“Invisibly, almost without notice, we are losing ourselves,” says the quote at the end of this thoughtful reflection. I think of Kosuke Koyama’s metaphor of the three-mile-an-hour God. Why three-miles-per-hour? Because that’s the natural pace of a human being walking.
Physicist, novelist, and essayist Alan Lightman has added his own manifesto, In Praise of Wasting Time. Of course, the title is ironic, because Lightman argues that by putting down our devices and spending time on quiet reflection, we regain some of our lost humanity, peace of mind, and capacity for creativity—not a waste of time, after all, despite the prevailing mentality that we should spend every moment actually doing something. The problem is not only our devices, the internet, and social media. Lightman argues that the world has become much more noisy, fast-paced, and distracting. Partly, he writes, this is because the advances that have enabled the much greater transfer of data, and therefore productivity, have created an environment in which seemingly inexorable market forces push for more time working and less leisure time.
Lightman starts his book with an anecdote from his recent time in a rural…
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