Slow Thinking


Slow thinking is not a new concept.  If you’re anywhere near my age I’m sure you’re familiar with these sayings.

Look before you leap

Engage your brain before you open your mouth

Better to remain silent and thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Sleep on it.

If there are some of these that pertain specifically to the online world I would love to hear them.

I was reacquainted with this concept listening to economist Arnold Kling discuss his book The Three Languages of Politics.

The concept is pretty easy to understand.  Take a bit of time before you speak (or write, or tweet etc.).  How long do you wait?  It’s hard to say.  It could be a breath, a minute, hours or days.  The point is don’t just spout off.  How many disagreements, road rage incidents, or on line “flame wars” could be prevented this way?

Social media is littered with people who could learn from this.

Of course there have been times when I’ve been irritated, or angered by some random post.  I’ve taken to the keyboard and tapped out what I thought was a terribly clever response.  Righteous in my indignation was I.  I did not, however, hit “send”.  I read what I had written.  Then I read it again.  At that point I deleted the post.  It’s quite cathartic.  I recommend you try it.  Go ahead and use all caps!  What I realized was that what I wrote wasn’t going to change anyone’s mind.  It was only going to pull me down into the crevasse of crap that the original poster had created.

As someone who makes a living in the bicycle business, I’m acutely aware of the constant dangers that automobiles (and the drivers that pilot them) pose when I’m riding on city streets.  I have to think that I would, at the very least, feel much safer if the driver that passes too close (always with some choice words) would take a breath and realize that a bicycle is not actually an impediment to their day.  (Staying off phones while driving would actually accomplish a whole lot more, but that’s a different discussion.)

Now I’m quite sure, gentle reader, that none of these things apply to you directly.  Possibly you have a friend that could benefit from this?  We all have that friend.

Here’s to embracing the slow.