Pause for a moment to reflect upon what it would be like to have an eleven day week, or a three day week. What would a weekend look like in these fictional calendars? Imagine working two days and then having one day off, or having a three day weekend but an eight day week, or having an extra weekend halfway through the week. Imagine having no concept of a weekend at all. Does the idea of a week even make sense without it?
After money, the most significant cybernetic intervention in the history of our species is the calendar. From Stonehenge to calendar apps today, our cultural journey since the dawn of civilisation has been conditioned by this way of imagining the relationship between humans and time. The importance of the calendar to agriculture has gradually been occluded over the centuries by the way the organisation of days apportions festivals, and in contemporary life money and time have formed their own strange alliance as we gain money on working days, and expend it at the weekend.
I am a cyborg with many calendars. A day planner tells me what I need to be working upon at any given moment, and reminds me of birthdays, festivals, and visitations. A calendar hanging in the kitchen tells the whole family when I’m away, or which events are coming up. I unburden myself of my daily stress, one page at a time, into a diary that I have kept or more than three decades. My pocket robot’s digital diary chimes to remind me of something when I’m away from my desk. For me, these automated calendar systems are a last resort; for others, their entire life is coordinated by robots.
The day planner and I are cyber-reliable, cyber-productive, cyber-efficient; the practices I’ve formed through working with this simple technology have helped me overcome my absent mindedness and succeed at all manner of tasks that I would not have completed without its assistance. Unlike my wife, I cannot picture the relationship between days without looking directly at a calendar. I have learned and developed calendar practices that allow me to get more out of my time.
Once you learn to use it well, the robotic calendar operated from a phone of computer potentially offers similar cybervirtues, and practical benefits such as being able to coordinate calendars with multiple people. Mind you, so does the calendar in my kitchen, and its battery never runs out, nor does it ever crash. What makes calendars effective, ultimately, is sharing the same calendar system, and we have all now (regardless of our religious backgrounds) adopted one in particular that has been maintained for a great many centuries by the Catholic church. Computers have not revolutionised this cybernetic tool – our robots have simply joined in with the same game our ancestors have been playing for millennia.