“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.” ― Jack London, The Call of the Wild
I’m not inclined to write extensively on slow living and working (yes, I think it’s possible, even in these hyper-wired times) because the subject has been done to death.
Even if we think that living life at a more sedate pace is better for us, we’re not taking the message seriously. You only need look at the daily commute and the way people eat to appreciate this.
Perhaps we need better (different?) mental conditioning, or certainly a different hue that doesn’t champion speed, but whilst we’re still coupled to the growth paradigm, it’s unlikely to happen.
As a segue to this post, imagine if we went back a few generations and more of us worked using our hands. I’ve no doubt this would slow us down if only because if we tried to live as we do now, we’d be burnt out by the time we got to 40.
Like all these blinding-flash-of-the-obvious messages (and I’m sick to death of making them), you have to question why we don’t question our lifestyle beyond making time to get off the hamster wheel. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.
If we look at the big picture, though, what we need is for the world to rise up and take a stand. But no doubt our masters would either find other robots to replace us or point to the obvious lacuna in our ‘do less’ argument, namely that they’ve provided us (in most cases) with what we’ve asked for; and by the way, if we don’t like ‘this’, then there isn’t much else on offer. And who could argue with that?
Even if you weren’t inclined to stamp your feet, what about working less hours or taking a job that was truly meaningful?
Or, better still, leaving paid employment and striking out on your own?
But of course, fear always kicks in and you hunker down and make the best of the situation.
It’s all very circular.
In the end most people opt for the retirement option; but I don’t imagine many people will have much choice but to slow down.
At this stage, I could slip in a few slow down ‘hacks’ but, from my own experience, I know they’re a complete waste of time because somewhere at the back of your mind, you’re not convinced anything will change.
In truth, and as much as I might will it otherwise, I think we’re doomed to a life of disappointment where we live as Weekend Warriors and look forward to the odd holiday to make sense of things.
Yes, that’s it: we’re doomed to run at a high octane pace unless, perhaps, as happened to me, we experience a profound wake up call that life is more important than work.