Anyone who comes to visit the Norwegian island of Sommarøy have to leave your sense of time “at the door”. Some do it literally. On the island there is an interesting tradition. Arriving here to leave United with the neighbouring, larger island of Sør-Quala a big bridge his watch. So people let you know that they completely forget about the time. Because here on the island, located in the Western part of the County of Troms North of the Arctic circle time in the traditional sense has little meaning.
Why give up time?
During the winter months the Sun never rises and during the year 69 days, never sits down. It’s truly a place of extremes, and the inhabitants of this place propose to introduce in their lives to another. Local residents made a proposal to completely abandon the concept of time on the island.
Population is just over 300 people. Accordingly, all the important local issues are dealt with the old fashioned way, at a General meeting of residents. And that’s just on one of them the villagers and organized a company Time-Free Zone. Even created a petition initiated by the 56-year-old local resident Kjell Ove Hveding.
“For many of us, the legislative adoption of this decision will become just a formality to what is practiced here for many generations,” explained Ove Hveding in an interview with CNN.
Norwegian “Sommarøy” means “summer island”. And at least part of the year, namely from may 18 to June 26, he fits the name. The islanders, having gone through the long polar night, trying to use the summer, not paying attention to the time as well. Very often you can see in two hours of the night, the children play, teenagers go to swim, and adults paint the house or mow their lawns.
“When the government with great land continues the discussion on the transition from winter to summer time and back, we often laugh, because here it does not matter. Here, the Arctic circle is a completely different life,” adds Wedding.
Wedding gathered about 100 signatures in support of its petition – a third of the total number of inhabitants of the island – and last week sent the proposal to the local member of Parliament. Details of the proposal remain vague, so some it has caused confusion. For example, some believe that this is more of a symbolic step, others cynically claim that such ideas are rather the advertising step to attract tourists.
By the way, tourism can be the stumbling block, which would negate this idea the world’s first “free time zone”. The point is, Sommarøy is an extremely popular holiday destination and in summer it is incredibly many tourists. Travelers attracted by the white beaches, surrounded by beautiful fjords. Here come the photographers, artists, filmmakers, writers not only from Norway but from all over the world. In addition to the extraordinary beauty of the majestic Northern nature, then there is no midges, gives a lot of problems for those who live in the far North.
Summer in Sommarøy is extremely lively. In principle, the village and lives at the expense of tourists. Therefore, in consideration of the petition, which the people gave to the authorities, officials expressed concern about the cancellation of the usual hours will affect the local economy.
The rejection of traditional concepts of time, said Wedding, will make people more impulsive and will reduce the stress that they experience from a hard time schedule. However, he agrees that a full waiver hours will be impossible. In the end, people have to go to work, school, schedule meetings with friends and colleagues, neighbors. This point will require serious consideration.
A grain of truth in the idea of the inhabitants of the island of Sommarøy really exists. To live hourly in the far North extremely difficult. Try to maintain the accepted schedule in the polar night or when the Sun does not go. Biorhythms are confused, others are. A forced adherence to the regime inevitably leads to the loss of vitality, increased stress levels, the risk of developing depression.
Bioritmy and their effect on our body
However, the rejection of the concept of time does not change the picture. Against evolution do not trample, the researchers note.
“Our bodies are adapted to a 24-hour cycle generated by the rotation of the Earth. We can’t go against evolution, despite the fact that such conditions are created in these places,” says Hannah Hoffman, a scholar at the University of Michigan (USA), dealing with issues of circadian rhythms.
Most of the functions of our body and our activity (sleeping, waking, eating, bathing and so on) followed by a 24-hour cycle. Every cell and every organ of our body follows this rhythm. Moreover, even in the absence of light a day, our cells seem to know what to do to maintain a normal working condition. If you intentionally go against this natural rhythm, then the chances of adverse effects, in the form of heart problems, digestive disorders, increased risk of cancer and psychological problems.
In the past people who spend weeks and even months in caves and bunkers, too, have lost a sense of time, but their body still tried to maintain the same 24 hour cycle that suggests that our internal clock operates outside of our conscious awareness of time.
Like it or not, but we are very closely associated with time. And it will remain so even in spite of the eventual success of the ideas of the inhabitants of the island of Sommarøy. Therefore, even leaving his watch on the bridge, you will still have to take them with you wherever you go.
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