By Herminio Otero Martínez
Immediate satisfaction has been the spring that has kept the new generations alive, uniting magical childhood with prolonged adolescence. And now we all walk in a sinvivir, inhabited by impatience, infected with haste, full of desires for immediate fulfillment and eager for novelties that are constantly replaced.
The writer Vicente Verdú sees the origin of all this in the events of May 68, some of its elements still survive: the liberation of women, the culture of consumption and immediate pleasure. It was the year that changed the world. Many fuses lit at the same time (Paris, San Francisco, Prague, Vietnam) and a generation of young people rebelled against the model of bourgeois society, which they fought with sexual liberation, the immediate pleasure of drugs or the collective cradle in the rock and Roll'.
Capitalism, so hated, knew how to adapt to "develop as a festival of consumption added to the celebration of orgasm, anti-authoritarianism, adventure and the love of revolution." The result was the acceleration of consumer pleasure and immediate enjoyment. And they mutated the bourgeois values of saving, utility and purpose: “In the face of repressive saving, spending; against calculated utility, immediacy, and against purpose, adventure. The meeting of these three elements draws the triangle of consumer culture. "
Almost half a century later, the melody of the new consumer capitalism continues to increase in volume and spread. We want everything for ourselves at this time, we have a hard time waiting in any field, so we seek to accelerate the pace of events in everything around us. We don't know how to wait and impatience can. The wasteful society has accustomed us to compulsive consumption. We want everything instantaneous, at the moment. And we consume time and resources in a wild race against the natural rhythm of things. We overload our daily schedule with commitments and activities and we don't have time to breathe.
For centuries we lived at the slow pace marked by the revolution in agriculture, which was the first great human revolution. Thousands of years later, with the industrial revolution, the culture of impatience began to take shape, which has reached its peak in the 21st century with the third great human revolution: the intelligence revolution.
Instant pleasure had its roots in human nature. Aladdin's lamp genie granted only three wishes, but the amazing thing is that the genie immediately appeared when Aladdin rubbed the lamp. This is what has always happened to us: we wish and dream that the solution comes to us immediately. The magic was for it.
Today, everything is instantaneous and less and less things seem magical to us, as accustomed as we are to that it seems that everything works as if by magic. The remote control stretched out our arms until we achieved our dreams. And the click of a key joined us to that ocean in which what we want is present to us.
The urgent triumphs because it is synonymous with easy rather than fast: it saves us effort more than time. The problem is that we confuse pleasure with instant gratification, but instant gratification is addictive. The faster we get something, the more impatient we are the next time and the more anxiety it causes us.
This was not the case at the time when copying a manuscript took decades or building a cathedral took centuries. Patience and slowness were considered capital virtues. Anything that requires waiting requires patience and planning. And the satisfaction that something gives us is still linked to the time and dedication that it has cost us to achieve it. “We run incessantly because we don't know where we are going or what we want to do with our lives. How we stop to think scares us, we keep on running ”, summarizes the writer Francesc Miralles.
Haste and impatience pour small doses of poison on our minds and hearts, so that being impatient constitutes a risk factor for our physical and mental health: it increases hypertension and generates frustration, anguish, accumulated stress, psychosomatic disorders and deterioration of personal and work relationships. In addition, it contributes to postponement, incites drinking and violence, often leads to poor decisions, causes financial problems, and breaks up friendships. A bad life!
So why are we impatient? Impatience arises from within us when we live unconsciously and is often an indicator that we are not comfortable with ourselves. It is a symptom that we do not know how to read our circumstances and a sign of a limiting belief: that our happiness is not found in this precise moment, but in another that is about to arrive.
But haste does not serve to accelerate the pace of what happens to us. Before it, we can only "live awake": realize that we cannot change what happens to us, but we can change our attitude and do only what depends on us without complaining about what depends on others. In this way we will come to understand that all the processes that are part of our existence have their own rhythm and that what we need to be happy is already in this precise moment and in this precise place.