A longer life means more time. A pretty simple calculation. Too bad that it doesn’t work that way. In his book “Wir haben die Zeit” (We have time), Christian Schüle explains where the extra time goes and how we can get it back. His aim is not to publish the gazillionth advice book on the work-life balance but rather to redefine the gears of work, time, and life.
We are getting older and older. And we are working longer, whether we like it or not, because this extra time has to be spent and financed in one way or another. On the other hand, this extra long lifetime – as the name implies – also gives us more time. And yet we feel more rushed than ever. Why? Why do we feel overstrained? Why are work and life so overwhelming, pushing us into a burnout? We have everything, we can do anything, we are allowed to do everything… There have never been as many possibilities, people have never been healthier, and they have never had so much luxury. But, writes the author, that is exactly what makes us insecure, unstable, and unrestrained.
The “Rush hour trap” is what Christian Schüle calls our current age and it is characterised and driven by one type of behavioural problem: type A from a monochromatic culture That means: “German individualists are western European workaholics in an eternal rush hour of life that is no longer just a phase but rather a permanent condition.” The basic situation: no time. After this very amusing look at the current situation, an “excursus on happiness”, “ideas about postmaterialism”, and the “salvation of creation”, he goes into a “revision of a good life”. We’re right in the middle of it. In the rush, not in the good life. The centrepiece of Christian Schülze’s ideas: the concept of a “utopia of humanism 4.0”.
“We don’t need a revolution for humanism 4.0”, but we do need something like a revolutionary spirit. One that sees change as something essential and that gives us the courage to try out new things. “In many traditional companies, the management culture is still stuck in old Tayloristic concepts.” Traditional corporate culture versus agile management methods. Control versus flexibility. For some time now, a work-life balance hasn’t been the issue, says Schüle, but instead the focus is on “a fundamental structural change, a paradigm shift”. And this is a cross-generational task for all of society – the development of humanism 4.0.
“Values and a transformation of values”, “the new age”, “a good life for the elderly”, and “the ethos of solidarity”, including excursuses on retirement and basic income. Plenty of information on just under 280 pages. And yet: the “new ideas for a good life” promised in the subtitle have an effect. Our view of what’s truly meaningful and how we deal with time is shifting – and the highly praised work-life balance has already become outdated in the digital age.
He was the editor of the Dossier section of Zeit and is now a freelance author of books and articles for various media. His wide range of activities and broad view of the world are clearly felt in many parts of his book. His book is more than just a quick analysis of “work” here and “life” there and an attempt to even out the two to find the required “balance”. It’s about the concept of a “new humanism”.