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fast.faster.fastest….to nowhere.

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 20, 2012

The thoughts in this post were inspired when I read “Context and Content”.

Objective: To study the apparent “need for speed” observable in human behavior of recent times.


Vimshottari Dasa system of Vedic Astrology considers a normal human life to be 120 years long. For benefit of this post, and considering the huge change that lifestyles have witnessed over the last 3 millenniums, we shall reduce that figure to a more modest 75 years. So in numbers,

Average Human Life = 75 years = 900 months = 27000 days = 432,000 awake hours


1) I have been using Lean Tools to optimize my movements in my house. And I don’t like it! Its become an obsession. Every movement of mine is coordinated to do the maximum amount of work in least time. Its become so bad that when I place a cup of water in the microwave, I can’t just stand there for a minute while it gets heated. I have to occupy myself with some other task, like filling the water bottle, to make the most of that 1 minute. I can’t even sit on my desk waiting for my laptop to boot!

2) A lot of my friends have been asking me the processor speed of my mobile phone. I don’t get it! I remember when the most important parameter in judging a mobile phone used to be its strength and not its speed. If my phone survived a 20 feet drop, it was a good phone!

3) I am getting increasingly impatient at traffic lights. I honk at the car in front of me even when the light is red!

4) At my wedding, I asked my priest to conclude the rituals within 45 minutes. Under normal circumstances, it would have taken close to 3 hours.

5) I am embarrassed when my mobile phone does not stream an online video within 10 secs of clicking “play”.


We have become wholly entrapped in a web of illusion, a world where our minds have been tuned to think that “Time is Money”. We have been manipulated into choosing the fastest journey, without knowing what our destination is. We are made to believe that the speed is important, not where we are headed or what stops on the way we have missed out. It is like sitting in train going at the speed of light. You cannot see anything outside the window of the train, the train has no stops and your destination is the point you started from. You pay for the thought of traveling at the speed of light and nothing else.

Every new gadget aims to be the fastest. Every advertisement offers the quickest delivery. Every network connection sells only one point, speed. Communication network speeds are so high that I feel they are aimed at talking with Martians, not designed for humans. Fast food is the fastest growing industry in most countries. These countries also have the fastest growing waistlines!

There is a growing tendency of paying labor by the hour and not by the amount of work accomplished. Every work assignment is divided into the number of hours it will take to complete. The budget is then made according to these hours. Naturally, there is tremendous pressure on the worker to complete the task as soon as possible, and save the company money. This approach creates a bias towards underestimating the hours required to complete a task.

Game shows reward the first 5 callers, or the first 10 callers and so on. Always the first.first.first.first!

Side Effects:

Every human organ has a life time. A heart can pump blood only for a certain number of years, after that, the muscles stop. Assuming, that human body has a life span of 75 years, we can conclude that so does our mind. Just like our heart pumps blood, mind pumps thoughts in and out. When we rush through our daily activities, when we are in a hurry to do everything, it is the mind that is working extra hours. The hurried lifestyle, both in actions and in thoughts, causes the age of the mind to reduce. So while we think we are achieving greatness by speeding, we are only shortening the time it takes us to reach a point where our mind stops functioning. At that point we are no longer capable of sane reasoning.


Slow down. Both in actions and in thoughts. Witness the manipulation our mind is going through. Enjoy the view outside the window of the train of life. Cherish the stops that come along the way. Stop running, and more importantly, keep walking!


5 Responses to “fast.faster.fastest….to nowhere.”

  1. It’s as if we ourselves “are becoming the computers” and have been programmed at full throttle. Interesting read and sound reasoning. Thank you for sharing!

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