on slowness

I haven’t read this book (though it is on my wish list), but as I am in love with both the vol­un­tary sim­plic­i­ty move­ment and the slow food move­ment, I have become intrigued with Car­le Hon­ore’s recent book: In Praise of Slow­ness: How A World­wide Move­ment Is Chal­leng­ing the Cult of Speed. Back­lash­ing against our fast-paced soci­ety’s obses­sion with doing things faster and more effi­cient­ly which has, iron­i­cal­ly, robbed us of the more mean­ing­ful time spent with fam­i­ly and friends, is akin to the vol­un­tary sim­plic­i­ty move­ment in that it advo­cates a more “delib­er­ate” existence.

While the vol­un­tary sim­plic­i­ty move­ment focus­es on our obses­sion with mate­r­i­al stuff, Hon­ore focus­es on our obses­sion with “speed” — both of which, I think, spawn from the ide­ol­o­gy of the so-called “Amer­i­can Dream” that press­es us to work hard­er and more effi­cient­ly so that we can buy the “stuff” of the ide­al, plush Amer­i­can Life (and also buy the things that will help us work even more effi­cient­ly). In this scram­ble for big­ger hous­es, fast-food, small­er cell phones, PDA’s and lap­tops with built-in wire­less tech­nol­o­gy (so that we are nev­er, for a sec­ond, “offline”), and lush resort vaca­tions where we can “relax and get away from it all” we sac­ri­fice the things that are sup­pos­ed­ly impor­tant to us: health, hap­pi­ness, rela­tion­ships with fam­i­ly and friends, and spir­i­tu­al devel­op­ment and fulfillment.

I will stum­ble off my soap­box now, and leave you all with a few links (for those interested):

  • In Praise of Slow (where the author talks about his book and the “Slow” movement) 
  • The Sim­ple Liv­ing Net­work (includes a nice intro­duc­tion to vol­un­tary sim­plic­i­ty — which, I think is a close cousin to the “Slow” movement) 
  • Slow Food (on the Slow Food movement)