In Slowness

Andrew Conti studio painting

Speed is a slashing knife to painting, sex and food.
Barbarous villain to these things I most enjoy and antithetical to enjoyment, sensuality, and fulfillment. Speed a release trigger for less sophisticated brain chemicals marketed as freedom and power where there is none.

Its troubling to note that there are state enforced statutes against slowness. In a land where one is forced by lack of infrastructure to purchase and maintain a vehicle (itself an undeclared tax on our finances, health, and productivity), one is also forced to adopt a collective mindset that destination trump journeys, and observation is irrelevant.

Being forced to drive everyday could be a trigger of a statistically unhealthy and unhappy nation. And with the plentiful feed of  advertising and long-rooted culture of association between cars and imagined freedoms, it seemingly goes unnoticed. Cursing fuel prices, and insurances seen not even as necessary evils, but components of reality like sleep and the catching of colds. No alternatives or futures can even be conceived much less imagined.

In the forced seating and confines of the car I dream mostly of bicycles and walks. Imagining any way to connect the disconnected terrain I traverse.  I imagine no greater freedom than walking, at once in the act of moving and changing and yet still in the ideal framework for observation and connection with the world and people around you.

In most all things, observation and slowness are my only true markers of freedom and enjoyment. They dissuade the fleeting chemicals of body, for the slow-release of built networks of soul and senses.In all angles televised, radio, or internet we are then subjected to images of speed and the car as freedom – replacement for ourselves and our own growth and experience. Yet in the car we are forced to follow certain daily rituals that remove us from the practice and perfection of these skills. And with their study relegated to spare times, we suffer in Thoreaus might have called ‘unconscious despair’ … concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.

Within my car I also imagine slowing down my morning commute to a slow roll. What I imagine might have been the speed of a horse-drawn buggy at standard trot. Slowing the world around me, to be not in a vessel of transportation, but in a vessel of experience.