Sunday Snippet: Daylight Savings Time (Robertson Davies)

“I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind… At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.”

Did you remember to turn back your clocks this morning? There’s a good chance that your smartphone and computer already did that on your behalf, but there are all sorts of other devices that don’t do the Daylight Savings Time thing automatically.

The quote above comes by way of Robertson Davies, a Canadian novelist, critic and professor. As I said before, saving time is pointless, but instilling a stronger work ethic in people (even when they have little control over it) might not have been such a bad idea. Yes, I realize the quote is almost tongue-in-cheek, but it is still an interesting point to consider.

You don’t really “gain” an hour by setting the clocks back, just as you don’t “lose” an hour by setting them ahead. Time is what it is, regardless of how we choose to describe this very moment. The lunar calendar is not the same as the Gregorian calendar, but our measurement of time is essentially independent of time itself.

As an aside, I still prefer the sound of Daylight Savings Time (with the ‘s’), even though it’s technically incorrect. Whatever the case, I think the system is a little silly and archaic. And with that, let’s close with a quick quote from David Letterman on the subject:

“Don’t forget it’s daylight savings time. You spring forward, then you fall back. It’s like Robert Downey Jr. getting out of bed.”