiration comes from within.

But inspiration is not like a faucet. You don't just turn it on and pour it out. It comes in spurts. Sometimes it gushes, and somethimes it doesn't come at all.

Often, when I'm struggling with a particularly vexing problem, I need to get out of the office and do something else, like get my hair cut. I'm thinking about the problem all the while, but the distraction of getting out of the office and dealing with other things helps clear my mind and refeshes my perspective. Usually, by the time that I get back to the office, I have a solution, or at least the beginnings of a solution.

But Kronos doesn't recognize that, because our current policy dictates that we use Kronos to track attendance, not actual work.