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The case for being ineffective, inefficient, or irrational
For Kenny: thank you for challenging my worldviews :-)
I wonder how many folks in the rationalist and Effective Altruism circles spend hours watching wildlife. Or over thirty minutes making their tea? How about spending an hour perfecting a rose bouquet? Baking a cake for two days for the sake of laboring with love and spending their sweet time on it?
I wouldn’t bet that many do. I don’t either! I could do so many “better” things with my time. Maybe I could earn more money or improve my matrix-calculating skills. However, there was a time when all I used to do was slow-maxx.
Before I got my first computer three years ago, I’d spend hours watching a caterpillar make its way through the driveway or listen to the blue jays chirp to each other for hours early in the morning to decode their bird-speak. My average Saturday night would consist of picking one firefly in the yard and following it around for hours with my younger sister until we could not tolerate mosquito bites.
Is it rational to be slow-maxxing? Absolutely not. If you want to make the most significant impact in the world or become the most brilliant person, watching bugs isn’t the most effective way to get there. But, I claim it’s worth making time to take back the beautiful details the modern world stole from you. The world demands you to optimize time, money, and resources. After contemplating it for a while, I conclude that effective optimization is acting out of scarcity.
While it’s something humans have dealt with since the beginning of time, the transition to the post-scarcity era is an excellent opportunity to unlearn scarcity-driven behaviors, bit by bit. Acclimating your body to a routine driven by scarcity every hour of the day doesn’t feel balanced or nourishing. Instead, it’s worth cultivating a relationship with your universe where you act in abundance.
Being present for extended periods of time devoted to one thing feels like a luxury that doesn’t sound accessible to the average working man. In the western world, I claim it’s doable for people from every stage of life to be slow-maxxing. Now, I don’t claim it’s a good idea to slow-maxx everything.
But, for a deeply human and embodied experience, spending more time on the angelic details enriches emotional health and well-being. I call it: fulfillment-maxxing 🌺.
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