Eat while you work, work while you commute. Eat while you work, work while you commute. Eat while you work, work while you commute. How often do you find yourself doing something, not for the sake of it, but because you believe it will enable you to do something else? Something that is actually worthwhile in the future? Is your intention to get through and away from what you are doing as soon as possible, so that hopefully you will arrive at where you presume you actually want to be? We push ourselves through the work week, dreaming about the weekend. When we are in motion, it is almost always commuting. Not traveling. There isn’t any enjoyment in the moment. We consider that
mode of movement which brings us to the destination as soon as possible best, while we to various extents, cope with it. We like to use some of our leisure time for maintaining or upgrading our bodies. But when we go to the gym or hit the track, it’s often not because we enjoy the activity during but only because we count on it to make ourselves feel good, look good, move good… later. But does the pay-off make it all worth it? Buyer’s remorse is the feeling of doubt and regret experienced immediately after a purchase. In today’s world it is hardly restricted to shopping; it is a generalized form of disillusionment with something far more pervasive: the conclusion of a faustian bargain we strike between different halves of our own individual lives. The misery of the present is justified by the promise of the future. Yet the product doesn’t improve our life that much, the experience of the touristic trip turns out to be superficial and tacky, the workout doesn’t stop us from aging. Can retirement make up for a lifetime of undesired work? The time we spend earning for these is all too real and irreversible; yet the reward proves transitory and illusory. We are released from anxiety straight into regret. Yes, it’s buyer’s remorse. We spent one half our life in the hopes of purchasing the other. Our life activities are not only divided into parts; they are specialized at this sub-individual level and optimized… They are… sped up. We work in narrower ways and faster, we travel more cramped up, faster, we work out more professionally, faster… Doing things this way is considered to be smart, efficient. Yes, we may indeed be getting more efficient at performing the parts, but there is another side to this: speeding up the parts can never compensate for the loss suffered at the level of the whole. Call it a loss of systemic efficiency. We optimize processes of living but not total systems of life. As the direction of the totality of our lives veers increasingly off the mark of human satisfaction, the parts are sped up in a futile attempt to compensate. How? We break up our lives into optimized components, and speed them up, presuming that the faster we go, the more we will have left over to enjoy. We try to move between these spheres of activity as fast as possible. The faster the cars, the trains, the airplanes, the better. Where that is no longer sufficient, we seek to obliterate distance and delay through instant communication: pushing up against the ultimate horizon of interaction at light-speed. We are forever attempting to construct bridges from where we are to where it seems we need to be, and we incessantly race upon them. Yet it feels like we have to run faster just to remain in place. We are running in lanes, in a world made not of, by and for ourselves, but them: visages of the disarticulation of our own existence – the owners, employers, managers… the decision-makers… The competitive system to which they are adapted to operate in, inevitably drags us along into the hamster wheel. In the zero-sum game of soulless value creation, all the benefits of doing things faster accrue to them. The exhaustion, the psycho-physiological separation weighs down on us, pushing our being towards the uncertainties of transhumanization. And what about those who fall behind the race, because they can’t run fast enough, and are not given the means to run fast enough, who are excluded from the race? And what about our environment which is molded and remolded into a race track? We even face the necessity to accelerate our enjoyment, to make up for lost time. But try enjoying anything faster, and the enjoyment dissipates into thin air. Try eating, making love or sightseeing faster, in order to fit more of it into less time; you end up bloated, unsatisfied and tired. Try sleeping as fast as possible and you will end up tossing and turning for hours. The attempts to maximize the efficiency of enjoyment are counterproductive. Who has ever watched a sunset and thought “it’s pretty but it would be so much better if it went down faster”. The acceleration of pleasure is its abolition. Eat while you work, work while you commute. Eat while you work, work while you commute. Eat while you work, work while you commute. So here’s to multitasking, our CPUs do it and so should we! What we really yearn for is not multitasking, but unitasking. We long for a unitary, holistic experience of being where effort, socialization and play, learning and aspiration are not components but aspects of the same temporal, psychosocial flow: Like an artisan perhaps, who hones their skills distilled through generations, bestowing the pride of creation in a dance of individuality and social tradition. Or a grower whose harvest is festival, and whose spiritual imagination is immanent to producing on a commons. Just wondering… Maybe we wouldn’t feel the motivation to do the things we do as fast as possible if we were enjoying them. Maybe we wouldn’t feel the urge to move so fast if we liked where we were to begin with. Maybe we wouldn’t feel the need to expose ourselves to so much information, if we found more meaning into what we can know. It’s not overlaying one distinct activity on top of another so that they might be completed in half the time with double the physiological strain that we want. It’s enriching one activity with the satisfaction of two. We can aim to build in the morning, criticize in the afternoon and write poetry in the evening, yes, but how lovely it would be to rediscover these activities in their multifaceted richness; think about how to improve your technique as you create useful things for your community; turn your pursuit of poetry into the reason to learn the language in which to critique with love. What if we were to optimize our transportation less towards taking us to the space to live in, and more towards providing a space to live in, in the here and now. Perhaps it is not so much high speed rail that we need but living space rail – where transportation is no longer a non-place, but a lived place. Does it matter how long a journey takes, if it doesn’t diminish your living but adds to it? We could need less leisure and less consumption to compensate if our productive activities and motions were not so tedious and exhausting. We could find ways to become less tourists and more journey-people. Structure our economy to stimulate both mental and manual development. Stop racing. Start breathing. But we can’t do it on our own, set as we are in rivalry against each other, driven to compete, ever faster, in separation: It’s going to take all of us slowing down together, in order for no one to drop out. And it will require us to replace the decision makers with… … well, us. Eat while we love, love while we slow down. Eat while we love, love while we slow down. Eat while we love, love while we slow down. We too find slowing down hard sometimes, but most often, in this project, work and pleasure do meet. Sometimes our work is too philosophical, other times not enough, but if you like what we’re doing don’t forget to subscribe and hit that bell button and don’t support just us, support your community, support worker’s rights, and support the struggle for a more equal world to live in. Subtitles by the Amara.org community