<% pageID = "newsletter" %> eNewsletter : Extra Ordinary Living


2005: Issue 4

THE GOD OF SPEED

Time and its passing occupy us as never before. We have bought into a 24/7, multi-tasking, channel-surfing, faster-is-better mindset that permeates our thoughts and actions. Our contemporary religion is that of the myth of speed which states relentlessly and mercilessly that those who don’t keep up fall behind, perhaps forever. This calls to mind a passage from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. When the Lilliputians first saw Gulliver’s watch, that “wonderful kind of engine…a globe, half silver and half of some transparent metal,” they identified it immediately as the god he worshipped. After all, the Lilliputians observed, “he seldom did anything without consulting it: he called it his oracle, and said it pointed out the time for every action in his life.” We work harder and harder to accomplish more and more in less and less time. We gorge ourselves on news and information, make to-do lists, utilize real-time reminders, skip meals, go without sleep, brag about our long hours, starve relationships, and forfeit recreation. When we feel tired or perplexed, we redouble our efforts, become more efficient, and offer up even greater sacrifices to our god of speed. To make sure we are squeezing the most out of and into our lives, we strive to acquire more material possessions, money and power. The more we have, the more we want; the faster we run, the faster we must run. For no addiction can be satisfied by its object.

OBSERVATION
We are all addicted to this pace. James Gleik makes this painfully clear in his book, Faster: the Acceleration of Just About Everything: “we have made our choices and are still making them. We humans have chosen speed and we thrive on it – more than we generally admit. Our ability to work fast and play fast gives us power. It thrills us.” Consequently, we define ourselves by what and how much we do: who we are depends on what we do. Our doing-ness defines our being-ness. As with any addiction, we have not truly explored the consequences of haste in our culture and in our daily lives.

ASSESSMENT
What is the cost of this lifestyle of speed? The obvious cost is that we break down, burn out, lose our passion, get sick, wither and die. The more insidious and devastating cost is that we lose our souls.

PRESCRIPTION
Not until we reverse this phenomenon, not until our being-ness determines our doing-ness, not until who we are determines what we do, will we break free of the god of speed. Resolve today to commit to a deliberate journey of soul-making, toward the successful pursuit of happiness, illumination and self-actualization.

“The God you worship is the God you deserve.” (Joseph Campbell)