About 25 years ago, the grade-school aged girl was asked by an adult to tell him the time of day. She could see the large round clock on the wall but all she was able to say was, “The big hand is on the 8 and the small hand is on the 5.” He asked her what part of telling time she did not understand or needed help to learn, and wondered, to himself, why at her age a basic skill usually taught at home and in school was not yet within her understanding.
To show him that she could tell time, the girl took her digital wristwatch out of her backpack and then said proudly, “It’s now exactly 8:45 PM; I don’t really know how to read time from the round clock, yet.” The digital time was easier to read, but she did not understand fully how the analog time piece was related to the digital reading. Eventually, she did learn the analog version of telling time and also mastered the 24-hour time equivalents to AM and PM. She adjusting to and realized the digital and analog correlation by accepting, practicing, doing, learning it.
Part of being human is being an analog entity, with our biological systems keeping us functioning without our direct attention, as we use our natural brain functions to navigate our internal and external worlds. That navigation and movement includes our observations, interpretations, and responses to our momentary experience(s). Individually, we experience our own unique responses that can bring us new insights or thoughts that may move us in another direction than predicted. In contrast, the digital world is built on circuits, coding and programming that gives intended and more predictable outcomes that are far beyond that seen with the early digital watches.
Today, everyone is challenged in one way or another by the digital advancements, not only in timepieces, but in most every part of daily life. Are certain “basic skills” being ignored and lost by the newest generation, like reading analog clocks, which is falsely claimed to be the reason for their removal in certain parts of the UK school system? Or, are the older generations not recognizing the shift in concepts, their advantage(s), or even seeing their own adaptations to them? Certainly, new physical skills and mental capabilities are emerging and, maybe unnoticed, being accepted as “basic” parts of current analog approaches of all age groups.
Retaining our relevance means recognizing we are analog beings that can change our views and approaches without new digital reprogramming. So, keep the round clock, bring in some digital timepieces and other of the amazing technological tools, and move ahead in your acceptance of the new. Which are correct or best for you? Time will tell!
- by James R. Plautz