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Slowness – Going Against the Current in the Age of Haste

The need to live in lockdown has overturned our habits and forced us to learn others, new to us, or to remember forgotten ones. Even if we can’t wait to return to normal, not all the habits that have accompanied us during these long and difficult weeks are to be archived and forgotten as soon as possible. On the contrary: many patterns of behavior have given us indications and valuable help, to be kept in mind also in the future, and to be transformed into constant elements of our daily routine.

For example, it made us reflect on the frenzied rhythms of before and on the quality of time and forced to think about what it means to live at a slower pace.

Do we want to stop running, first of all when it is completely useless? Do we want to take back our time, starting from the rediscovery of slowness when it is necessary to make the brain work well, without wasting energy, and not only? We live in an era where everything flows quickly, a constant chasing of time until we become slaves to it. Who can afford the luxury of slowness in a world where we all seem forced to run? Nobody, or almost nobody. Yet the brain that regulates our behavior has been given to us just like a slow machine, which needs its time and a sequence in its action. Instead, we do the opposite, and we live in the nightmare of the slowness that we associate with wasting time or, worse, with a physical and mental impairment.

On the other hand, it is impotent to reduce speed, that frenetic pace of lives too obsessed with the fear of wasting time. Reduce speed, to rediscover the pleasure and function of slowness, which should not be confused with uncertainty, but rather with an effort to better understand things before making a decision.

The clear prevalence of rapid thinking, starting from what we express through the use of digital tools, can lead to wrong solutions, damage to education, and even civil life.

The rediscovery of slowness could be a good therapy against the effects of digital stress, where everything is communicated in record time by e-mail, SMS, tweet. It is as if a natural machine, the brain, was able to act as an embankment for artificial machines, those that inflate the power of the web. And considering that only in the last year, to keep up with the pressing use of these tools, have we lost an hour of sleep, perhaps it is useful to remember that man is not programmed to be too fast. Quite the contrary.

If the body, as recommended by the World Health Organization, needs at least 5 thousand steps, slow, per day, the mind risks the darkness in overlapping too rapid decisions and we risk making the wrong choices. Remember the old popular proverb? Breathe before speaking. And in the moment of breathing there is the recognition of the value of slowness that, at the same time, manages to make us listen to the reasons of others before exposing ours. Only this rhythm, not subjected to the pressure of continuous rips, leads to true dialogue and a true search for mutual knowledge.

The slowness expressed through the physiological use of a slow machine, the brain, develops creativity. One could long browse the endless album of thought genes, from scientists to writers, immersed, even with their apparent, precarious physicality, in the driving force of slow thinking.

The writer Luis Sepùlveda, author of an extraordinary fable entitled “Story of a snail who discovered the importance of slowness”, even goes so far as to attribute to the slowness the value of a breaking behavior, of a revolutionary gesture. It is a new form of resistance, in a world where everything is too fast. And where the greatest power is to decide what to do with your time (Sepùlveda).

For example: if we queue, in a supermarket, in front of a bank counter, in a public place, we must not give in to the temptation of angry intolerance, but rather let’s take advantage of it to make a new acquaintance, or to listen to a story. We do not jam the agenda of commitments, just as we do not try to do more and more things at the same time. And we never say: I don’t have time. Also because it is not true, and slowness is much more of a possibility as it reminds us of the functioning of our brain. Slow from birth.

Slow life is also made up of small things. Daily and very effective.

Walking on every possible occasion, savoring the taste of the slow pace, observing and looking around, sipping a coffee without having the haste of the usual appointment to which you do not arrive late. A summary of these gestures is contained in Cindy Chapelle’s Slow Life book which launches a sort of challenge to the reader: how to redefine the priorities of life, and of one’s own well-being. In the name of rediscovering the value of slowness.

If in the future we manage to live our time, without letting ourselves be crushed by the frenetic rhythms, we will be able to give us and to others unexpected joys.

Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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