Thursday, July 2, 2009

On being less hasty

I watched Discovery Channel's series The Future, A 360º View. I really enjoy documentaries that talk about where our lives are going and what new and fascinating technology is going to be impacting our culture. But one thing that is made clear over and over throughout these programs: the future is speedy.

Now, I've expounded upon this before, but when one of the entrepreneurs that was interviewed said that he thinks that travel needs to be fast so that there's more life, I really wonder what he's talking about. Seriously.

Some of my biggest adventures have happened at less than walking speed. Some have happened at the highway speed limit. I wasn't in a rush to get somewhere so my life could begin, I was living in a very specific moment -- the journey. And if we think that the speed limit is slow, how far have we come from days when people traveled on horseback, by stagecoach, or in old flivvers that could hardly outrun the livestock with which they shared the streets?

A 5500 mile road trip through Arizona, New Mexico and California had me covering some of the most exciting physical terrain one can drive through. At the same time, as I made a considerable portion of the trip alone, I traversed some lesser known territory -- the landscape of my mind. I hadn't been alone for that length of time in years and, just in having the luxury to admire the mountains and trees and rocky outcrops, I was able to conduct an inventory and relearn a few things about myself that I'd forgotten, and a few new things as well. None of this could have been done on a four-hour plane flight.

In my view, the future has got to be slower. Oh, yes, technology will march on and we'll have flying cars and jetpacks and floating cities. But the pace of our lives has to be conducted at a less than breakneck pace. Otherwise Twitter becomes our only means of communicating with the world. We can't abide more than 30 seconds for each newsworthy event on CNN. We don't read books.

We go so fast that nothing has meaning and that there's no time for anything, especially what's in between. And frankly, what's in between can be a lot more interesting than the starting point or the destination.

Trust me. I know.

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