Slow Movement

by retrodiction


Even having been out of school and adapting to the slow crawl of a mundane work life, I find that I still can’t seem to shake off the anxious energy of trying to be productive. Any moment not spent doing something, accomplishing something, seems like an absolutely unacceptable waste of time. Even when I’m not actively doing things, my mind almost always churns unrelentingly. Counting the hours and minutes I have left till the end of everyday, plotting and planning schedules and timelines. This need to always be hurrying is so pervasive.

Living in a fast-paced city like Singapore (as is with almost any other metropolitan city) the concept of efficiency has been deeply ingrained in me. Every step has to be carefully calculated for risks and rewards, every endeavor must be executed with swiftness and precision. Only so that we may not waste any time.

When has doing things just for the sake of doing them taken a back seat to everything else? Even when I strive to make deeply and slowly experiencing life a motto to live by, it’s undeniable that I, unfortunately, can never and may never be able to bring myself to simply sit on a bench in the park and just be.

The hum drum continuity of modern life has overshadowed every aspect of our lives. Sometimes I look at the strange faces around me and I can’t help but wonder: “Do they know why they’re doing what they’re doing? Does any of us?”

What meaning do we attribute to the routine of getting up at 6 in the morning everyday? We go to work or school or wherever it is we seem to “can’t” not be, and return home no more happy, knowledgable or exuberant than we were hundreds of days before.

My mom told me recently that we can’t all be dreamers… And it’s one of the saddest realities I’ve ever heard.

I think we’ve been taught to believe that our journey through life is simply to do what is expected of us. Fulfill responsibilities, contribute economically, settle down, procreate… So if everyone was idealistic and overly ambitious, then we wouldn’t have anyone left to do the back-end jobs.
But how is it fair that some people get to live “The Life”, a life they dreamt of building, while others slog away in the muck that essentially traps them in a never-ending cycle of self-doubt and resignation. I can’t tell which makes me more upset.

If you believe the universe to be a universe of abundance, then it will be.
– Milton Glaser

The dreamer in me optimistically (naively) believes that there are enough ideas and resources to go around. The problem is: do we believe this in ourselves?

The high-speed, high-efficiency, risk-mitigated way of life we’ve been inculcated with is an expertly designed blindfold. I truly believe that we have become obsessed with things of little intrinsic value (at the beck of powerful organizations that has more or less shaped the media), blinded with misconceptions of what makes a fulfilling life. After all, when we’re all running amuck at a thousand miles per hour, who has the time to ponder about something as “trivial” as what it is really, that makes us happy?

Our world values actions over thoughts; overvalues perhaps. So much so that shame fuels the much needed act of pausing to take a breather, a step back to evaluate. But really, everything that man does is in the pursuit of happiness. Wouldn’t it make more sense then to actually consider what it is we should do to get that happiness? Instead of running around like a headless chicken?

I don’t know. I may never know. These questions beckon a host of many other questions, too intertwined, too complex for me to make sense of as yet. Maybe this is why philosophy doesn’t ever lose it’s relevance.

Once more this has been a post that mirrors the mess that is my mind; more questions, no answers and utterly unorganized. It’s just been something that’s been bothering me this particular morning.

What would you do right now if you knew you could never fail?