Aram is a first-time guest at Kedistan, with an article to make us think about the rush and the haste that cut our lives short…
Corona isn’t what will kill us, haste will…
I wrote my first press article inspired by a photo that had touched me deeply. Looking back on it and re-reading my article, I realized how disorderly it was and written in so much haste. When I ask myself about the reasons for such haste, I find a few main ones. I think one of them is the enthusiasm of writing my first article, and that is a truly fine reason. Because, for me, enthusiasm is an important sign that I am alive. To be exalted, passionate, filled with desire are symptoms of life, if I may say so. Another reason being that, generally, I tend to focus on the topic more than on the words. When speaking, it is not a problem if you don’t worry about words, busy in pursuing a dialogue. You can always retrace your steps, repeat, explain. But in writing, you only get one chance and you must use it well by choosing the right words. In writing, words are your shelters, the absence of gestures and facial movements being compensated by the weight of words.
The two reasons mentioned above are very personal. I don’t feel the need to talk about them further – or I will do so by myself. But I think we have to talk about speed. Being rapid, living fast, or being forced to live quickly, creates a dizzying situation and most of us suffer from it. I thought I would write down a few words on this topic and now is the time to do so.
The topic of corona has often been discussed with two different classes, the bourgeois and the workers. In general, my interest goes to the intermediate classes, those stuck in the middle. Being caught between two fires always strikes me as dangerous. So I would like to talk about a third class, that ruled by “haste”.
As far as can be seen on social media and around me, those who are currently isolated at home (or who are lucky enough to do so) seem ill at ease. To tell the truth, this strikes me as odd, for in an era where haste has become a lifestyle, that fact that isolation, quietness, is disturbing, raises questions in me.
Video, Emre M. Istanbul, 2020
A modern human being, used to crowds, to the rushed turmoil in which he lives frantically, finding himself suddenly alone with himself, enters a period of shock. For those who have never been alone, who have never attempted to understand themselves or who have never found the time to do so, this a a kind of torture. The fact that venues chosen for socializing are spaces that don’t allow exchanges but rather places filled with noise is a sign. This may be an unconscious choice for a contemporary human, in order to forget himself. It may be because of the worry caused by the lack of haste, by intolerance for one’s self, or because one is not the person one is forced to be.
Nietzsche said that in order to get on with our lives we work with more motivation than necessary and without thinking, for it is even more important not to have time to settle down and think. Haste is universal because everyone is busy attempting to flee their own self. 1
This leads to a lack of understanding, a loss of meaning and incompetence. In English the root of the word “understand” comes from the notion of “stopping”. Stopping in order to think, leading to “understanding”. The result of constant movement without thought, of constantly being in flux can only be quantitative, it cannot go beyond numbers and units of measurement, it cannot become qualitative.
Perhaps we can remain standing during the period we are going through, thanks to small contributions. Building a shelter for birds on our window sill, offering a bowl of kibbles to street animals. We can be in solidarity with small groups of people, less fortunate than we are.
We must give ourselves a chance to move closer to our own selves. It is an opportunity to learn how to spend some time with one’s self, and to “stop” in order to hear our own voice. Let’s take Edgar Morin’s advice when he says we should take advantage of this period in order to think about our link with the world and wasted living time. He reminds us that the meaning of life is friendship, love and solidarity.
In one of his poems Özdemir Asaf said: “Life is not what will kill us, but this haste will.”
With the hope of not getting caught by the coronavirus, nor by haste.