Written in 1999 by New York author James Gleick, Faster was ridiculously ahead of its time.
Gleick, a brilliant science writer with a particular focus on technology and its sociological impact, postulated that the internet and the speed of progress was going to be corrosive, creating a collective burnout.
From examining the time people took to press a button on a lift, to instant food, Gleick’s wise and witty words seemed to be prophetic.
We’re all living in unprecedented times, with the rapidly spreading pandemic, climate change chaos and the rise of neoliberalism- putting monolithic self- interest above the greater good.
Gleick even wryly noted that our ancestors would take the time to read a couple of newspapers. Now, we’re told how long it takes to read an article, and it’s, TLDR.
But we’re not LOL-ing anymore, are we? The sense of always doing, always working, being productive, eating street food on the hoof, difficulty with concentration… Faster predicted all of this, as well as trending, social media, text speak and slipping standards with the rise of homogenisation where we work and live.
Let’s be honest, the Calvinist work ethic and capitalism, its modern global twin, is causing insomnia, health problems and trouble with the most basic of human interactions. Our constant need for information and tech 24/7 has made this increasingly clear.
We need to slow down, breathe, and take stock. Surely, we can’t lose sight of the feeling that instant gratification is always less satisfying than… wait for it… Delayed.