“I think that living a fast life is not living, it’s surviving.
“Our culture instills in us the fear of wasting time, but the paradox is that acceleration makes us waste our lives.
“Today everyone suffers the disease of time: the obsessive belief that time is moving away and you have to pedal faster and faster.
“Speed is a way of not facing what happens to your body and your mind, to avoid important questions …
“We travel constantly in the fast lane, full of emotions, adrenaline, stimuli, and that means we never have the time and tranquility we need to reflect and ask ourselves what is really important.”
These words of the Canadian journalist Carl Honoré in his “In Praise of Slow” invite us to reflect. We are so worried about not losing a detail, so worried about rushing until the last sip, that we don’t realize that through that haste our life escapes us.
The modern paradox: The more we try to do, the more it will escape us
The faster we go, the more we will be confused by our own rhythm, falling victim to a vertigo that prevents us from seeing beyond daily occupations, from that constant movement through which life escapes second by second.
This state of hyperactivity leads us to live by inertia, on autopilot, devoting all our energy to external goals that rust over time and make us forget what are the really important things in life.
We think the more busy we are, the more we take advantage of our lives, and we’re even proud of having a full schedule, not having a minute free. However, when we jump from one commitment to another we let the others decide in our place. Then we submit, more or less unconsciously, to the social dictatorship, which encourages us to go faster and faster because they know that speed takes away our time to think, a precious time to connect with ourselves and decide what is what we really want.
When we live a fast life, we constantly look forward to a future that is already programmed and decided to the millimeter. We’re encouraged to do more and more things in less time, but that doesn’t necessarily bring us more satisfaction.
Today hurry is not limited to work, it has contaminated all spheres of life, extending even to leisure. You have to see more in less time, try more in less time, take a quick selfie and follow with the next… photos that, incidentally, will serve as a moldy reminder that we “were” there, a vague remembrance of what it could have been but it wasn’t.
This haste leaves no room for the necessary pause that invites reflection and creativity. Silence and rest, two basic needs, have become a luxury. This hurry actually reduces our capacity for enjoyment and pleasure, it prevents us from enjoying the small things.
There is another way to live: The eternal instant
If we want to live in society, sometimes we have no choice but to stick to the modern haste. There aren’t many alternatives, especially at work. However, we must ensure that it doesn’t become the leitmotiv of our life. We must protect with zeal the right to put our life in slow motion to enjoy what we want, quietly and without guilt.
In Buddhism there is a very interesting concept that could become a kind of antidote to haste: the eternal instant. According to this philosophy, if we live fully present in the here and now, past and future are blurred. When we are fully aware, when our mind is not in what we have left to do or in what we have already done, but in what we are doing, we enjoy more.
Then life stops being an obstacle race to overcome and becomes a wonderful reality to experience. It’s a change that’s worth it, don’t you think?