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IHEAR IT ALL the time: Why is everything and everyone so frantic, so uptight.
But just telling people they have to slow down accomplishes nothing. It's like trying to hold back the ocean or stop the wind.
Even when you make an earnest effort, it lasts until the first time some zonked-out idiot cuts you off in traffic.
Carl Honore understands. He really does.
He understands because he lives it. He's written about the process that led to his transformation in "In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed" (HarperOne, 321 pages, $14.95.).
My house is so full of books I don't even know what I have. Literally. More than once I've bought a book, taken it home and discovered I already had it. Now that's embarrassing!
I found Honore's book a couple of days ago, picked it up and immediately had a "eureka" moment.
This guy really does speak to us all. Because to live surrounded by this stuff is to get dragged into it, become part of it. And I don't like myself when I get that way.
Simply ranting against a culture of multi-tasking, crazy time-managed frantic living is a waste of time.
Honore said that realization came to him when his kid asked him to read another bedtime story and he was tempted by a series of children's stories deliberately shortened to just a few minutes each.
"My wake-up call came when I found myself toying with buying a series of 'One-Minute Bedtime Stories,' Snow White in 60 seconds," he said.
So he is very much a part of the supercharged lifestyle that dominates all of Western culture--especially ours.
What impressed me (and kept me reading) is that he isn't preaching that we can change the entire culture. What we can do is pace each thing we do to a reasonable level of speed.
Trying to do too much is self-defeating, he points out. It inevitably leads to mistakes and to a whole raft of unhappy outcomes with which we're all far too familiar: health issues, drinking and drugs, behavioral problems, even tangles with the law and marital breakups.
Honore certainly isn't the first person to tackle this problem, and won't be the last.