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On the right side of time

The publication Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, by science writer James Gleick was written 20 years ago. Oliver Burkeman in: Don’t be on the wrong side of thinking that time means progress (Guardian Weekly, 28 June 2019, Vol 201 No 3) contends that the central tenet: the faster life moves, the worse impatience becomes, is worth pausing to think about, since we seem to be hell bent on ‘faster’ as an end in itself. Perhaps not fully comprehending the consequences.

“In a world of dishwashers and jet engines, time ought to be more expansive, thanks to all the hours freed up for more meaningful matters. But, of course, that is not how it feels. As the speed with which we feel our desires ought to be gratified tends toward zero, every wait becomes an affront,” writes Burkeman.  “If you knew a journey would take for ever – because we were a cattle drover for instance – you wouldn’t mind so much.”

Munibung Hill is a great reminder of the need to slow down.  At 251 million years of age, she is a great example of what can be achieved by taking the slow lane.  Her incredible diversity and age weathered geology was never intended to be an overnight work.  Imagine constructing this magnificent landscape in our internet speed time – it would be bland and uninspiring at best.

Says Burkeman: “Rereading Gleick is unsettling  because he was writing before smartphones and broadband [connectivity] became ubiquitous.”  The inference is that: “Online, it’s easy to feel independent from reality – as if you could be anyone, know everything and visit any location , instantaneously.”

It’s just another example of impatience; of intolerance with life not turning out the way we think it should.

It’s time to acknowledge “the idea of letting things take the time they take.”

Munibung Hill is not a work of some online app and pays no attention to whether or not our mobile screen based devices get faster or come to a grinding halt – dead battery.

Rather, Munibung Hill is a storehouse of life and death and a fitting reminder of what it is be slow and real and genuine and timeless – watching human generations come and go – inviting us to be an integral part of the story.  To lose her to housing or some other development would be a tragedy for indigenous culture and our need for connection with land and the plants and animals that reside there.

(Note: The featured image at the top of this post is The Traffic Light Tree sculpture in London.)