Charles Horton Cooley:
Haste and the superficiality and strain which attend upon it are widely and insidiously destructive of good work in our day. No other condition of mind or of society—not ignorance, poverty, oppression or hate—kills art as haste does. Almost any phase of life may be ennobled if there is only calm enough in which the brooding mind may do its perfect work upon it; but out of hurry nothing noble ever did or can emerge…But ours is, on the whole, a time of stress, of the habit of incomplete work; its products are unlovely and unrestful and such as the future will have no joy in.
I came across that paragraph in Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums in America. Great book. I’ll probably follow it up with the related topic of James Gleick’s Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything.
My conception of slackerhood isn’t really about being sluggish—I find it difficult to sleep for longer than six or seven hours; I keep a tidy house; I currently juggle four part-time jobs (which I actually enjoy, honestly); I derive satisfaction from getting tasks done, and I have a voracious appetite for books and music that will never be sated before I die. I just don’t want the sort of assembly-line life that’s so full of activity there’s no time to do things carefully and well, without impatiently glancing ahead to the next several chores on the list. Unfortunately, common standards of success and the attendant respect of others require just such an existence, so I’ll gladly accept being overlooked and condescended to by movers, shakers and would-be revolutionaries as they rush past, gettin’ all carpe mundum wit’ it. Go get ’em, tiger. Bum-bum-bum ba bum-bum, I feel free.
Haste and superficiality… Nothing kills art as haste does… Incomplete works, unlovely products… Come to think of it, that has a lot to do with why I’m so disgusted with the disproportionate attention lavished on social media. Prepackaged empty-calorie thoughts, made to be microwaved and wolfed down as quickly as possible. A whole lotta nobodies with nothing to say, but eager to share it as quickly and widely as possible. Feh. As Li Po said, I return to my rod and my fishing line.