The Center for the Humanities at Tufts hosted European author Andrea Köhler to speak on Wednesday, October 9, in a lecture entitled, “The Way We Wait Now: Reflections on the Ambiguous Gift of Time.” This event was part of the center’s fall lecture series, “European Writers on the Move.” The purpose of this autumn’s theme is to have different novelists, essayists, and philosophers reflect on self-exile and isolation in terms of their specific fields. Ms. Köhler is the U.S. cultural correspondent for the Swiss daily newspaper Neue Zuricher Zeitung and has written several books on the nature of philosophy and time.
In Wednesday’s lecture, Ms. Köhler read excerpts from her 2012 book The Waiting Game: An Essay on the Gift of Time. She postulated that the act of waiting is one of impotence for humans, especially in the modern age of instant gratification. She stated that since the Industrial Revolution, advances in technology have allowed people to decrease their periods of waiting for certain activities. However, Ms. Köhler believes this culture of immediacy has fostered a general feeling of dissatisfaction within society. People are so used to acquiring things instantly that any period of waiting becomes practically insufferable. As waiting is a natural part of life, this has bred discontent.
Ms. Köhler concluded her lecture by stating that waiting is healthy, as it calms the mind and allows people to appreciate the world on a more basic level. While the power of technology is addicting, it’s good to take a break from worrying about the future and enjoy living in the moment.