Academic journal article et Cetera

The Acceleration of Just about Everything

Academic journal article et Cetera

The Acceleration of Just about Everything

Article excerpt

James Gleick. Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. New York: Pantheon, 1999.

As we enter the new millennium, we have become a quickreflexed, multi-tasking, channel-flipping, fast-forwarding species. So says James Gleick in Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything.

Gleick, the author of Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman and Chaos: Making a New Science, provides dozens of examples, in 37 short chapters, which demonstrate human beings suffer from "hurry-sickness" (a term coined by Meyer Friedman, one of two California cardiologists who came up with the idea of the "Type-A personality"). For example, we wait impatiently for the elevator door to close or the traffic light to change. Instead we push the "close the door" and the "change to go" button even though they both have probably been purposely disabled by those in charge of these systems. We want fast food, fast Internet connections, fast news, and fast drugs (caffeine is available in Coca Cola, coffee, tea, and new lines of soft drinks like Jolt and Surge). And we don't want to become bored.

Gleick contends it is not enough just to go out for a drive. That's too boring so we turn on the radio. That's boring too so we make a call on the cellular phone. Now we're driving, listening to the radio, and talking on the phone and we're still bored. That's when the thought occurs: wouldn't it be great if we could just do nothing. But that thought is fleeting because there's not enough time to indulge it. With only 1440 minutes in a day there's not much time to indulge in anything. …

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