Slow and dumb: Being left behind by high-speed society

We can certainly make the case that we live in some kind of cult of speed.
It’s a society where speed is increasingly valued as something being important in itself.
We have increasingly shortened the timelines that we work with, so that, you know, we think about the old days where you could meet somebody, let’s say “Well, let’s meet in the morning.” And you could do work that takes a number of days, and you know, travelling takes a number of days, and “We’ll meet around this time”, and there’s just a sense that the whole pace of life was a lot slower.
Whereas now, we can have meetings to the minute.
We have our work optimized down to minutes and maybe even seconds.
And we can really see this with our technology.
I mean, the way like in recent years, the speed of our devices, phones and computers, it’s just everything’s getting faster and faster, to the point where when you click on a button, you expect a response immediately.
It’s even difficult to wait for more than a handful of seconds for anything to happen when it comes to our technology.
We’re just ready for speed.
And you know, when you look at time in this kind of like a productivity-focused way, you’re trying to squeeze as much productivity out of your time as you can, so you know, chop chop, keep moving.
The more you can churn for each unit of time, the more everybody makes money.
And this sense of efficiency is something that it kind of percolates through the whole culture and what we value, that even though it starts with efficiency, this kind of industrial time management, and the increasing speed of technology, but it kind of spreads through the whole way we see things, so that things that are slow, there’s something wrong with them.
Something seems off.
And we even use this as a way of talking about intelligence.
You know, someone is quick, quick witted.
They’re fast.
And someone who is slow, well, the word “slow” often a euphemism for the much less kind word “stupid”.
So slowness really is connected with this kind of dumbness and basically being inept at dealing with life in this fast-paced modern world.
Life in the fast lane: well if you are not going fast enough, you just better get out of that fast lane.
So when it comes to being slow, there’s so much of a stigma against it that I find sometimes it’s hard to just let myself be slow.
And it feels kind of dumb.
It feels like I’m not keeping pace with society, with technology, with what’s going on.
I’m just falling behind with every second that I’m moving slowly.
But there’s something valuable that I found that if I can just let myself be slow, and say “Fine, OK, I feel dumb, but that’s OK.” I had this recently where I was sick for a while and I had a lot of fatigue, so I ended up doing very little and being very slow and sleepy, and I just started to feel like I was falling behind.
I was being very unproductive.
I was not making the best use of my time, not squeezing out all the productivity and value that I could out of every minute.
And yet once I got used to this, I eventually reached a point where I was just like “It’s OK.” What’s the point of racing through life to get to the destination of the end of life? And what is really- what kind of life is it that we need to rush through it in order to get all these things done? What’s really the point? And maybe some of it really is this stigma that we have against being slow and dumb and feeling like we’re not able to keep up with the rate that everything’s moving.
Everything’s moving.
Society is a moving vehicle.
Culture is speeding into the future.
And anytime we move slowly, there’s this feeling of falling behind.
But if we simply accept that we are going at the pace we choose, and we don’t really need to be keeping up with this imaginary moving train, the fast lane of life, if we give up that notion, then suddenly it’s like we’re stepping off the speeding vehicle, and we’re just there at the side of the road just looking around and just appreciating life for that day and for what it is, without worrying about this idea of “keeping up”.
So I’d be curious to hear what you think about this whole idea of keeping up with society, keeping things fast-moving.
And how slow can we afford to be? And is it worth being slow, or is there a joy that comes with the speed that we’d be missing out on?

#slowlife #slowdown #slowliving

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