Ticktock. Ticktock. Ticktock. Hear that? Those are the seconds of life slipping away we can never have back. As Woody Allen once said, “I don’t mind dying I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” None of us have any idea how much time we have left. Well, now there is a ‘disruptive spiritual technology’ designed for all those non-consumers of existing religious products who want an accessible and usable way to experience awareness of their own mortality.
Tikker is a wristwatch that counts down your life! Using an algorithm like the one used by the federal government to figure life expectancy, Tikker lets you watch, on a large, dot-matrix display, the years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds you have left. Tikker’s inventor, Fredrik Colting, a former gravedigger, calls Tikker “the happiness watch” because watching your life slip away reminds you of the preciousness of each moment and the choice you have to infuse life with meaning and significance, with love and beauty, with clarity and appreciation, with being the best person one can be.
Not surprisingly, every religious tradition has rituals, practices and meditations to make us conscious of our death in the hope we savor life more deeply. We all know the stories of people who in the face of death reprioritized their lives and psychological studies suggest awareness of death can motivate increased expressions of tolerance, egalitarianism, compassion, empathy and pacifism. I had a teacher who used to say, “waste your time and waste your life, master your time and master your life.”
Will the new technology of Tikker work to get the age-old spiritual job done of helping us realize that every moment of life is a miracle? Could a countdown to death lead us to a more ecstatic life? I ordered one and will let you know…oh, and it also gives the time of day.
Irwin Kula is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Irwin’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. He is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life and a co-editor of The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices. Irwin has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor and PBS Frontline. Irwin also serves as President Emeritus of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.