It’s soul-tormenting. For those who always awake in the dark, February starts to offer the hope of some early morning light. It brings cheer and optimism into late winter. We are awaking from the long night, only to be plunged back into darkness in an act of sheer, collective insanity. For many weeks we’ll be tired all the time. Less productive. Automobile accidents will increase. Finally, around mid-April, the early light will return. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I like Daylight Saving Time. I see no logical reason, however, to set our clocks back in the fall. What good does it do? Gradual change is much easier on the human psyche, so why do we force a sudden shock to the system twice a year? If the apocalypse ever actually happens it will be when we set our clocks forward.
Human hubris messes with time. Many people simply accept the time shift as something we “have to do.” We don’t. In the technological age there is no reason to continue what was initially a war-time effort to use light to increase production. Hey, look, it didn’t prevent wars from happening. All it causes are wicked huge yawns and their knock-on effects. Time is a valuable commodity and yet we waste it twice annually, with abandon. People as a group are a lethargic bunch. The threat of war led the world to adopt a measure to shift light into the evening time, but for only part of the year. Why not all the year?
When I commuted into New York City I often stood waiting for the bus in the dark. Late February would come and some cheer at standing in the cold (there was no bus shelter) was possible with the faint streaks of dawn arriving before the bus, like the earth finally opening its sleepy eye. March would come and I was once again in the dark. Finally, about a month later the light would return. Is it necessary to climb the same hill twice? Can’t we just spring forward and leave it at that? There will be lots of yawns at work tomorrow. People will be careless while driving. It may even lead to deaths. There’s no reason to do this, but we keep on, as if it were some kind of divine command. I’ve yet to meet one person—no wait, there was one—who thinks this system works. Empty ritual is the worst kind.