Joseph Ratliff Writer, Researcher, Thinker

Category Archives: Slow

Update On The “Slow” Book

A quick update on the progress of the book associated with this site.

Manuscript pretty much completed, and I’m going through it before sending it off to an Editor.

This will be one of those short, snappy books (think Seth Godin’s Domino Project).  I estimate 95 – 130 pages or so.

I’m one of those authors that likes to eliminate the fluff and leave the meat.  We’ll see how it turns out.

But we’re almost there (depending on editing).  Subscribe to the RSS feed or by email to get updates as they are available.

The next post will be back to regular writing.

The Story Of The Snail

If you’ve noticed, there is a snail on top of the world in the header graphic for this website.

Yes, it sits right there on top of the world.

Aside from the obvious thought that the snail is there because they ARE “slow”… or that “slow and steady wins the race”… there are much deeper reasons a snail exists on top of the world.

This is that story…

I thought to myself one day… “What if that snail had the ability to think on a basic human level?  Not evolved, critical thinking, but just enough so that snail could express their thoughts to me.”

They would feel on top of the world… wouldn’t they?

To be given the gift of human thought, the ability to think and express themselves, this snail would feel eternally blessed to have been given the gift of evolution.

Have you ever stopped and thought about the gifts like these that you have been given?  Well, the snail in this story, and on the cover of my book, has.  It feels like it’s on top of the world (and in the header graphic, it is).

Now, the snail moves so slowly, anything it would try to do to express itself would have to top a short list of the things this snail want to accomplish, right?  And, depending on the type of snail, we’re talking about a time period of only 2 to 7 years (in the wild, up to 25 years in captivity) to get whatever this snail wants to do accomplished.

In short, there’s NO time like the present, especially when compared to our average human lifespan of almost 80 years, currently.

And, this snail moves at an astoundingly slow rate of 1 millimeter per second… so I suppose a “snail’s pace” really does apply here.

For the sake of argument, and for this story, we’re going to say that this snail can really only pick one thing, maybe two things, that it can really focus on accomplishing for its life.

We’re talking about the thing, or perhaps the couple of things it wants to do to truly feel on top of the world.  Also, it doesn’t have time, nor can it make time for doing much else other than focusing on what we’ll call its “dream.”

Notice, that the snail in the header of this website IS in fact on top of the world?

It moved slowly, because that’s natural for a snail to do, but it also accomplished its one or two things.

And that’s the lesson of the snail on the cover of my book.

It hasn’t reached the top of the world yet, but it’s going to, because it’s following its own “slow manifesto”… one free of technological advancement, one free of distractions, one that I’m sure will be loaded with genuine connection (because heck, it doesn’t have time to create anything else).

We need to be human, but think like this snail.  Yes, it’s obvious we can move faster than the snail, we are the evolved species etc… but we can still think like the snail.

How?

It starts with picking your one or two things.

Quit trying to be everything to everyone (you can’t), quit trying to please everyone (you can’t), and quit trying to do everything everyday (you can’t).

Slow down, do your one or two things… get good at that, in fact get so good at that you’ll be able to share it with other people in the world.  You know, the ones that really “get” you.  Then, show them how to find their one or two things, how to slow down… how to tune out the marketing, the unnecessary, the critics.

Do that one or two things you have time for in your 80 or so trips around the sun.  Obviously, we’ll expect bigger things from you because you can move faster than 1 millimeter per second… but let’s keep this relative, OK?

Sure, you can use the tools and technology needed to do your one or two things.  The snail used its tools, and whatever technology it was capable of using.  Of course, because you’re human, and because technology at your disposal is just a little bit more advanced, we’ll expect your one or two things to reflect that.

But don’t get distracted by unnecessary upgrading encouraged by marketing companies, don’t fall prey to endless emails sitting in your inbox, and shut off the damn phone once in awhile.  Don’t forget to acknowledge your loved ones, your friends, and enjoy life for what it is (not what marketing makes it to be).

