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Life, Poetry

The Violence of Speed

Take a moment to think about the projects, people, relationships, and strangers you hurt (on a daily basis) by moving too fast. Think of the moments and opportunities you’ve missed for the sake of getting to the next moment that you, by habituated instinct, will arrive at only to rush through as well. Think of the violence you’ve done to yourself by the pace you’ve lived life: emotional, spiritual, and even physical violence. Think about broken relationships, missed opportunities, and the stress and anxiety that we physically carry inside our minds and bodies.

All this because of speed.

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I’ve been guilty of this my whole life. Whether graduation dates, relationship statuses, or marathon times, I like to do life fast..the fastest. When did doing something faster equate to doing it better? Where do I expect to end up? And why do I assume anyone is paying attention to how quickly I get there?

Our culture has such a broken relationship with time. We are finite beings in an infinitely (expanding) universe created in the image of an infinite God. I don’t know much about math, but I do know that even the speed of light is not fast enough to get us to infinity.

My stubborn drive to move – and move fast – means I am either missing what’s now (best case scenario) or I am so belligerently pacing through life, that I am doing violence to myself and others; destroying experiences before I can receive, embed, and become them (worst case, and more likely, scenario).

[This violence occurs at seemingly abstract spiritual and emotional levels all the time, doing damage to our relationship with others, ourselves, and God. But the violence of speed happens on more tangible levels, too. We hate, oppress, and even kill people in the name of fast change (what we label “improvement” or “progress”), as well as quick political moves.]

This is why art is so important. Baking bread, gardening, reading poetry, writing a blog post. These things take time and force us to slow down for the experience of creating and receiving. Good art (like a good meal) is slow, enjoyed in the midst of a community, and I believe is integral in healing our violent obsession with speed.

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About Samantha Curley

Hi! My name is Samantha Curley. I live in Pasadena, California where I run a non-profit organization called Level Ground (onlevelground.org). I like to ponder, ask questions, and share stories about life, art, and faith.

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