At various points in the last year, I’ve made the argument that acceleration can serve to “reduce the time available for reflexivity, ‘blotting out’ difficult questions in a way analogous to drink and drugs”. My point is that this is pleasurable: it’s something that people embrace because of the satisfactions they find in it, the thrill of moving from one event to the next without time for reflection. If the good life is understood as the full life then living fast feels like living fully.
But as a lived ethos, it obviously wouldn’t be articulated in these terms, if indeed it’s articulated at all. It might just be an orientation to the world that people slip into fleetingly, for certain tracts of time until circumstances or personal consequences lead them to slow down. It might also be a modus operandi, elaborated over the course of a life time through someone’s struggle to find a satisfying and sustainable mode of being in the world.
To get a sense of what I mean by this, consider what Henry Rollins says in this interview:
I’m 55. I just want to go and do stuff. I want to work very vigorously. Travel hard. Have a crazy itinerary that demands that I get up at 8:40 and do this and don’t be late. And prep for this thing that I’m really not that good at doing but I signed up for anyway. Keeps the blood thin. That’s the life I lead. It’s eventful. But there’s things I go without.