Gandhi discovered There is more to life than increasing its speed. And I think this is just beautiful. And slow is beautiful. Some things cannot and should not be sped up. They take time, they need slowness.
Have you heard about the slow movement? I know (and confirmed it through my reads) that it actually started in the city of Bra, Italy with the Slow Food movement, which supports the idea that eating should be something enjoyable, something cooked and consumed at a relaxed pace. When I was working in telesales, I remember calling clients and leads in Italy, and their lunch time was of 2 hours. Watching Michael Moore’s movie Where to Invade Next, I understood why. They go home to eat with families at lunch, that’s why their lunch time is 2 hours long. How amazing would that be to happen everywhere?
But there’s no time for that! Our corporate obsessed minds are too busy to waste 2 hours only on lunch! I mean, lunches nowadays have become like skimmed milk – a taste of lunch, to keep you skinny, yet unhealthy, hungry all the time and moody, living with the illusion that you ate well and healthy. We do not have time for our minds to chill. We keep them too busy all the time, and we demand so much of ourselves. Yet, we offer ourselves so little. Because there is no time for that either.
Slow movement is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. On the contrary, the movement is made up of people like you and me, people who want to live better in a fast-paced, modern world. The slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word: balance. Be fast when it makes sense to be fast (like a marathon) and be slow when slowness is called for (like having your lunch peacefully). Seek to live at what musicians call the tempo giusto – the right speed.
The paradox is that slow does not mean slow. Performing a task in a slow manner sometimes brings faster results. It is also possible to do things quickly while maintaining a slow mindset.
I realized that Pond written by Claire Louise Bennett is a tribute to the slow movement. Because reading it, it puts you into that slow frame of mind, when you ponder your thoughts, your sensations, your perceptions, your observations, your actions and your words. Reading Pond is like sunbathing on an island you visit off peak season. You get to see the beauty of the lonely landscape, you get to appreciate it and then you wonder how you could have ever visited that in full crowded season. It’s the same with understanding the slow movement.
You must surrender to it to experiment and you will not wish to go back. I praise the slow and I praise Pond, because with each day that passes, I turn more and more to re-reading sentences in this exceptional book. It might be the fact that it feels as if I give my mind the time to enjoy each word and each logic of the train of thoughts expressed through Claire Louise Bennett’s creative writing skills. In this glorious fast-paced world, my mind has no time to grasp all that it wishes to grasp, because I am forced to hurry up and not stop to ponder or balance the world I see in my brain, I am forced to move on instead of taking it all in, I am forced to let go of things I do not wish to let go. I am told quantity is desirable, ALONG with quality. I question how can you attain 2 opposites. How can you desperately climb a mountain and enjoy the ocean simultaneously? It’s impossible. Yet, corporations and society defies all physics and forces us to convert ourselves into some kind of robots with superpowers, losing our humanity, since that’s not a resource that can make money. Multitasking does. Being paid for 2, 3 or even more jobs in a single low paid one. This is the fast world we live in. We cease to see it because it is not nice to discover you are living a delusion in which you think you are a human with a multitude of by default skills and competencies that you were brought up to take pride in.
We are being convinced it is ok and even desirable to wish to achieve robotic features. We are only convincing our minds about our souls who do not matter anymore.
Because our souls take joy in the slowness of it all. I believe we will soon move towards the slow world just as we switched to the fast paced one, since there is more to life than increasing its speed. As Claire Louise Bennett puts it in her book: “Beginning very ordinarily, it ought to be said, and then, via a series of protracted yet imperceptible increments, the sky imported the trenchant beauty and dubious brilliance of a new and unnamed world.”