Why weeks may be a little weak | Deseret News National
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CHUCK WING,
Faith

Why weeks may be a little weak

We may need to do something about this whole seven-days-a-week thing.

On Monday, Ben Schreckinger of Slate wrote a piece that called for the week — Sunday to Saturday — to be scrapped. Part of the reason, he wrote, is because America’s uniformity isn’t necessary anymore.

“The case for the week was never airtight,” he wrote. “It’s now weak and getting weaker. Most Westerners no longer observe a weekly Sabbath, and the coordination advantages of keeping everyone on the same uniform schedule have evaporated. So why does this arbitrary time cycle still dictate the rhythm of our lives? Is it time to abolish the week and find a better way to structure time?”

Schreckinger delved further into the concept of the Sabbath and why he believes it isn’t as necessary as it once was. He highlighted the history of the weeklong schedule and how a day of rest was crucial for it.

“Fast forward to 2014, and most of us in Western societies are still working or attending class five days a week, then taking a two-day break, then going at it for another five days, and so on,” he wrote. “We’re as loath to spend Saturday at the office as we are unlikely to spend Tuesday at the beach. We go on living our lives in weeks, though the economic and spiritual logic for dividing time this way has grown outdated.”

But back in April, Mark A. Kellner of Deseret News National reported on how other people are making a case for a day of rest. With technology ramping up and people finding themselves online more than ever, a day of rest is crucial to keeping people straight-headed, Kellner wrote.

"The Romans could not understand the Jewish concept of resting on the seventh day," said Dr. Sigve K. Tonstad, a physician and theologian, to the National. "Many people are saying that society needs a cooling off period; the world needs a 'time out.' We're burning the candle at both ends in so many ways — maybe society benefits, too."

But do we work too much or too little? In recent months, both France and Sweden have tried to change the way weeks work. The Guardian reported that France is looking to make people stop working at 6 p.m., and The Atlantic wrote about how Sweden is favoring a six-hour work day.

There are all kinds of weeks and schedules — and that’s why it’s hard to get people to agree on one, Schreckinger wrote for Slate.

“It’s hard to say what, if anything, should replace our seven-day cycle,” Schreckinger wrote. “Unlike the day, with its biological basis, there’s probably no universal need for weeks. In the end, a Silicon Valley week, a Brooklyn week, a school week, a Christian week, and maybe even Shark Week could happily coexist with no weeks at all, and people could attune their lives to the cycles that met their needs.”

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com Twitter: @herbscribner