If you have a bit of time, this speech by Carl Honore is worth your time. I watched it last night for the first time after following a link someone shared with me from this website (also worth your time).
If you don’t have time to watch his stellar presentation, the basic gist is that he believes we would all live happier, more content lives if we simply slowed down. He outlines the basic concept of the Slow Movement and his motives for this plea for slowness. After watching the presentation a few times now, I’d like to explore this idea a bit. I took some time today to reflect on the things in my life that cause me the most stress and their relation to how quickly they must be accomplished.
How quickly can I finish school? How quickly can I master the subject material so I can move on? How quickly can I finish this assignment to allow myself any time to finish the next five? How quickly can I get from point A to point B? How quickly can I get a message to someone? How quickly can I obtain information? How quickly can I process information? How quickly can I think? How quickly can I speak? How quickly can I invent a well thought-out argument? How quickly can i communicate a thought? How quickly can I complete a task? If you’re not moving more quickly than you’re reasonably capable of moving, you fall behind, you’re late, you miss an opportunity, you fail. If you’re not the first to respond to the email, you miss the gig. If you can’t answer the call at any given moment, you don’t get the job. The quickest fix reigns supreme. How quickly can you solve the problem, even if only temporarily? How quickly can you stop the pain? How quickly can you repress those thoughts? How quickly can you forget? How quickly can you move on? Take the drink, slip the pill, do anything but think, feel, and live for yourself. Lead by a world where instant gratification is considered first; premium overnight shipping on life, regardless of cost. Lead by materialism; if you’re not the first to discover the lastest trend, find the newest scene, have the newest gadget, and know the latest news, you’re a square, behind the times, lame, and ill-informed.
Really, the question we are asking is:
How quickly can I die?
This isn’t living, is it?
How quickly can I not live?
That’s the reality, and I’ve fallen for it.
I’m a product of this way of (anything but) living.