“Rapid urbanization is the fastest, most intense social phenomenon that ever happened to humankind, perhaps to biology on Earth. I think we can now start to understand in new and better ways why this is happening everywhere and ultimately what it means for our species and for our planet.” — Luis Bettencourt, Sante Fe Institute
Just as religion informed the dawn of civilized man, so too do these 21st century stories act as a shield - protecting our sanity from an overwhelming sensation of entropic change. We are trying to find the signal in the noise. But increasingly, the noise is becoming louder and louder. It’s like this treadmill we’re running on has reached a speed we can’t keep up with. Today’s prowess Kairos is being pushed into yesterday’s fleeting Chronos. It’s a collision of dizzying proportions… everything happens now.
M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i. Tick. M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i. Tock. And on and on… and on and on it goes. Time. It’s linear, chronological and calendrical. It used to have its own tower, then moved to our wrists, and since the middle of the 20th century has been digitally scored by our tools. It’s whole existence obeys a precise sequentiality that yields 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, etc, etc.
Timing, however, is a whole ‘nother beast. Timing is being in tune with the moment. Being present and (un)consciously in harmony with your surroundings. Timing is perceiving the malleability of time, mindfully utilizing it to do, or just, to be. In the process of timing something you’re usually not thinking about time but rather your opportunity in time.
The Greeks distinctly separated these concepts, referring to time as Chronos and timing as Kairos. Chronos captures the mundanity of moment-to-moment life; Kairos, on the other hand, captures the moments in life that feel like a universe in and of itself.
Think of yourself up late at night, headphones juiced with your favorite music as you delve down into the rabbit hole of some Internet backlog; Discovering some ancient or newfound wisdom; Writing code; Feeling like you are transcending all of your previous limits… Kairos is that sensation of great revelation; Chronos is the hour that’s passed on the clock.
Austin is weird. The town’s tagline, “a collaborative fission of coordinated individualism,” is part hilarious and part profound. However it really is on point... the town is extra-ordinarily unique. Maybe it’s the ratio of dive bars to coffee shops, or the endless live music and array of life-changing BBQ, but there's definitely something brewing in the heart of Texas - and each March its flying colors become magnified when South by Southwest hits the scene. What started in 1987 as a music festival with 700 registrants has turned into a gathering of prodigious proportions. Tens of thousands of people now celebrate the 10-day event, which has become a fusion of technology, entertainment, and all-things relevant and / or remarkable. It's chaotic at times, with keynotes popping into the fray with just a tweet heads up - attendees have to always be on their toes. But it's all so much fun and worth the trip. SXSW is a crazy, quirky melting pot of themes, voices and vibes, which each year manifests a kaleidoscopic experience unlike anything in the world today.
“The possibilities that lie in the future are infinite. When I say ‘It is our duty to remain optimists,’ this includes not only the openness of the future but also that which all of us contribute to it by everything we do: we are all responsible for what the future holds in store. Thus it is our duty, not to prophesy evil but rather to fight for a better world.”