People eat fast food when they don’t have enough time to afford themselves a fine delicious meal due to busy work or study. Fast food keeps them from the trouble of cooking and saves them large amount of time. Along with the development of economy, people of the 21st century are entering an era of fast rhythm called “fast food era”. The name “fast food era” is derived from the term “fast food”, describing a time in which pace and efficiency are excessively highly emphasized. Fast food not only represent less time to eat, but also refers the world are rush that people lose patiences to look clearly of themselves who consumed too many stuff, however they didn’t really satisfy.
Fast food culture is now extending to all aspects of modern life. Once there was a survey indicating that in South Korea, nearly a half of office staff set speed as one of the important standards in work. They enjoyed the pleasure of fast working while could barely putting up with “Mr. Slow”. Besides working area, fast food culture can be also found in the field of knowledge and education. On the sales ranking lists of online bookstores like Amazon and kindle, books with the striking names as “how to …..” can be easily found. These books teach readers the crash courses to master a skill after thumping through dozens of pages. Classics are compressed into thin books or movies. People can digest a classic even within two or three hours which in the past, could never be possible.
Stunningly still, “fast food culture” is penetrating into the sacred turf of love and marriage. Speed dating is rather popular in china nowadays. Recent years has witnessed the springing up of matchmaking programs in china like “If You Are the One”, “Take Me out” and so on. On these programs, a young man and a young lady both know nothing about each other before the TV programs start care quickly matched within 20 minutes on spot. Many young people get married after meeting each other for several weeks or even a few days.
This phenomenon is called “flash marriage” or “lightning marriage”. A survey released by Virgin Media aiming at 1,968 adults from England examined their speed at eating, spending money and having sex. The result revealed that scores of them are bolting down their evening meal in less than ten minutes. Others are hurrying through love-making in just two minutes. Workers are also frittering their monthly wages well before their next payday. Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James said “we are now living at a “crazy pace””.
The question is, are we really happy about this fast-paced, constantly changing world? Do we really enjoy life in itself? China’s urban quality of life index report issued by the Chinese Academy of Economy and the Capital Economy and Trade University reveals the life quality indexes of 30 provincial capital cities. The index report indicates that life quality of Beijing is far lower than that of other cities like Guangzhou, Nanjing, Yinchuan, although the pace of life in Beijing ranks the first. Dwellers in Beijing feel less happy but much more stressed than those in other capital cities. Thus, we may reach the conclusion that fast-paced life and the pure pursuit of material wealth can not bring us real happiness.
But what makes us unhappy and how to find the key to happiness? Philosophy provides us the answer. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” ①the famous philosopher of ancient Greece Socrates once said. He believed man should reflect on himself with a critical attitude. Without self-reflection, life can not be regarded as complete. People living in modern society are deprived of the time to contemplate themselves and many other things. They race through life at a breakneck speed, without being able to appreciate the beauty of life itself. This is why they easily lose their mind in the fast changing world and feel unhappy or depressed under many circumstances. “ Be as you wish to see” ② “Know thyself.” “Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.”
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”③ Socrates then gave us the solution. He told us we should get to know ourselves, know who we really are and what we really want. This would help us in our pursuit of real happiness without being striving for the wrong thing. Socrates also enlightened us that we should hold a dialectical attitude towards man’s seeking for material wealth. We human beings have unlimited want in material, which is something we are born with. However, too much desire for material wealth may bring us anxiety and worry.
Liu An, a famous figure of imperial linage of the Western Han Dynasty, wrote in the masterpiece Huai Nan Zi, “trouble comes from excessive desire”. ④ So we should allow ourselves to seek for material fortune properly in order to satisfy our needs, but we shouldn’t let this want for material wealth turn into a crazy avarice. Thus we need to control our desire and also understand the secret of happiness, namely “happiness does not lie in seeking more, but in developing the capability to enjoy less.” Ancient Chinese political theorists Mencius happened to hold the same belief. He once said “there’s no greater idea than abnegating one’s desire to keep inner peace.” ⑤
The remarkable emperor of the ancient Rome Marcus Aurelius, who was also a great philosopher, wrote a book named the Meditations. This book is the production of his deep contemplation on human life which gives us a lot of sagacious advice about life. “After all, there should be some leisure in life”, Marcus Aurelius wrote in his book.⑥ Nowadays, people live in bustling cities, busying working and studying. While in the deep of their minds, seldom are there any people know what they really want. Most of them care much about gains and losses, fame and fortune, which makes them live very tired everyday.
