A couple of weeks ago I saw a movie called “In Time” that had a very interesting story line. It made me start thinking of how important time and money are in our lives. Then I saw a old quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower and I started to think a lot about the relationship between guns, money and time. Let me explain more below.
The Movie – “In Time”
While I was wasting some time one weekend recently (sometimes when I feel like I need to “relax”, I just mindlessly watch some TV), I found a movie called “In Time” starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. The plot is well described in detail on this linked page, but I’ll give my brief summary here.
The movie is set in a future where it has been discovered how to prevent ageing so that people can live forever. Only problem is that not every can live forever because there just wouldn’t be room, so the rich have devised a way to ensure most people die before they live too long. When every baby is born it somehow has a digital clock embedded in its forearm so you can see time counting down through the skin. A baby has one-year of time on its clock and this begins to count down at the age of twenty-five. When the time on the clock runs out, the person is said to have “timed-out” and they die. This doesn’t mean that everyone dies at the age of 26 though.
In such a world, time has become the only meaningful currency. When somebody works, their salary is paid in time added to the clock on their arm. When somebody buys food, they give some of the time on their clock for it. When somebody gets mugged and robbed, it’s to steal the time from the persons clock.
What this all means is that rich people have so much time on their clocks that, practically, they’ll live forever, but they have to protect themselves in safe areas of the city to ensure this time isn’t stolen from them. The rich people control the government and control wages, taxation and pricing in such a way so the “non-rich people” keep dying at a rapid enough rate. They need enough of them alive to do the work they want done, but not too many to use up excess resources. To keep this balance going, they are constantly increasing taxes and raising prices.
Can you see an interesting parallel to the world we live in right now? It’s a fairly obvious commentary on today’s society.
Thought provoking situations
There are several situations in the movie that I found really interesting. One of these was the fact that nobody ever looks older than 25 because they’ve found how to stop ageing. A daughter looks 25, her father looks 25, her grandmother looks 25, and on and on. That’s a bit freaky. Everyone looks young, no matter how old they are.
It was really interesting to see how life would be perceived differently when the amount of time you have left to live becomes a currency that can be traded. This was most clearly demonstrated when the lead character was talking to a friend who only had minutes left on their clock. The lead character only had about one-and-a-half days left on his clock, but he gladly shared his time with his friend. If he didn’t share his time, his friend was about to die within a few minutes. That really sharpens the consequence of our actions and inactions, doesn’t it.
In our world, we might have a friend going through ill health, who can’t afford good healthcare, but we don’t see a link to imminent death. We might have money that could help keep our friend stay alive, but we don’t normally think about giving that money to help – we’re doing something important with it like “saving it for our retirement”. Meanwhile, our friend might die but we don’t see the linkage between our inaction and this death.
Interesting isn’t it? Is there something we could be doing now to help others, but we’re not? The answer is most probably yes.
Guns, Money and Time
Shortly after seeing this movie, I found this quote from the ex-U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
Here Eisenhower is connecting the value of guns, warships and rockets with the quality of human life. He can clearly see that money and effort not expended for the benefit of humanity is, at best, and horrible waste and, at worst, blatant theft. Just like in the movie “In Time”, we come closer to seeing the imminent impact of our decisions when we consider them in the light of Eisenhower’s words. I’m really pleased to be awakened to this linkage between guns, money and time.
Final Thoughts – Guns, Money and Time
What really matters in our world? What is more important – the money we have, the size of our house, the size of our retirement fund, the wars we have won, the countries we have conquered, the races we have dominated, compared to the lives of our family and friends (and everyone should be a friend), happiness, joy, respect, compassion and love for all?
I’m sure everyone can feel the true answer to the above questions, but our conditioning might take over and force us to think that something like building a sizeable retirement fund is too important to ignore and overrule. The true answer that you can feel deep inside is that happiness, joy, respect, compassion and love for all are the only things that matter. Everything else – money, wealth, jobs, possessions all have zero real value – absolutely zero.
I’m glad that the movie “In Time” got me thinking along these lines and the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower moved me to also consider the link between guns, money and time. It’s now much easier for me to see the truth and to know what to value in this life, and that’s certainly not guns or money or time. The most valuable thing is the present moment that we have to share with the myriad of forms of life in this world. Together we are an amazing life force and a beautiful statement of life itself.