The Logical Philosopher

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Speed of Slow: Part 3

The local brewpub

“Why do you blog?” he asked over a mini-pint of freshly poured stout. We couldn't decide which ale to try so a sampler tray of six seemed to be the best decision. It took awhile but we finally got down to the samples of Irish Stout “I mean, it seems like it takes time away from your other projects. Why keep going?”

“Actually, it helps me find time - it helps me slow down and pick the important things to do. It helps to remember there is more in life than moving to the next task.” I gestured out the window into the rain. “Look at the people out there in the rain, rushing around. I have a feeling they would be rushing even if it was sunny.”

We had been talking about my blog for awhile now, but the consumption of a few beers seemed to help my blogging theories crystallize in his head. He started to nod, slowly at first. At last I could see the wheels moving as the nod sped to a steady bobbing. “I get it. Like people moving in general without unachieved direction. Whereas slowing down to blog gives perspective, which leads to priority, which helps chart a focused direction.”

“Yeah. That’s what I meant. At least in the direction of what I meant.” I took a sip of my stout and looked out into the rain. After a few moments I interrupted our silence with my newest thought. “That’s heavy.”

“Very. A whole new perspective on things.”

“No, I meant the stout. It’s heavy. But the perspective thing? It’s only heavy if you go against the flow. I am part iconoclast towards the cult of speed at this point in my life, so I’m just used to it.”

A How-to Instructional Book on Slow

Inspired by Carl Horne’s book “In Praise of Slow”, I wrote the preceding two parts of this post a few months back, during my visit to Toronto. Looking back I think it was ironic that while in one of Canada’s largest metropolitan cities I found the time to “go slow” and start to ruminate on Horne’s book. However, my reflection took a long time to culminate to something I could write about. It really wasn’t until the last few weeks when I appreciated it enough to write this final part. Five months to write 3 blog posts. Talk about going slow.

For those who haven’t read the book Horne talked about how slowing down, while still going fast in some aspects of life, can pay dividends in your life. On his blog he posts the following summary of the book:

“These days, many of us live in fast forward – and pay a heavy price for it. Our work, health and relationships suffer. Over-stimulated, over-scheduled and overwrought, we struggle to relax, to enjoy things properly, to spend time with family and friends. The Slow movement offers a lifeline. It is not a Luddite plot to abolish all things modern. You don’t have to shun technology, live in the wilderness or do everything at a snail’s pace. Being “Slow” means living better in the hectic modern world by striking a balance between fast and slow.”

He talks about his research, and experiences, in deceleration at meditation workshops in Tokyo to SuperSlow exercise in New York – and these are just two of many examples of how to go Slow. He goes on to way “In the war against the cult of speed, the front line is inside our heads. Acceleration will remain our default setting until attitudes change…If the Slow movement is really to take root, we need have to go deeper. We have to change the way we think.”

While I didn’t reach a state of slowness in any of his topics he undertook, I found on my own I had changed the way I thought, finding my own deceleration exercise: blogging. To write I had to slow down, and pay attention. Walk down the sidewalk and watch the world move around me. And once I did that, the details and inspiration sprung out.

“Traveling on foot can also be meditative, fostering a Slow frame of mind. When we walk, we are aware of the details around us – birds, trees, the sky, shops and houses, other people. We make connections”

So where do we go from here?

Horne finishes his book by pondering the question “When will the many acts of personal deceleration occurring across the world reach critical mass? When will the Slow movement turn into a Slow revolution.”

I, for one, am all for a revolution. As a (now) Slow writer, I have some perspective on why that is.

I have alluded in some past posts that I had to make some “go Slow” life changes in the past 20 months. In some ways I have missed out and seen less, but in experienced far more than I would have imagined. I see the speed of our pace as the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Fast brings knowledge. Slow brings wisdom.
The real question is, after taking the time to read all three posts on going slow – will you keep on driving, or stop to enjoy the view? Hopefully you will choose wisely.

If you do, come back as I would love to see your “Slow” stories posted in my comments.