We live in a world where objective views and measurements take priority. We often try to quantify everything so that we can make a rational analysis. When it comes to making policy decisions or interacting with others I really have no problem with this. It makes complete sense in order to operate as justly as possible. Out here on the road the purpose and need is less clear.
When I have a route that takes me through lots of roads, twists, and turns it is generally necessary for me to pay close attention to time and place. If I don’t want to get lost I need to know where I am I relation to where I want to be, not that getting lost is really a bad thing but if I’m avoiding that objective measurements are necessary.
A problem starts to develop for me when I’m not frequently changing roads. I’ve been on HWY 54 for almost a week now. I have all the cities mapped out by mileage and I really shouldn’t look at my mileage or speed unless I’m in need of help or when I stop at a town so that I can prepare for the next portion of the journey. Unfortunately this is not the case, I’m constantly looking at my miles travelled. I fight the urge but it is there and I give in often (nurture or nature I’m unable to decide). The need to measure time and place becomes at best a distraction and at worse an obsession that diminishes the quality of existence.
We often say that “time flies when you’re having fun”, I think that is because for once you have shut down the need to measure time. I could just as easily say “time flies when I’m riding through beauty” or “when I’m contemplating great ideas”. Our brains seem incapable of both measuring quantity and enjoying quality. I don’t know if it’s a left brain-right brain thing but I know I would benefit from some more quality time without objective measurements. These measurements may be necessary for coordination and communication between people but they can also take away from the quality of your life experience.
I think this is actually part of the appeal of some drugs, particularly hallucinogens. As Aldous Huxley talked about in “Doors of Perception”, the use of mescaline made time and place unimportant but beauty and connection with the universe became powerful. I think the same can be said of other drugs MDMA, LSD, alcohol, and even the internal chemicals released during sex or meditation. The use of these is an attempt to pull away from a world obsessed with time, place, and objectivity. We seek the subjective and the pleasures that come from the moment without concern for time and place.
I’m glad to get out of the objective world occasionally and I think I’m a better and happier person because of it.