The Waiting Gain
How the Time We Don't Think About Shapes Our Livesby Karen Shih ’09 | illustrations by Hailey Hwa Shin
Waiting: that mundane, invisible, in-between time that we notice only when it becomes a nuisance.
We order through an app to avoid more minutes in a Starbucks line; schedule the first doctor’s appointment of the day to head off delays; grab a flight with a squeaker of a connection to keep from spending an extra second in the airport.
But what if we’ve been thinking about waiting all wrong?
“We like to imagine our futures and reflect on our pasts, but we are so rarely in the present—or if we are, it’s a struggle to get there. Waiting is one of those experiences that puts us in the present,” says American studies Associate Professor Jason Farman, who’s writing a book on the subject. “I’m interested in human perception… how we actually experience time. If our true nature is waiting, as the Zen Buddhists say, then what does it say about us that we try to eliminate it out of our lives?”
Waiting provides a unique perspective into a culture’s views on relationships and knowledge, he says. The expectations and emotions we feel as we wait—decades or months or milliseconds—color the messages we receive.
Farman, a digital technology expert, offers a glimpse, from the dawn of civilization right up to our current, instant-gratification society, of how evolving technologies have changed our relationship with the waiting game.
Farman's book, "Waiting for Word: How Delays Have Shaped History, Love, War, Technology, and Everything We Know," will be published by Yale University Press in 2017.
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Fantastic perspective on the beauty of waiting
How beautiful. The writing and the artwork.
I enjoyed this. I'm very interested in this book l