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Expectations of velocity
It begins with an excuse. Or it is really an excuse? We can just call it that for the time being, until we figure out what it is. Of course not uttered aloud, but quietly so one can barely sense it oneself. Not today. Today’s not a good day. Today my back is hurting. Today I have to get up at 6 a.m. Today is filled with work from morning til evening and there is no time. Today wrung the life out of me and now it’s too late.
So there they lie, the bones of expectations. In the bay of disappointments next to the inlet of ambitions.
But wait, there is something else. Something has grown slowly in a corner of our brain. It has grown there for years and like ivy covered up something that once was exposed and vibrant and… more alive?
It’s becoming more and more difficult to discern what’s behind the ivy. It’s like ocean foam. It’s both harsh and gentle and soothing. But it erases so well.
Speed is distance over time. Velocity is speed with a direction. When internet was born we were catapulted into a new era with an unknown velocity. Around 25 years later we still appear perplexed and unclear about where we actually are now as a result of internet. There are, of course, lots of opinions about exactly what has become of us humans. Go to Twitter and take a bath. Just know when it’s time to get out.
Perhaps we all splattered out into various directions at various velocities when we hopped onboard internet the first time? However, I seriously doubt most of us even are aware of the velocity aspect of our existence. And many of us have allowed our brains to marinate here a long long time.
Slowly, how ironic, everything and everyone around us have also become used to things happening at a certain speed. A rapid speed. Machine speed. Our brains have learned how to feel good fast and how to get fed the chemicals it needs to feel good fast. Remember, we are moving at an unknown velocity. It was not defined to us when we hopped onboard the first day of internet.
So what happens in our analogue life? Back to our original excuse (or was it an excuse?) When we step off the internet we experience inertia. A resistance to change in velocity. Unlike seat belts we don’t have brain brakes. We continue to gallop, and by now, decades into this digital expedition, everyone with us! We don’t realize we’ve slowed down and so we stumble over and under each other and out shake a heap of emotions and behaviors. Most of us pretend nothing unusual is going on, but…
What freak doesn’t check their email ten times after regular work hours? What incompetent entity doesn’t respond within minutes of an inquiry? What human is not able to keep up with the pace? Huh, huh?
What human has time to read a real paper book? What human has time to paint? What human has time to stare out the window at the swan in the pond? What human has time to pick coral and seashells? Or patience?
Velocity comes with peculiar side-effects: a sensation of thrill and a loss of patience. See, our brain demands it and it must be fed. Is there a way to maintain and reclaim our humanity and still navigate the internet?
The expectation of velocity remains unknown but quite clear: we are all now expected to move as fast as needed in the required direction. Until? Until further notice.