Sunday, March 1, 2009

Slowing down during the great fast

Fasting and controlling one’s diet in all religious traditions is not only a way to appease the God’s and get our individual desires fulfilled but also to evaluate as to where we are going and what we are doing. In this sense we would have to look at our lives and the world we live in and analyse them individually and in tandem.

One of the things that would emerge from such an analysis is the fast way of life that has crept into our scheme of existence. It is not just about the fast bikes and cars, but the whole way of how we look at life itself. Every innovation and invention helps to make life faster and faster. Computer games take us into the level of a speedy, crazy and dangerous virtual reality and prepare us to convert this excitement into the real thing by then using it in our real life settings.

Everything that we have to live with is in this sense fast and furious. We don’t have time to meet each other in person and so we text people and call them on the phone. With the next generation 3G services being offered by phone companies we can even see each other through streamlined video. Everything is brought to the convenience of the screen. We watch beautiful places through the screen because we don’t have the time and patience to go there in person. Our screen then becomes another symbol of our super duper life where time and tide wait for no one.

As our lives are transformed, the products of entertainment follow suit and sometimes even set the trend. Such a product is the 20-20 cricket league which has been such a huge success in India and kicks off it’s second edition in a month’s time. The justification for such a format is that people don’t have time and therefore we should compress things and offer it in a capsule of entertainment with images that will make them glued to the presentation. The game should be so fast that it should be over before we realise it.

But how long can we keep up with the fast and furious talk? After the first 20-20 match of the Indian cricket team’s tour to New Zealand, Dhoni, the Indian captain, was seen telling his team mates that one should also show patience as even twenty overs is a long time. One can’t think that every ball can be hit out of the stadium. It was quite a bit of a revelation from the captain. Wonder if the poster boys of Indian cricket got the point! And even more, wonder whether those sucked in by the 20-20 hysteria got the essence of the 'slow' comment.

The words fasting and fast for me thus refer to something else. It sounds as if we are preparing to be faster and more aggressive in our lives when the essence of a preparation should be to rather slow down and examine our lives and enjoy what the world has to offer. In that sense I would like to say that I am slowing down and not fasting!

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Anonymous said...

What a meaningful analysis of words and word plays...
I recently read an interview with a sociologist who stated that our life is getting faster and faster without human beings being really able to do anything against it any more.
...maybe the preparation time before Easter (or the preparation time before other important religious events) can help to slow down - against all odds.
Thank you for this inspiration.

Fr Jerry said...

I guess we have to re-interpret the way we prepare for religious events because the world we are living in is changing quickly. Slowing down is difficult but very important nevertheless. Thanks for the comment.

kunnampally rev. said...

yes Achen, a meaningful thought for the Lent.

The focus of the great fast is not just giving up of meat, alcohol, sweets and other types of food but it is the time of introspection and prayer, a time to reflect on one's state of life, and, if necessary, to re-order one's priorities.

Yes its time to slowdown to re-order our priorities.

Fr Jerry said...

Kunnampally: We have to re-invent ourselves and the way we think as only then we will be relevant in an age like this. It is also that we should know what we are doing and should not do something for the sake of it. Thanks.