I’ve been reading Saving Time by Jenny Odell. I’m not halfway through it yet, and maybe it’s a bit of a Baader–Meinhof thing going on, but now I’m noticing the notion of shifting the perception of time in more places.
When I first heard about Empath units, I assumed that their main contribution to mental-health care was empathy. This isn’t wrong, but it is incomplete. In my experience, nearly every caregiver aims to show empathy; the question is whether, in an emergency, we have the space and time to do so. In Minnesota, I started to think that the Empath unit’s real innovation is a structural shift in how we think about space and time. We usually consider drugs, devices, and procedures the kinds of medical care that make a difference, but physical spaces can be therapeutic, too. It’s also easy to forget that, in a crisis, every minute matters.
Speed is evidently important in many contexts. Quick reactions and instinctive responsiveness aid survival. But we also have a subsequent ‘slow’ response, which is conscious and deliberative, and may be beneficial for more complex social interactions and moral emotions. Perhaps ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ thinking are really two sides of the same coin – intrinsically related, but with their own independent virtues. In our fast-moving society that frequently prioritises speed, the importance of slowness should not be forgotten.
Not online, it’s August 1st, and someone today said “August already, it feels like Summer just started”. Maybe it did? The humidity finally broke — I’m sitting on the back porch writing this because it’s finally nicer outside than in. What’s Summer but a state of mind anyway.
Posted: August 2023