Time Minimization: Sonata for Social Science Theorists

1st Movement (“Scholarship”), adagio

Economic model:  minimize cost.
     But what about primitive societies,
     the ones we all descended from, 
     which had no money?  What was cost?

Geographic model:  minimize distance.
     But what about futuristic societies,
     the ones emerging in our time,
     with “beam me” interaction?  What will be distance?

Generalized model:  minimize effort
     But how to add cost and distance
     and all the other apples and oranges
     which make up effort?  How do you measure effort?

2nd Movement (“Imagination”), andante

If I had eternity, I could

     build the Great Wall
     with the effort of my arm alone
     and maybe a spoon for technology.

     walk sooner or later
     across any continent
     a hundred thousand million billion times.

     invest a measly dollar
     at a miserly one-percent return
     and wind up with all the money in the cosmos.

3rd Movement (“Theory”), vivace

     “Thought’s the slave of life, and life time’s fool”—
     seventy, eighty years to live
     twenty-four hours a day
     life cycle constraints
pan-historically, cross-culturally, measurably
we (collectively, theoretically, not necessarily consciously)
     minimize time
          the ultimately scarce resource for anything living.