'THESE THINGS TAKE TIME' by Hrafnhildur Helgadottir
Being at sea for a while...
In his book, Hare Brain Tortoise Mind (The Ecco Press, 1997), psychologist Guy Claxton reminds us that the human mind has different speeds designed to serve different purposes.
Today's world has come to be dominated by the fast mind, the one that relies on reason, logic, deliberate, and conscious thinking. However, as the world continues to accelerate, the Slower territories of the mind are needed more than ever. Claxton warns that when we undervalue (or outright ignore) the Slow mind, we "foreclose on areas of our psychological resources we need" to address and move through the complexity of today's world.
He explains it this way: "As a culture, we are very good at solving analytic and technological problems. Much of traditional science works so well precisely because the world of which it treats is this kind of world. But when the mind turns its attention to situations that are ecological or 'systemic,' too intricate to be decomposed in this way without serious misrepresentation, the limitations of [a] linguistic, analytical approach are quickly reached."
Where the fast mind is deliberate and favors empirical analysis, the Slow mind is ruminative and intuitive. Where the fast mind is centrist, the Slow mind explores the periphery. Where the fast mind fixes things in time and space, the Slow mind is at home with ambiguity and the imaginative.
The Slow mind is the part of the brain that breathes, takes pause, reflects, dreams, and it isn't afraid to NOT know... (Claxton calls this state of not-knowing "being at sea for a while").
Slow design embraces this approach, but also teaches (in concurrence with Claxton) that our ultimate goal should be to value and strive to use all speeds of the mind. In this way, our ways of perceiving and the world gain agility and offer up a deeper, more robust set of possibilities for meaningful and appropriate engagement.
* * * * * * *
slowLab is currently fundraising on Kickstarter to build a comprehensive online platform for Slow design knowledge. During the campaign, we're sending out posts like this one exposing different branches of Slow design knowledge, explaining who is involved, and demonstrating why our new platform is important.
One of the Slow rewards created for backers of this campaign is a limited edition silkscreen print by Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Helgadottir. The simple phrase 'THESE THINGS TAKE TIME' reminds us that everything has its own rhythm, and that time is (literally) on our side when we allow things to express themselves and flow at their natural pace. The A3 (16.5x11.7") print is on high-quality archival paper, the words softly kissing its surface and barely visible to the naked eye, so that even the act of viewing the print requires a Slower approach. Learn more about this and other backer rewards here >