For many years, speed has allowed us to develop our society. But since the emergence of new technologies, we put our finger in a gearing we can’t control anymore.
In 1901, John GIRDNER has created the “Newyorkitis” expression. Pathology symptoms were – among others – nervousness, speed and impulsiveness.
In 1982, “time sickness” concept has been developing by the American doctor Larry DOSSEY. It’s about an obsessional belief, which says “time is runing away, we don’t have enough of it and we must accelerate to catch it up”.
In Japan, a word exists to designate “death by overwork”: “Karoshi”.
Bring together “speed”, “time” and “money” and you will get the explosive cocktail of our consumption societies. Exploiting more and faster to maximize profits. Don’t you know the legendary expression: “time is money”?
Moreover, speed is often authoritarian, aggressive, stressed, and superficial and prefers quantity to quality.
Fascination for speed created a catastrophic phenomenon: “short-termism”. The prime interest is the immediate profit even if we let to our progenies: infertile soils, depleted resources, and significant pollution.
This “short-termist” vision alters our judgements:
- We don’t care about our actions consequencies on the long term (which can be terrible),
- We are disconnected from reality,
- Immediacy and personal interest prevail on social relations.
And the development of new technologies doesn’t help us if we don’t control their usefulness.
Tempo Giusto concept.
Trying to find a solution about this problem, the “tempo giusto” concept has been developed by Carl HONORE in his book “In praise of slow”. It’s about to find you right rhythm. Germans use the word “Eigenzeit”. Eigen means “clean” and zeit “time”. In other words in English: “to the right speed”.
The idea is to resynchronize a part of human rhythm with this of nature. We can’t impose an unlimited speed to the entire Earth anymore. At the environment level, overexploitation in the name of profit kills soils. We must let nature go on its tempo giusto. I don’t remember which author said – to me he is right – “When will we stop to believe that pulling the stem to make the plant grow is useful?”
From a human point of view, everyone has to find his/her tempo giusto. For Mr. A, his speed may be really slow whereas Mrs. B will go 2 or 3 times faster than him. However, each will be comfortable because they will use their natural rhythm.
As evocated in the “about” part, it’s not about being really slow and soft! The goal is to reach the right cadence: being able to go fast when it’s necessary but also taking time when slowness prevails.
For example, if you are driving on a highway to 110 mph, slowing down doesn’t mean inevitably “go on 30 mph”. By reaching 75 mph, you are at the right speed.
Lucidity and discernment notions are also very important in Slow Movement.
If you had to remember only one word to talk about tempo giusto, I will advise the same than Carl HONORE: balance.