Tweet, apps, and even blogs, such as this one, teach us the habit of impatience. The average shot in an American movie is now two seconds compared to 27.9 seconds back in the 1950s.
Our brain is wired to gravitate towards the unfamiliar. An exquisite piece of music and a good movie contain a perfect balance between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Creators know how to build expectation, let us hang and wait, and bring us to estacy or disappointment just at the right moment.
But in this age of immediacy, one has learned to expect novelty every two seconds instead of half a minute. A video game has to reward small achievements quickly or the player may quit working towards the big reward. We now have Kindergarten graduation because worldwide old rites of passage for teens are not early enough.
Human curiosity, essential to an exploring mind, is dragging us from one object to another much too fast and too soon. We leave a window without taking time to reflect on the previous one. Our mind jumps from one window to the next without any insight from the old one. "Beyond the age of information is the age of choices,"1 and with so much fake news and real news floating around, what should we choose to spend more time on? How much time of looking-in compared to how much time we spend looking-out? What is a good balance for you?
Our world is bombarded with streams of texts, emails, tweets, instagrams, facebook messages, likes and ads. Google and facebook know who we are before we know ourselves. A research suggested that the knowledge of unopened mail in our Inbox can decrease our work efficiency. We worry about what we may be missing. In order to not miss out on anything, we gravitate towards new things that get our attention. Quicker and faster now more than ever.
Our hunger for novelty increases with usage, and we get hungrier faster. Our capacity for slow processes or difficult challenges -that require disciplined efforts- diminishes.
Instant coffee, instant noodles, and now, instant emotional gratification in the appearance of online friendships and relationships. The web threatens deeper inquiry. "In this world of sound bytes, the art of conversation is replaced by personal broadcasting. We are not paying attention to the subtle, the understated." 2. In the age of immediacy, we lost the true curiosity, the one that wishes to truly understand.
Deep Listening facilitates understanding. Practice each day, listen to "noises" and silence around you. Practice to recognize HOW you perceive them. Listen without judgement, and that includes immediate reaction. Listen without preconceptions, as if you were just given ears. Cultivate true curiosity.
1. Charles Earnes
2. Julian treasure
I have known Thich Nhat Hanh since 1984 and try to practice Mindfulness in my daily life. Recently I trained and am now a qualified teacher for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the University of San Diego. See the main tab Mindfulness for course offerings.