Slow Movement

imageAs the story goes, in the days of yore, Iblis was extremely perturbed and frustrated. So he called in all his assistants to discuss the situation.

‘We have a long standing problem. For almost a thousand years now we have tried to make these Muslims fall from grace. Other than isolated success, which they seem to recover from, we have not progressed. Their belief is institutionalised, they have a strong will and the belief system is successfully integrated into all walks of life. They work hard, look after each other, work as communities, practise philanthropy, have a thirst for knowledge and chase progress. On top of this they have no fear, take risks and are not worried about personal success and wealth. How are we going to change this at all?’

So the devils council brainstormed long and looked at all facets of behaviour and after all this analysis came up with a single solution. Time! Take away their allocation of time and their whole system will strangulate. The conclusion was that once time was not available, they will not be able to spend hours or even minutes on nearness to Allah and so will lose their spirituality. Over time this will make them ordinary people rushing around spending their lives, caring little for others, thus the strongly knit social fabric will break, that will lead to fragmentation of purpose. Once fragmentation of purpose occurs, it will be each man for himself, which will lead to selfishness and eventually to breakdown of society. Which in turn would lead to evil, crime and fraud; so Iblis would achieve his goal.

This plan was put into motion by speeding up life and very soon, we found that time was becoming scarce. As time became scarce, the evil plan was set in motion; in the next four hundred years so it has come to pass. So it happened and so does human history record it, post the coming of the Industrial Age.

Look at our Muslim history and eventually human history. Does this story not make sense? Today we run around from pillar to post for our daily sustenance and nary a breath drawn to contemplate why we are human beings at all. It is so animalistic, materialistic and purposeless, because very soon all of us depart this world. When we do depart, we have little to show for our time here, other than a whole lot of material possessions, which do not go with us to our graves.

Speed and lack of time have become the fundamentals of our existence today. Faster technology has driven this world to speed up and we are caught in this web. There is nothing to show that speed is better, but we entrap ourselves in this commitment to speed. Because of this commitment, not only our spiritual relationship to Allah, but our relationships with family and friends have deteriorated. We contemplate little, thus the quality of our performance has itself become shallow. It shows in offices, in the arts and in our sports. In all these the pure quality of input has declined sharply.

Many in this world feel marginalised and rebel against this madness to rush and are working to solve human speed issues. Some thirty years ago the ‘Slow Movement’ commenced in Europe, against the launch of a McDonalds fast food restaurant. It has continued and encapsulates many facets, including food, education, parenting, technology, science etc. SM is a conscientious effort by dedicated people to save humanity from self destructing the very meaning of life. It is a fast growing movement which has spread to North America, Australia and Japan.

Carl Honoré’s 2004 book, In Praise of Slowness, first explored how the Slow philosophy might be applied in every field of human endeavour and coined the phrase “Slow Movement”. Honoré describes the Slow Movement as a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is better. The slow philosophy is about doing everything at the right speed. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.

Guttorm Fløistad, a Norwegian philosopher, theorised that the philosophy is to get off the speed highway, slow down, create nearness in human relations, recover reflection and togetherness and find real renewal.

There is some hope in this movement and many a thinking person is joining it. If you too find little meaning in this fast go around, then I suggest that you should connect with the like minded, find ways to slow down your life and yet be able to survive in this fast paced world. Face this speed issue.

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About sarfarazar
I have been lucky! A long career with large scale organisations and some acclaim. Also, took time off to write, mentor and do some education and social development projects. I continue to mentor and help younger people in life. Inshallah, hope to write on various subjects in my blog.

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