by Conscious Reminder
If you are thinking about visiting the Sommarøy’s Nordic island, you should leave your sense of time outside of it. Many people do that quite literally.
The bridge which connects the not-so-large fishing village and the mainland also differs. It isn’t sprinkled with padlocks of lovers as many would expect to be in other locations, but instead, with some discarded watches.
West Tromsø is the place north of the Arctic Circle where time in traditional senses holds small meaning. During the winter months in this place, the Sun doesn’t rise, while for about 69 days during the summer, the Sun never sets.
This is the island of the extremes. Now, the inhabitants also propose an extreme and new measure. Kjell Hveding, who is a local resident aged 56, and who is a worker with human resources, leads a petition in order to become the primary time-free area in the world.
In one interview, he said:
“To many of us, getting this in writing would simply mean formalizing something we have been practicing for generations.”
In Norwegian language, Sommarøy is the word for Summer Island. Although for just a small part of the entire year, this name remains true. The months during which the Sun is continuously up are also the time when adults and children can receive calls at 3 am or go swimming past the normal hours.
Hveding also said:
“When the government are discussing the new law about wintertime or summertime or moving the clock, we are still laughing up here, because it doesn’t matter. Up here north of the Arctic Circle is a totally different life.”
He collected almost 100 signatures, which is one-third of the total population of the town, and he handed that list to the parliament’s local member. The proposal, in fact, is quite fuzzy when it comes to details.
Being such, many people believe that it is something more like a symbolic gesture instead of anything else. However, cynics were quick to show how useful and beneficial this coverage was for publicity boosts fro the tourism industry of the island.
According to Hveding, abolishing traditional time is going to make people quite more impulsive, removing the stress related to rigid schedules from their own lives.
However, ditching the clocks entirely would be impossible. Residents will still have to work, go to school, or set up schedules and meetings with neighbors and friends.
However, they have to work out on this logistic. Although Hveding promised that they will not be quite “fanatic” about this entire process, he also admitted that going completely time free is going to be quite complex.
After all, the natural everyday rhythms are synchronized no with clocks but actually with our Sun. One animal scientist, named Hanne Hoffman, from the University of Michigan State, focuses on the circadian rhythm. Hoffman said:
“The problem is that humans did not evolve in the Arctic. Our bodies have adapted to this 24-hour cycle generated by the rotation of the Earth. We can’t really go against evolution, and that’s what is happening in those locations. You’re going against what we’re programmed to do.”
A lot of the functions of our bodies and some normal activities, such as walking, eating, sleeping, etc. naturally follow the 24-hour cycle. Every cell in the body of human beings has this clock, and the organs are also included.
Going against the natural rhythm, it may actually have some potential negative health effects like increased risks of digestive disturbances, heart diseases, depression, and cancer.
Although we may not like it, we are human beings, and we are inherently linked to time, something which is going to remain true forever, even when Sommarøy’s residents get their ways.
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