Most of us are rushing through life, travelling at a maddening speed, because we feel the present is fast and the future is faster. And that if we don’t acclimatise, we lose out. But, have we ever thought about the ramifications of speed? What it is doing to us, and if we are burning ourselves out? In this Ted talk, anthropologist Kathryn Bouskill highlights the fact that while modern technology promises efficiency, it also leaves us feeling constantly pressured.
“Do you ever wonder why we’re surrounded with things that help us do everything faster and faster and faster?” she asks. “Communicate faster, but also work faster, bank faster, travel faster, find a date faster, cook faster, clean faster, and do all of it all at the same time? How do you feel about cramming even more into every waking hour?” she questions.
Bouskill goes on to say that for many Americans, speed feels like a birthright. “What could our world look like in 25 years if the current pace of change keeps accelerating? What would it mean for transportation, or learning, communication, manufacturing, weaponry, or even natural selection? In our research, people accepted acceleration as inevitable, both the thrills and the lack of control. They fear that if they were to slow down, they might run the risk of becoming obsolete. They say they’d rather burn out than rust out,” she remarks.
“Oftentimes, when our society has major failures, they’re not technological failures. They’re failures that happened when we made decisions too quickly on autopilot. We didn’t do the creative or critical thinking required to connect the dots or weed out false information, or make sense of complexity. That kind of thinking can’t be done fast,” Bouskill continues.
“Slow time is not wasted time. And we need to reconsider what it means to save time. Culture and rituals around the world build in slowness, because slowness helps us reinforce our shared values and connect,” she says in conclusion.
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