September 19, 2019

The Island In Norway Doing Away with Time

“A couple of weeks ago, a “lighter side of the news” story broke that was compelling in a way that transcended virality, breaking loose into the realm of metaphysics: there is a Norwegian island called Sommarøy, and it wants to “erase the concept of time.” The northern Norway island, which has around 350 residents, is in constant darkness from November to January, but experiences perpetual sunlight from May to July (its name translates as “Summer Island” — obviously derived from the only possible time of year you’d want to go). A local man named Kjell Ove Hveding, who for whatever complex biographical or psychological reason has found himself at the head of the “Time-Free Zone” campaign, handed his petition calling for the abolition of time to his local member of parliament, conservative Kent Gudmundsen, last month.

The Sommarøy Time-Free Zone campaign is like some sort of philosophical idealist’s dream: finally, we will be able to prove that one of the basic categories structuring what we call “reality” is in fact completely made up.

But what is it that the residents of Sommarøy want to abolish, exactly? “All over the world, people are characterized by stress and depression,” Hveding has stated. “In many cases this can be linked to the feeling of being trapped, and here the clock plays a role. We will be a time-free zone where everyone can live their lives to the fullest.”

“Our goal is to provide full flexibility,” Hveding said. “If you want to cut the lawn at 4 a.m., then do it.” In Sommarøy, residents claim, playing soccer or drinking a coffee on the beach at 2 a.m. is simply a normal thing that one does, and they want to stop feeling like they have to apologize for it.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Congratulations, Mr. President. It took an extraordinary effort, but you finally managed to spark a serious global crisis. I know you don’t like to share credit, but don’t worry. The current mess in the Middle East centered around Iran is all..."

"We’re approaching the anniversary of one of the nastiest political battles it has been my misfortune to witness—the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault and his..."

"There are few one-offs in life on Earth—rarely can a single species boast a trait or ability that no other possesses. But human language is one such oddity. Our ability to use subtle combinations of sounds produced by our vocal cords to create..."

"He walked through the coffee shop door and scanned the crowd. A familiar smile bloomed as he recognized me, despite how my appearance had changed over the years. I’m bald and bearded now, and heavier. I wear an extra decade on my face, and I’m..."

"The poverty rate in the United States fell to 11.8 percent in 2018, according to data released last week by the Census Bureau — the lowest it’s been since 2001. But this estimate significantly understates the extent of economic deprivation in..."

"Streaming is the future of TV. But for now a big part of the streaming business revolves around old TV shows. Latest case in point: Netflix is paying a lot of money for the rights to show Seinfeld to its 150 million subscribers around the world..."

"On the eve of the second Israeli election of 2019, there is no shortage of apocalyptic rhetoric about the potential consequences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election. From the New York Times' editorial column to The Forward’s..."

"Is there a backlash toward the technology industry in the culture? I tend to think so, having written about its various twists and turns most weekdays for the past couple years now. But sometimes an obsession with a beat can lead to myopia, and..."