Slow

How do you take on a system that thrives on acceleration? You slow down.

Last thursday, a lady told me at the diner table that she is introducing some sports attribute in the Netherlands. She’s quite enthusiastic about it, so she’s pulled it enormously by giving lots of workshops. The supplier watched and did very little. So she decided to stop promoting it for a few months. The sales of the gadget went down, so the supplier is now introducing the device to the customers in their network.

In a speedy society, slowing down requires discipline. The first and the last resistances you will meet, are embedded in yourself. I have for example been struggling with finding jobs for more than a year now. The most obvious way to respond to not finding any, is to increase the effort. I have had phases where I wrote more applications, but each application started to feel industrial. Empty. If I overly push the amount of products I make per week, the products lose spirit. The quality of my attention goes down, and my work loses meaning. That makes me a less interesting candidate for an interview.

According to Wikipedia, almost a quarter of the citizens in modernized countries is downshifting in one way or another. This means that they work less in order to increase their quality of life. They unchain themselves from the cycle of earning and consuming. Thus they become more creative and socially active. I see it as a (conscious or subconscious) response to the collective hunt for wealth. It comforts me that downshifting has become socially acceptable, for example in the form of part time work. It shows that enough people have the wit to to see that they’d better not to work over their own natural limits.

I don’t believe that our system thrives on acceleration. It’s a phase. A facade of our age. By stepping back from the process, we learn to slow it down. We learn to see that things move, even without our constant input. Instead of feeling responsible for the change, we learn to see it as a given.

Our limits are a natural brake upon eternal growth. Perhaps we’ll celebrate that one day.

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