The Benefits of Slowness

Easy Jet

Jan Chipchase’s recent image provocation on slowness had me thinking about what sorts of things can be slowed down and why one would want to slow them down. He shows an image of an automated espresso maker delivering a deliciously thick and gooey latte. I’ve noticed that the automatic coffee machine here is paced as well — it’s unlike the traditional urn where you turn the spigot and the stuff just pours out. The whole coffee beans pour down through the hamper, grind and the coffee is roasted. It’s not regal in its pace by any means, but there’s a bit of patience required that is about what it takes to get a decent cup of coffee to order.

The pace of digital networked social life is frantic at most times, at least for me. Can I slow down some of those activities in a meaningful way? Is there a middle ground between fast-as-you-can and “turning off.” In other words — can there be a pace for some activities that’s more leisured or reflective? And then does slowness bring some sense of calm, of enjoyment for having time to spend reflecting on a communique from a friend or loved one?