Fast Food for Thought

There’s a thing that hit me, whilst enjoying a weekend-retreat in my parents’ house at the countryside of The Netherlands. My folks are slow. They, and their parents, have physically lived through the introduction of innumerable developments, innovations and to them, overwhelming changes, while I have only seen the Internet significantly affect my life, study, career opportunities and social activities.

Still, even though they’ve got a track record in learning, incorporating and processing new stuff that greatly exceeds mine, I feel as if they’re too slow to keep up with my generations’ multitasking, diversity of studies and never-offline social networking. In other words, my addiction to speed. You should see me rumbling the keyboard at this moment. Bam-bam-bam. It’s like a drumming-exercise. My mind runs, so my fingers should sprint, is what it conveys. And simultaneously I’m thinking of the next to don’ts and forgotten to dos.

It seems as if we’re stuck to speed, particularly when we can’t go faster.

I’m definitely not the first to discover this phenomenon. Milan Kundera, a novelist born in the 1920ies, innovatively connected speed and slowness to our memory in his book Slowness. When we’re looking for a long-lasting experience, a mental standstill, we act slowly. But, when forgetting is what we aim for, speed is our companion. And we travel through the unwanted moment as fast as we can, ignoring the experience, with the future already taking over our minds. I seem to apply this to my life sometimes, too. To forget the real impactful experiences (travels, talks, childhood memories) and be over-occupied by the less meaningful ones (social media, to dos, practicalities), whereas, although speed is fun, it shouldn’t be the food that determines our thought.

3 thoughts on “Fast Food for Thought

  1. Nice piece! Next question: how to – practically – blend slowness into a challenging, opportunity rich, fas paced life.

  2. There is some interesting literature on this topic. Especially ‘ Social acceleration’ by Hartmut Rosa fascinated me!
    Great piece with an interesting line of argument; Acceleration is causing De-acceleration. Continiously striving for speed will have an opposite effect…

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