Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The way we live now

Back at home after a busy day of doing nothing - luckily there is a broadband connection subsidized by my company to enable doing nothing also here. Today happens to be my birthday: 37 years now. Could not have imagined this society, this way of living during those slow years in the middle of the quiet Finnish countryside in the 70's. Often darknesses at noon, but often also bright days in the midst of a settled society, settled, secure ways of living. By my own standards I have succeeded, I have found my person and my place, my voice, private happiness in this transitory age and in this superficial, busy, stressful society. Still, there is so much to do, or so much not to do; as far as I understand the only worthwhile thing to do is to slow down, to stand still, to contemplate the long views, this beautiful but cold landscape. In this I haven't succeeded yet - there have been other priorities, more immediate, and at times desperate, goals. Such a lovely season to be born in: the subarctic nature joyfully bursting into life, the sun making everyone mad and energetic, celebrating the short high season. So, discordant, contradictory notes even here, even today, no harmony yet reached: the way we live now.


helsinkian said...

What is to be done about the stressful modern life? Now there's a philosophical question. Slowing down is indeed the answer, if we want to notice that we're living while we're here. Midsummer is such a time of the year when everything slows down. Your post made me think of one of my favorite Milan Kundera novels, Slowness (La lenteur). Some critics like it, some don't but in my eyes it surpasses much of his later work.

It's such a dilemma, you want to slow down to enjoy what you're doing and do what you do better but how do you really find time to do what you want to do? There are so many distractions everywhere. As a scholar I think I have to learn to live with distractions and to organize my days better.

From the personal to the global, I really think the way we live now threatens our planet. Mostly we just don't have time to reflect upon the threats out there. Things like 9/11 happen and suddenly everyone is caught off guard because no-one has time to look at the big picture. We accumulate incredible piles of information that the specialists don't have time to go through and still we have less wisdom with us because of the instant culture we Westerners live in. Everything has to happen right now at the very instant, otherwise we just tune into another frequency to get the next message about something else.

This is a nice blog, because every post forces the reader to think.

stockholm slender said...

Strange that in many ways we think alike: I have a similar sense of this civilization being a threat to the planet or being unsustainable. It is a very complex issue: I do think that so far this is the best thing we have in the way of rationality and liberty, but the cost is very high and it might also be that reason and freedom are only accidental byproducts of economic forces that are now beginning to produce something else.

I often just want time to be, to collect my thoughts, to read and concentrate, but when the opportunity comes I'm often easily distracted and bored... No scholar me. It is a very complicated issue, experience of life (a fairly precise philosophical term for me, "kokemus"), but I do feel that I am not yet in the sort of harmony with the world that I would like. Hmm, only connect...