I’m in Hong Kong. Granted, I’m on holiday, so I have time on my hands. Yesterday I saw a poster that read “People who don’t have time make time for the Wall Street Journal”, and it struck me that not having time is considered a mark of value. It implies that having time to spare means you’re Johnny No-Mates, or can’t find work. What ever happened to “time to stand and stare?” – which could also mean time to gather and assess information, both external (ranging from politics to the changing seasons) and internal (from the felt sense that informs us how we really feel about a situation, to intimations of artistic inspiration). Time to consider whether the information we’re being given – by our senses, by the media – is valid, or congruent, or complete. Time to make connections, both externally and internally.
“Downtime” basically has three meanings: the time when a system is not functioning due to some sort of failure; the time when it is not functioning because some sort of maintenance is taking place; and the time when one is unproductive by choice, for the purpose of leisure.
In any living system, maintenance is constant, and necessary. “Not functioning” or “not productive” are relative to a relatively narrow view of the purpose of the system. But what is the purpose of a living system, other than to live?
At any rate, I’m very much enjoying Hong Kong. My son and daughter-in-law are wonderful hosts, and delightful company, and quite simply my favourite people in all the world.
And Hong Kong is certainly a busy place, full of life … and an impressive amount of maintenance, as Instagram photos will attest.