Qdx7nub6gaxoqe77m493The Editors at n+1:

FOR MORE THAN TWO CENTURIES, time has been felt to be passing more and more quickly. Scholars tell us that since the twin revolutions of the 18th century — industrial and political — a general sense of time speeding up has been recorded with regularity in documents of all kinds. Political and technical progress somehow meant that people were always losing ground, unable to keep up, out of breath. Rousseau spoke in Émile of the encroachingtourbillon social irresistibly overtaking everything, and the enduring popularity of Waldenno doubt owes something to its condemnation of the way we squander rather than savor our time. Marx’s bourgeoisie, of course, “cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the means of production,” and toward the end of the century, Nietzsche diagnosed the malady of the modern age in “the madly thoughtless shattering and dismantling of all foundations, their dissolution into a continual evolving that flows ceaselessly away, the tireless unspinning and historicizing of all there has ever been by modern man, the great cross-spider at the node of the cosmic web” — lines that come from the aptly titled Untimely Meditations.

So, naturally, reformers and revolutionaries sought to show how a better future would deliver us from relentless acceleration. In the hands of socialists, utopia became depicted not as beyond time — Thomas More’s was intended to be a timeless idea, not a prediction — but as something located in the definite future.

more here.