Thinking Less Quickly Is Key To Preserving Our Societies
The digital, social and mobile revolution has dramatically accelerated access to information.
The most striking illustration of that phenomenon is that we spend more time checking notifications on our smartphones than consuming the associated content. Indeed, unless we give up our professional activities and hobbies, it is impossible for us to consume them all.
Therefore, our media routine leads us to always process information and think faster. That can’t be true only for the way we consume content. It also affects the way we express ourselves orally and on social networks. We tend to immediately express everything that goes through our minds regardless of the rigor of our thought or the sweetness of our relationships.
A bad example is set by politicians1 who in recent years have constantly been diminishing the value of their speech to match the instantaneity of news media. Today, that trend is also starting to affect the business world. It risks lowering the quality of decision-making and the strength of team spirit.
That phenomenon also results from the advent of what is known as the “Selfie Society.” Consider that, between 1948 and 1989, the proportion of American teenagers who believe themselves to be “very important” increased from 12 to 79 percent. Imagine what it is today. But, in the age of the selfie, we should preserve the community spirit that, from the family to the nation, is essential to the survival of human societies.
It is therefore time for us to learn (again) to have the wisdom to think rather than react, the courage to think against ourselves2 rather than against others, and the benevolence to listen rather than shorten the conversations in which we take part.
Thus, just as the acceleration of our media consumption has quickened the pace of our communications, the deceleration of the latter will slow down the former.
1 Donald Trump’s Twitter activity is the symptom but not the underlying disease.
2 As recommended by philosopher Emile Chartier, aka Alain (“Thought is saying no, and it is to itself that thought says no“).