Because in the end, we’re all snails in the eyes of the evolved life form that looks at us and our ability to walk about 5 mph, do all this quantum mechanics stuff, and explore less than 4% of space… and thinks…

“Oh they’re so cute, those little humans running around acting like they’re important.  They’ll learn soon enough.”

You see, the little snail on top of the world in the header graphic, I never wrote the world you see was Earth, did I?  It’s that snail’s little world.

Kind of puts our world into perspective in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t it?

We’re just on this pale blue dot, trying to make our way and understand things better.  We’re trying to explore, engage, connect, work, play, love, etc…

But are we really, truly, deep down doing it the way each of us wants to?

Are we following this snail’s example?  I mean, they have been on this planet for over 500 million years… so I think the snail, this snail, has a lot to teach us… if we bother to slow down enough to learn.

Slow Religion

This is probably going to be a touchy subject.

On top of that, I’ve been bouncing back and forth between publishing this article, and leaving it unpublished.

It’s important to note that NO offense is intended towards any set of beliefs here, or the people that believe them etc… and that I personally respect all opinions on this subject of religion.

For the purposes of this article, I also expect professional and courteous comments/discussion, anything other than that will be deleted (as it applies with any article on this blog).

Let’s get to it…

Slow religion means that no matter what you believe, or don’t believe… no matter where your faith lies, what book you’ve read etc…

Slow down.

Our differences do not need to lie in religious (or non-religious) beliefs.

In fact, it seems to me that “religion” is the wrong venue to “be different” on.  We need to slow down, and think critically, before attacking another person based on their beliefs or religious disposition.

To me, it seems like those that choose to fight (sometimes, wars) based on religious beliefs (or non-religious beliefs) are just… wrong.  I understand that might sound discriminatory, but I’m pointing to the fighting itself, and the decision to fight against each other (in some extreme cases, killing each other) over what we believe or don’t believe religiously.

Seems trivial to me (not the killing and death, the decision and behavior to kill).  If you like to sit on the couch, because you believe the next episode of The Tomorrow People is important, but your neighbor wants to go out and run every day… do we start wars or fight each other over that?

Nope.

I understand that is overly simplified, but…

Haven’t we evolved beyond this need to (en)force our beliefs (or non-beliefs) on others, as human beings part of the same race?

Nope.  Unfortunately we haven’t.

And we need to “slow down” as it pertains to religion.

We’re different enough as humans, and we don’t know everything about creation, the universe, each other etc… and we need to start acting like it.

Believe what you want to believe…

… but don’t force others to change their mind about what they believe…

… and let’s focus on the things that matter in our current form, skin and bones.

The rest will happen according to whatever you believe, but even if it doesn’t, whatever it is will happen anyway.  We’re too insignificant to control it within the scope of the Universe itself.

For now, we are all going to die at some point, that much is guaranteed (although we might extend that in the future).  What happens after death, will either happen according to what we believe or it won’t.

But that ISN’T something we need to kill each other for, it isn’t something we need to discriminate against each other for, and it certainly isn’t something we should be wasting our time arguing about, quite frankly.

There are much bigger fish to fry… like learning how to be humans.  In my opinion, we’re still “rookies” when you consider the big picture.

Slow religion down.  Believe if you want to believe, don’t if you don’t want to.  But don’t hate or discriminate against another person for what they believe.  That’s just wrong.  We are only a small drop in this huge cosmos called the Universe, no matter who (or what process) created that Universe (or even how it was created).

We. Don’t. Matter. In. The. Big. BIG. Picture.

The Universe is going to hum along LONG after we’re gone… regardless of our beliefs or what happens to be “right.”

And just because we might believe we have an idea of how such cosmic and universal events (and the people part of those events) have transpired… in the end, in the big picture, we just don’t know.  No matter what any books that have been written on religion, or otherwise, might say.

Even our science community itself will never answer all questions, or even a small portion of those questions, because there are just WAY too many questions to be asked.

So, let’s slow down religion (and politics, and, and and…) and just enjoy each other’s company in this short ride we call life (whether it ends up being eternal or not).

We only need one “label” for existing on this planet peacefully… that of Human (and all of the imperfections, good and bad, that come along with being human).