An argument for the slow lane

Yesterday, a friend held a gathering at the house he has half built, a little outside the city, in a little valley with a stream below it and a river near by. There was lots of laughing, children expending the pent up energy of apartment building life, and lots of singing and even dancing. When people sing here, everyone magically knows the words to all the songs; old and young. And if you have your favourite songs that you listen to periodically to soothe you, I need not explain the power of the live song, especially the kind when everyone is singing, with eyes that say: "My heart is in these words I sing with power."
On our way back home, my friend was saying how such gatherings are increasingly rare, because people have forgotten how to spend time together. I might add, speaking of myself, too, that we've forgotten how to live: we find, piece by piece, that the values we used to love have been replaced by something of lesser value even though we pursue them with the same vigour. The new pursuit does not bring the same satisfaction, yet we keep running after it, convinced we are right.
When my friend said people are forgetting how to spend time together, I thought about how I myself expend a little too much energy worrying about how I or my blog looks. Because we have been told so many times that we are judged by our appearance that this has become a truth.
But does that bring us the same satisfaction as the carefree moment, when it doesn't matter what we look like as long as we are having a good time, laughing and teasing friends? In contrast to that, life can get strangely challenging when many people talk themselves into believing ideas that don't bring satisfaction; it doesn't have to be that way, and yet it is.
One of the trends I see happening is a mass effort to pare everything down to recognizable molds; what I will refer to as the flourish of the hand is not given space to flourish. (You know, the artist's extra touch to the canvas.) For instance, earlier this week, I read this study about how people read the internet, which suggested that all communication be streamlined. While streamlining has its place, what of the conversational element of the internet? Is it not going to be a place of digression or long term friendship? I ask this question, because back in the day when I looked at Facebook, and considered it, I could not relate to the little boxes where information was meant to go. So, are people like me are to become a dying breed, and will my friend be right about people forgetting how to meander together? I'd like to not think so.
There is a moment when we wake up from that dream where we are running towards a new and shiny mirage, and when we realise that all that speed is like white bread, where the real nutrients are in taking it slow, in some context that isn't our own confabulation, that isn't a new and shiny mirage, but in singing from the heart, that good pain of shared difficulty and the difficulty of the proximity of tolerance, when the heart actually needs to sing with power - because then, we know we are alive, we see our transience and our pain, and it is good. Everything is all right.

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