Of all the attempts to pinpoint the origin of modernity—an exercise of which modernity never tires—my favorite begins with medieval monks. According to this account, it was the Benedictines who came up with the idea that it was possible to do the same thing, at the same time, every day. Although time was still widely regarded as fluid and coterminous with eternity, the monastery was governed by the rhythms of that most modern instrument: the clock. The monks rose together, ate together, and prayed together, starting and stopping each task at the appointed canonical hour…

Meghan O’Gieblyn, Harper’s Magazine | Read more