Culture of impatience

Culture of impatience

Today, we are living in a “culture of impatience” where speed is of the essence and time is at a premium. As we rush by, we hardly have time for the sun painting the horizon in tints of gold and vermillion, the bird singing in the cluster of leaves somewhere, or to say good morning to the nodding sunflower. There are the looming deadlines threatening to throttle us, the ominous meeting the boss has called for on his WhatsApp and the dread of being ticked off for targets to be achieved or reports not submitted.

Before technology became king, life was simpler as we did not carry the work place in our backpacks like tortoises. We left it where it was till we got to it. Bosses, too, had to wait till the telephone call, through busy lines, came through or the post was received. So they seemed a little more patient, understanding and commiserating as they had no control over external factors.

With greater technology, distances dissolved and business did pick up undisputedly; the progress all around is visible. But to what effect? People still come home late, customers are still dissatisfied, spouses still grumble, children are neglected, frauds are a dime a dozen and one finds oneself directly or vicariously responsible for things going haywire. All round disgruntlement.

Drawing rooms are lovelier and kitchens modular with various appliances to enhance the culinary experience. But there is hardly any time or energy to cook and even less to savour what is on the table. Yet, in the good old days, when mothers and grandmothers cooked in more difficult circumstances, every dish came leavened with love and polished off with healthy appetites. No leftovers shoved into the fridge and taken out of the microwave oven the next morning.

We hardly see evenings without a tangled skyline and alarming pollution levels and the expanse of the boundless sky no longer looks down benevolently at us as we stand in our balconies.

We are into more politics, more grisly stories and more incidents of man’s inhumanity to man. Families hardly stay home on holidays but are always hankering for excitement, mall and restaurant hopping just to show the Jones’ how upwardly mobile they are. Where is the time or desire to savour the peace of a holiday away from routine, discovering the joys of quiet conversation or reading or sharing a cup of tea with a neighbour?

To connect with silence, introspection and life at your own pace is a thing of the past. We now live life at everybody else’s pace. In a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama: “We have bigger houses and smaller families. More convenience, less sense. More knowledge but less judgement. More experts but more problems. We have become long on quantity but short on quality.” We are existing in a state of “timelessness.”