Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Manifesto for Slow Communication -

We will die, that much is certain; and everyone we have ever loved and cared about will die, too, sometimes—heartbreakingly—before us. Being someone else, traveling the world, making new friends gives us a temporary reprieve from this knowledge, which is spared most of the animal kingdom. Busyness—or the simulated busyness of email addiction—numbs the pain of this awareness, but it can never totally submerge it. Given that our days are limited, our hours precious, we have to decide what we want to do, what we want to say, what and who we care about, and how we want to allocate our time to these things within the limits that do not and cannot change. In short, we need to slow down.

Our society does not often tell us this. Progress, since the dawn of the Industrial Age, is supposed to be a linear upward progression; graphs with upward slopes are a good sign. Process­ing speeds are always getting faster; broadband now makes dial-­up seem like traveling by horse and buggy. Growth is eternal. But only two things grow indefinitely or have indefinite growth firmly ensconced at the heart of their being: cancer and the cor­poration. For everything else, especially in nature, the consum­ing fires eventually come and force a starting over.