I remember hearing the late great Robert Anton Wilson talking about the term “Hilaritas”, which is derived from a Greek word, meaning to “live joyfully” and was supposedly used to describe the gods. You could tell they were a god because the had “Hilaritas”.
Humour is incredibly important to the Slow mindset. Humour has power. If you can laugh at something you remove it’s control over you. It is why satire is considered so potent and we used comical propaganda during WWII.
I remember once, when I was still working as an NLP therapist, talking to a group of other therapists and we were chatting about some of our work that we had done. All of a sudden, one of the more earnest therapists just lashed out and said to me “I think you are disgusting! I can’t believe you treat your clients in such a way, you show no respect to them, making fun of them all the time”. I was a bit taken aback, but then explained calmly and gently that I took my clients 100% seriously and treated them with the utmost respect, but what I never did was take their “problems” seriously. As, taking a problem seriously often makes it worse, and if you can get your clients to truly laugh that their problems that can often be enough to make them go away (the problem, not the client!).
In the Slow movement I often meet quite a few earnest people, who take slowing down very seriously. They are somewhat evangelical and critical of other people who do not conform to their understanding of the world (and their understanding of how we should slow down). A friend and I often refer to them as “lentil knitters” and poke a bit of light hearted fun at them. This attitude isn’t helping at all and is often counter productive as turns people off the Slow Movement. Besides, the Slow Movement has no leaders or structure, it is a collection of people embracing the idea of slowing down and rejecting the ethos of “faster is best”, in all it’s forms, there is (as far as I can tell) no “right” or “wrong” way to do it!
So, in this post I thought I would explore the more humorous (yet still important) side of Slowing Down.
I have mentioned the Idler here a few times. It has recently re-invented itself in a more serious guise as a journal of radical thought, but before then it was a tongue in cheek look at the life of loafing. In both its guises I highly recommend it!
The New Escapolosgist
A new periodical in a similar vein to the Idler. Edited by the Glasgow flâneur Robert Wringham, its purpose is to help its readers “flee the humdrum spreadsheet of prescribed reality into an exciting world of one’s own invention.”
The Church of the Latter Day Dude (Dudeism)
Inspired by the antics of Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, in the Coen brother film “The Big Lebowski”, they espose a laidback lifestyle. In it’s own words “Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world – Dudeism. An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh…lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you’d like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we’ll help you get started. Right after a little nap…”
The Church of the Subgenius
The aim of the subgenius is to attain SLACK, the “sense of freedom, independence, and original thinking that comes when you achieve your personal goals.” Although a parody of the major cults and religions, the idea if slack is an excellent one!
Similar to The Church of the Subgenius. The Discordian movement is either a “religion disguised as a joke, or a joke disguised as a religion”. It has no central body as one of the basic tenants is that “us Discordians must stick apart”, but you can learn more at it’s Wikipedia page here. Discordianism reminds us not to take anything too seriously and to just let go.
If anyone has any other lighthearted Slow organisations out there, please let me know.
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