Several weeks ago, I read a post by Alan Jacobs where he poses the following question to all the professionals who are eager to outsource their research and writing to AI, as well as to the people who watch movies or listen to music at 2x speed:
My question about all this is: And then? You rush through the writing, the researching, the watching, the listening, you’re done with it, you get it behind you — and what is in front of you? Well, death, for one thing. For the main thing.
“And then…?” is a great question to ask whenever you want to rush—whether it’s in your leisure, work, or even your season of life. Why exactly are you hurrying? And when you’re through with whatever’s in front of you, whatever it is, what then?
I say: If you’re trying to get through your work as quickly as you can, then maybe you should see if you can find a different line of work. And if you’re trying to get through your leisure-time reading and watching and listening as quickly as you can, then you definitely do not understand the meaning of leisure and should do a thorough rethink. And in both cases maybe it would be useful to read Mark Helprin on “The Acceleration of Tranquility.”
I’ve found myself thinking back to this post whenever I feel the urge to hurry. This is especially the case when I find myself itching to speed through a book I’m listening to. Instead of speeding through, I’ve been starting to reconsider whether I want to spend any more time at all with that particular book—especially if I’m supposedly reading it for ‘leisure’. Because if I’m going to spend my leisure time on it, I might as well enjoy the time I spend with it instead of focusing primarily on getting through it.