They should have time to reflect on their behaviors and moral ethic, adjust themselves before stepping into the next phase of life. Most people are suffering agonies in their life. The agonies, Marcus Aurelius thought, come from their discontent of power, money and fame. Their endless desire for power, fame and money lies on their shoulders like a piece of heavy stone. What they should do is to alleviate the burdens, stop being obsessed by fame and fortune and keep inner peace. Only by doing this, can people remove worries and live happily.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way. So stop hurrying to seek for fortune and fame. Excessively Fast-paced life only lessens your feelings of happiness and creates the illusion of fear. Slow down your pace, spare your mind some time to contemplate on your behaviors and appreciate the beauty of the world you are living in. drop the electric books, Read a paper book word by word, line by line, page by page, you’ll find the sparkling thoughts of the author, maybe an there will be an emotional resonance between you and the author. Give away fast food; cook a meal with your beloved one.
Taste every dish carefully and slowly, you’ll discover the fragrance of food, and you’ll also taste the love of your wife. Slow down your pace when you are traveling, walk into the narrow street that you didn’t even pay attention to and stop for a plain little flower growing on the roadside, you’ll be surprised at the unique beauty of it. That is also a beauty granted by our mother nature. Spend more time with the girl you plan to have a relationship with; you will get to know her better and better. Her merits and shortcomings will be all exposed before you. Then make a decision whether you should stay with her or not. This is much better than a flash marriage after a tree days’ acquaintance and then you already begin to regret for your hasty decision.
Life is short. You never know what may happen tomorrow. Therefore， it is important to enjoy today. Of course, some people will say that’s why it is important to concentrate a lot of things into a day and live a fast-paced life. If then, how would you possibly have time to enjoy all of those experiences? By doing a few things slowly and doing them well, you can savor the experience and get satisfaction in the process. Haste makes waste. We can’t rush through things mechanically like machines do. If we do, we might forget something; we might take shortcuts. By taking our time, we can do a chore carefully, completely, and correctly.
If we could made life slow down; see ourselves clearly, we could gain the great connection with ourselves. In the Buddhism, when they wake up; they starts have question for whole day that is what I really want; if I dead tomorrow, what are we going to do. We may regard after we miss the really motion, relationship and even ourselves. We should stop to catch shadow which is the stuff go around our life; we should keep the inner emotion and thought. Civilization starts philosophy and question, people own the thought to create art and the form of universal. Are we go backward with civilization? It seems like we carry a pot of flowers; we lose the flower in the road; but we hold the pot.
Quote a famous verse written by Tao Yuanming, the famous writer of the Chinese Eastern Jin Dynasty here,“neath the Eastern fence My gaze upon the Southern mountain rests; The mountain views are good by day or night, The birds come flying homeward to their nests. A truth in this reflection lies concealed, But I forget how it may be revealed.”. ⑦ People walk around to gather water in a cup. People didn’t know and recognize cup already full, because their heart didn’t full. They thought the cup still empty. Therefore, they keep infuse water into that. It talks about human condition, they have empty mind how could they know something? Do the master of yourself, not the society. Gives up the fast food, let us starts a real life.
1. Leibowitz＆David. 2010. The Ironic Defense of Socrates: Plato’s Apology [M]. Cambridge University Press.
2.”Socrates.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2012. 23 October 2012. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/socrates380638.html
3. “Socrates.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2012. 23 October 2012. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/socrates385762.html 4. http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrbhwb/html/2007-12/14/content_33890507.htm
6.Marco Aurelius. 2009. Meditation [M]. BiblioLife,LLC.
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