temp mort: [noun] (táh·mòh) – literally translated “dead time,” temp mort is the wasted gaps that lie between those bright, vibrant real moments of life. Temp mort is time spent gossiping, tearing others down behind their backs, and all the petty viciousness that plague even the best of us. Too, temp mort is experienced in those blank moments when we spend time waiting for something to complete our lives … that big break, perhaps an idealized lover, another chance at redemption, or whatever. And waiting. And waiting …
(antonym: pareto time)
Background: For labyrinthine reasons best articulated in its own post, one of my sideline interests for many years was following leftist anti-consumer-culture anarchist culture. I must have been a profiler/demographer’s worst nightmare during my years in college, as I was probably the only resident in San Diego who simultaneously subscribed to Guns & Ammo, Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, The Nation, Vegetarian Times and Adbusters Quarterly.
And it was sometime around 1998~1999 that I first came across what turned out to be one of my favorite quotes, on the cover of Adbusters Quarterly:
Vivez sans temp mort
(Live without dead time)
- Situationalist Internationale
Bull’s eye. Four simple words, compact, succinct and perfect … that I’ve read once, and forever committed to memory.
How often do you burn away your precious time with aimless conversations and pointless fights … how much effort do you devote to gossiping about/trashing people in private forums? Likewise, how many blank hours at the end of your day are simply unaccounted for?
What fraction of your day is spent as temp mort? And what are you willing to do to eliminate it?
pareto time: [noun] (páh·rā·tòh tīm) – fully actualized, optimized time spent in activities aligned with the highest purposes of your life.
(antonym: temp mort)
Background: In Economics, the term “Pareto Efficiency” is defined as a state where there is no other allocation in which some other individual is better off and no individual is worse off. Here, the term is used to describe allocation of one’s personal time … and the optimized state in which all time is allocated to their highest and best uses.
Living well is living in pareto time. It’s not something even the best of us can do with perfect consistency, but certainly a worthwhile objective.
Vivez sans temp mort!