The Fruits of Civilization (22-11) Time Is Money

Time Is Money

Medieval conquest of clockwork had implications beyond mechanical manipulation and labor-saving. Clocks made people more aware of the passing of time within the day.

While the concept that “time is money” dates at least to the ancient Greeks, the increasing ubiquity of clocks introduced greater punctuality into human affairs.

Coupled with commerce, technology – especially clockwork – fostered an empowering mental shift about the material world. Man appeared no longer a mere pawn of natural forces. Nature now seemed to be something which could be tamed and harnessed for profit.

The clock paradigmatically inspired science. Shortly after Dondi completed his clock, French philosopher Nicole Oresme compared the dynamics of the universe to clockwork, created and regulated by the supreme clockmaker: God.

Oresme’s mechanical mantra was taken up by Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and other natural philosophers. Its appeal was a cognizable cosmos, instilling a mind-set that intended to codify the workings of the world via axioms.

This mechanistic worldview would dominate science to the present day. Formulaic approaches to physics and genetics have suffered as an avalanche of facts insist upon subtle complexities which have shown sophistic models as rough approximations at best. Humanity doesn’t have the math to model what lies beyond its blinkered understanding.