The Compass & The Clock

Consider the difference between the compass and the clock:

The former is a natural device driven by the forces of nature. It may not guarantee pinpoint accuracy or precision in the short term, but follow it long enough with trust and patience, and it will eventually guide you to where you wish to be. The clock, in contrast, is an entirely man-made thing invented to rule over an entirely man-made conception. Dependent on batteries, sun, fire or a simple winding motion for its power its petty dictatorship will rule your life with a rod of iron. Place your trust in the clock and it will direct your life with unerring accuracy like that of a rat in a maze. It will force you to race from one place to another, always on time, always in answer to a summons of some kind, and rarely where you actually want to be.Its little hands will grab greedily at the minutes of your existence with no care for thoughts or dreams or actual choice.

The compass however will allow you to travel your own dreamy path with detours here and there to appreciate the more scenic routes to your final destination. The compass will allow choice, preference and relaxation; what it will not provide are promises. It tells you only that you are starting here and will, if you follow its prompting, eventually arrive there. Along the way you will experience joy, sorrow, pleasure and pain in an endless variety of measure. There will be loss, wisdom, mistakes, love, laughter and grief. It does not promise any or all of these things but the compass will promise you the time to enjoy each experience as you choose. The compass employs no pressure to state ‘you must move on now; you have spent long enough here’: It gives you only choices.

Unlike the low lazy sweep of its magnetic cousin, the clock hurries and hustles and bustles. Do this it demands; go here, go there, be at this point by then and above all DO NOT BE LATE! Turn here; jump there, if you don’t do this now you will miss out. The clock is all panic and fury; empty promises of, if you will do this according to my time, you will achieve everything you ever wanted. Some who give themselves over completely to the tiny tyrant may indeed achieve a level of perceived success and happiness but what the cog-driven despot does not reveal is the most important fact of all: Eventually we will all arrive at the same destination and it will not matter whether we do so with twenty seven matching pieces of pig skin luggage or whether we own nothing more than the clothes we stand up in, we are all headed for the same ultimate destination. And, to be honest, isn’t it a well-worn truth that the journey is frequently more interesting than the act of arrival?

So, consider the compass and the clock; the meandering path or the five lane freeway: which one will you choose?

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