The sadness and despair of a childhood without analog clocks


If people prefer to be ignorant about how analog clocks operate, yes, that’s a choice they can make.

Given that analog clocks are in no way obsolete and are still in widespread use all over the world (unlike all of your examples), that choice should also result in being laughed at and shamed by people who know how to read clocks.


To be fair, how many people can read a sundial or a sextant today? Not many. Are we all ignorant because we don’t know how those things work? Or punch card computers? Or any other older technology that isn’t in regular usage?


As I said above, analog clocks are still very much in regular usage all over the world – as watches, in train stations, airports, schools, and old heirloom clocks in homes. They aren’t obsolete or obscure by any means, unlike all of the examples you mentioned.


And digital are more common for many people now, so at some point, there might be a tipping point where an analogue clock is also antiquated. At one point sundials (or whatever) were still in rather regular use as new technologies were being brought in to replace them for general use.

Knowledge is contextual and relates to most people in terms of necessity.


Absolutely; that said, if the above poster’s daughter’s friend lives in a place where analog clocks are common enough to put on walls – or if they travel by train, bus, plane, or other places that often use them – then right now, in 2018, it’s still important for them to know how to read a clock.

Until the time that clocks are as uncommon as computer punch cards, being unable to tell time is embarrassingly ignorant.


Perhaps she hasn’t had the opportunity to learn and the people in her life haven’t taught her? I’m just not sure what good mocking people on ignorance that can be fixed can actually do that’s positive.


Grid-fail. Sooner or later, it’s immanent.


Of course I’m not saying that the answer to someone not knowing a common skill is simply to laugh at them and walk away. As I said above, the answer is to tell them how; as long as there’s people who know these simple things to pass them along, we can avoid “grid-fail” (as Melz puts it).

That said, being unable to do things like read clocks or read books is not normal for average Americans or kids, and should not be treated as if it is.


The potential loss of the ability to do everyday ‘common-sense’ tasks like reading an analog clock or being able to do simple addition/subtraction in one’s head should be alarming to anyone who values learning and education - that’s the Dumbening in action; and you’re right - it’s NOT ‘okay.’


Except there is no reason why a fully mechanical clock needs also to be analog. The biggest reason clocks were made that way to begin with is because it resembled the sundial.

I would argue that the bigger signs of “the dumbening” are the de-emphasising of the Arts in education, the lack of critical thinking skills, especially around information literacy. I will give you the arithmetic (somewhat), but that’s based around a skill instead of a convention (like the analog clock).


I would not disagree.

I’d argue that being able to read a non-digital clock is a skill.

I think this because I remember that I personally had trouble in elementary school when we were taught how to tell time; it was harder for me to wrap my head around the concept than most of my peers for some reason.

Most likely in part because of the wording, which was similar to counting money yet different; a quarter of a dollar is 25 cents in money, but a quarter of an hour is 15 minutes in time. As a kid, that difference hung me up for the longest, and being able to parse it was a logical skill which I had to learn.


That is logically correct. It doesn’t change the fact that analog dial clocks are still in widespread use and not being able to tell time by them is a hindrance.

There’s actually a very good reason they’re often still used: they’re much more legible at a distance than digital clocks. It’s relatively simple to make a very large dial clock, and it’s not even necessary to be able to read numbers on it, just the positions of the hands. So they’re more practical in places where big overhead clocks are needed (railway stations, airports, bus terminals, churches).


I’ll say it again - blame and shit-talk millennials all you like. Whose fault is it when kids/young adults can’t read clocks/get participation trophies/act like hipsters? Uh, THEIR PARENTS.


this. just. this.


I mean, ignorance can be fixed, right? We’re all ignorant of something. For me, the more I learn, the less I realize I know. I really don’t know shit, to be honest. This is why humans form communities, so we can learn from each other and help each other, and maybe be something greater than ourselves.


If you can’t knapp flint, you can’t be said to be well-educated. :wink:


The secret is to bang the rocks together, guys!


Possibly millennial-ness. Though also see, for example, —that is to say, it could be anyone of any age…

(edited for clarity.)


I think this kind of thing is so interesting, the different ways individuals make sense of things, and how we may think of things in terms of another thing. For as long as I can remember, when I think of a year I see the months positioned on an analog clock face, with December at 12, January at 1, etc.—but if I mention it to friends they have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m reminded of this blog post and discussion here from a year or so ago:

Fascinating! :slight_smile:

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