Recommended ReadsApril 13th, 2021

Time is accelerating, and it’s exhausting

Shona Curvers
Shona Curvers, Senior Design Researcher

I think I just figured out why I’m so tired all the time, and it’s not because I don’t eat enough steak. It’s because the world is accelerating. At least that’s the perspective proposed by Google’s Director of Engineering, Michael Simmons.

Informed by a whole bunch of books he’s read on the subject, his article starts by making the point that life on earth must compete to survive, and evolution consists of biological adaptations over time to do just that. This is not a new suggestion. He then goes on to introduce the concept of the evolution of ideas.

“Now, here’s where the big difference between biology and ideas is. While human biology evolves so slowly we don’t notice, ideas (cultures, strategies, technologies, etc.) evolve so quickly, we can’t keep up. Idea evolution is like biological evolution on steroids.”

This acceleration has clear implications for the business world, with employees working longer hours, companies striving endlessly to innovate and remain at the top, and competition more intense than ever. But it also has implications on the pace of life more generally. Films are developed more quickly; people are increasingly consuming content in fast forward; and language is developing to accommodate shorthand and slang.

With the inexorable and exponential acceleration of the universe, it’s no wonder I’m tired.


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