29 January, 2004

Thoughts on the perception of time


Not complete, obviously; only brainstorming and didn’t want to forget…
I don’t live by the same clock civilians do. I never did, I think; but for damn certain I do not now. I have always looked at time through the filter of mission accomplishment. I could go 96 hours straight if necessary to accomplish the mission. Coffee, cigarettes, and excitement kept me going. I was a dynamo.
As I got older, and became responsible for the lives of others, I realized I could not sacrifice my sleep, I had to learn to delegate. If I sacrificed my sleep, I would soon begin making piss poor decisions. And that would be a stupid thing to do; try to do it all and I would fail my men. Learn to delegate, and I could get the required 4 hours at least, cat nap here and there; in order to delegate, I had to trust the competence, motivation, loyalty and dedication of the troops, or at least that of my squad leaders.
People don’t delegate out of fear that they will be shown up (because the troops did it by themselves or under the supervision of another) or the mission will fall (better to learn this in training, so that the cause can be rectified). People think that they have to do it all themselves, and pretty soon, they have to. And then of course they are martyrs about it. Shut the fuck up, I say to them. I don’t want anyone to martyr themselves, and I damn sure ain’t gonna do it. Mostly, I think people who do not delegate are afraid to because they know in their heart of hearts that they have not done all they can to train their subordinates. There, I said it. That’s right, I judge. Judge me back. I loved the ORTEP; a test the Army of One would shit if it had to take. Test me, test my men, make us better, for fucks sake; don’t be afraid to dig as deep as necessary to root out any weakness in the chain. I wanted to always come back, and my men and I did. Lucky, yes. But we also cut the cards, by training our asses off.
Accomplish the mission, that is the Primary concern; all Tao should be focused on that goal. And the Tao should be relentlessly reshaped and forged; because the more one sweats in peacetime, the less one bleeds in war. It is just good self serving wanna stay alive instincts to keep myself trained. It is good self serving want the mission to succeed (which means that we win, minimal losses, and go home to make babies) to keep my men trained. There is nothing at all altruistic about my service. I did it for me.
If anyone benefited from my worth, it was pure icing. I did it because I value the concepts outlined in the Constitution. I also loved to excel, and I loved to train others to excel; and damn we were good.
But this is about time, right? I digress…
I don’t work a normal shift, I am a swing shifter. I do a good 60 hours a week of the ‘work’ I set out, still; I can sometimes go up to 120 hours, or sometimes I give myself a vacation. I might go three days in a row, and then sleep for twenty hours, if the mission will allow. I make my own missions now, and I enjoy being the Ops Sergeant AND the approving authority. Nothing quite so frustrating as coming up with a damn fine plan to have it ignored or fucked up by the brass. But, they are the brass; it is their ultimate responsibility, so they have the ultimate say. I am fine with that relationship, or I was.
Anyway, I have my own clock, it is not related to the clock in the hall. It is internal. I determine my time to sleep, eat, motivate. I do it to accomplish the mission; anytime could be morning to me.
But, I freaking hate morning. Never saw a reason to get out of bed before the crack of noon, really. I did, cause I had to; and then I did, cause the troops were watching; troops only do what you demonstrate and prove possible, and profitable.
Anywho….Time…The Great Limiter. I hate the clock. I hate the Gregorian calendar. We made our own calendar this year and will continue to refine it as we get more in sync with Nature at the farm. I think I will use hands of time instead of minutes and hours. We also decided to count our days in the Celtic and Judaic manner, days beginning at sundown and ending at sundown, instead of any other variation.
I decided to do this initially in order to embrace my roots better; I sold the idea to Hyacinthe. Time is irrelevant; it truly is. The only reason it matters is because we decided it did. Down to seconds and crap; who needs that? On a time to fire, ok, seconds count. When ready fire for effect, ok, seconds count. On a danger close mission, seconds cost lives, as does lack of accuracy. I had no time to hesitate; which is why one needs to be fully committed, or get the hell out of the way. Combat is no time for soul searching. It is too late. Combat is the time to act; and goddess help us if we are not trained to standards.
But Time, what is it to me? Nothing. Nothing at all. When will planting time be here? I measure it by the moon. When is dinner, I measure it by the sun, or the state of my current mission. I eat when I am done. Time means nothing.
And then, BAM! Epiphany. The Celts, my beloved Ancestors were friggin brilliant, if they thought about it the way I did. I hate mornings, what a shitty way to start the day, by waking up, and I hate to wake up.
The Celts started their day by Relaxing after ‘yesterdays’ work (it is evening tide, grok?), then they eat dinner, have sex, party if it is festival, and sleep. These are some of my favorite activities. How brilliant. They didn’t wake up till midway through their day, what is noon to us, merely because they counted time different. They started their day with the best part of the day, then it ENDED with waking up and work, and then one is DONE!, instead of STARTING with these two most un-lazy requirements of life.
I am simply amazed at the sheer simplicity of this.

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