Always in a hurry. Or does it seem that summer heat makes it feel like everyone is scurrying around at a faster pace? Cars on the road, people on the sidewalk, waiters, cashiers – you can almost feel everyone tapping their foot in that “get on with it” rhythm of impatience. What’s the rush?
Have our lives become so intertwined with commercial materialism that we have to run faster just to keep up? Or to attempt to escape the barrage of sales messages thrust at us on a continuous basis? Where did the quiet time between TV shows go? Or the dead air on the radio as songs changed? Now messages intrude on other messages, trying to crowd out the prior in favor of the latest. Ever watched an old movie and wondered how they got away with all those long minutes of slow conversation or simply thinking about something? Those scenes of inactivity essential to the story then but seem so quaint now against the backdrop of our incessant and frenetic special effects.
Multitasking rules our lives now as electronic noise comes at us from all the tools that were supposed to free us from our labors, to improve the quality of our lives with relevant connections but now only serve as pipelines into our souls for other people’s pitch on reality. In retaliation sales demands are screamed at us to buy more tools so we can control the tools we have, make them bend content to our wills and clarify our lives.
Direction – that’s clarity. Deciding on a course and applying our efforts to follow it, even when the straightest path zigzags through possible headings. Not being seduced by the latest fad, the newest gadget, the shiniest bauble or loudest toy, but holding steady to our determined destination.
Might be a personal goal, a selected lifestyle, a strongly held belief or moral stance. Its value is that it comes from within, not impressed from without. All that noise around us needs to be identified for the noise it is, and those tools available to us chosen for their effectivity in teasing out the relevant information from the cacophony. Information that aids us in identifying our direction, measuring our progress against the chosen heading.
Kirk Tuck, a photographer I follow, has words of wisdom about art in a world of technology, and how some people chase the latter in the name of the former. Art is rarely created in a hurry, nor enjoyed in a rush. Art is contemplative – probably one of the key facets that separate art from…well, things that aren’t art. In the world we’re creating of accelerated hyper-awareness how will we recognize art as it passes by in the data stream?