A Manifesto to Slow Down: November 5 2021
A Manifesto to Slow Down
We are living in an era where every second is worth X amount of money. Every emotion and every feeling is monetised. Nothing is left sacred. Everything is calculated and scientifically measured to an exact level so that nothing goes to waste. But “nothing goes to waste” means that no profit goes to waste. If no profit can be made then it is essentially waste. But slowing down breaks this cycle. Slowing down can disrupt the system as it cannot be monetised. Just like fasting cannot be “sold” so too cannot to slow down be sold.
In this post, I will give three examples of slowing down. More specifically, my day consisted out of three conscious acts of slowing down:
- (i) baking bread;
- (ii) looking at flowers (photography); and
- (iii) having a beer.
Early Morning Bread Baking
How can baking bread help you slow down? The smell of fermentation slows you down. You consciously close your eyes and take in the smell. When you shape the loaf, nothing can rush you. When you place the loaf in the oven, you cannot rush the process along. Taking the loaf out of the oven, you cannot demand time to move faster so that the loaf cools down. You need to savour the time, look at the loaf, smell, and listen. But most importantly, slow down.
(I call this the baker’s breakfast. Freshly baked bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and freshly cracked black pepper. Simple. Isn’t simple food also an act of slowing down? Appreciating the simple tastes?)
Photographing Wild Flowers: Bending Down, Slowing Down
I have posted elsewhere but flowers and nature to me is a forced-slowing-down. Or, nature forces you to slow down. Nature does this by forcing you to look at her beauty. In the wild flower the face of nature is revealed. A beauty like no other. Perfectly crafted as if done by hand, but this is not human made. Slowing down, forcefully, you bend down to appreciate the beauty and the immense intricate detail. How can we not slow down and appreciate this? How can we just move one and let this beauty die unnoticed?
Beer, Burgers, and the View
Not everyone enjoys beer and burgers. Not everyone enjoys the same things. We are human and humans have different likings. But one thing has become apparent: fast food is not good. In contrast to fast food, we have slow food. Not everyone gets slow food. Slow food is cooked food. Cooked food takes time. My local pub has a kitchen. This kitchen provides good food, cooked food, slow food. Your order does not arrive immediately. You drink one beer whilst you wait. You appreciate the view, the cold taste of the bitter hops, and you appreciate that another human being cooks your food for you. Not in a machine like factory environment but in a real kitchen where time moves slowly. A burger is not inherently unhealthy (depending on your view and stance on food). But fast food is inherently bad for you. Think about it. Can you produce it that fast in your kitchen? Slow down. Appreciate your taste buds. Appreciate the taste of salt, of bitter, sweet, umami, and so on. Slow down.
We live in such hectic times. It is something strange to tell people to slow down. We have become accustomed to the fast paced living. Slowing down feels strange. It might even bring up feelings of guilt. Slow down either way. It is only when you slow down that you can reflect on the taste of good food, on the smell of the flower, on the smell of freshly baked bread, and so on. Reflection (fermentation) requires you to slow down.