Now more than ever, the world is operating in a fast-paced manner due to a phenomenon called “Accelerating Change”. This concept refers to the speed at which technology, society and people are ever evolving and improving, leading to the creation of stronger and faster efficiencies with each passing generation. The cause of this acceleration has been attributed to both technology and changing ideas about identity, the world, and the future. The fast-paced environment in which the world operates can be attributed to this constant state of improvement and evolution. Facebook’s own motto (until it became politically incorrect) was to “Move Fast and Break Things”.
While accelerated change has makes us more advanced than ever in history, this isn’t without its negative side effects, including increased anxieties in people, ADHD and inability to listen to others. But, most importantly, I think that people don’t give themselves the ability to slow things down, as they are too busy rushing to the next task. Take garbage-truck traffic, getting stuck in a line longer than expected, a file taking too long to load, or being put on hold during a conversation; since the world we live in takes delays or slowdowns as personal insults, we are truly never able to slow down, and, moreover, appreciate the smaller things in life.
As an ex New-Yorker, my impatience tolerance level is definitely lower than most. All is not lost, however, because, like most physiological behavior, if one habitually forces one’s self to do something repetitively, they may very well end up keeping and normalizing it. For example, one of the features of my new car is that it has an option to play a 2-3 second jingle, between when I put in the car’s anti-theft passcode and when I place the key in the ignition to turn on the car. I used to get annoyed by this delay, as I needed to get to work on time in the morning and convinced myself that these 3 seconds were going to make or break it and I don’t have the time or interest to listen to some stupid music. However, over time, this musical jingle grew on me and when my car settings were reset and the jingle stopped playing, I started to miss it.
The Jews in this week’s Parsha were saved from the brink of death, and instead of running to the next task, the had the foresight to stop. They stopped to think, they stopped to pray and they stopped give praise via song. A song so beautiful, that thousands of years later, we are still singing the same lyrics (not to sound too millennial, but I have been called old and out of touch when I sing The Backstreet Boys or NKOTB).
By slowing things down, by not getting too frustrated when things out of your control take an extra 3 seconds (or maybe even an entire 3 minutes) and by taking the time to listen and experience the world around us, one can experience a greater emotional connection to themselves, thereby gaining a deeper appreciation for the wonderful gift of life.
To quote August Rush; “The music is all around us….all you have to do is listen”