A word on ‘pace’

The current fashion is for valuing ‘speed’, the assumption being that slowness is not just boring, but wasteful because inefficient. The first question in communication as in other social practices might have to be ‘What is a humane pace’ or even ‘ What is human pace, under present social conditions?’, ‘Under what conditions is slowness of pace essential?’. The pace of technological change cannot possibly be mirrored by social institutions, even though that seems intended in calls to accommodate to every innovation as a means of furthering efficiencies: the ceaseless restructurings of organizations are one such symptom, as it the requirements of individuals constantly to adapt.
The more urgent question is to reflect  what the relation between technological, institutional, social and human pace should be. Society cannot hope to mimic the pace inherent in every technological innovation, nor should it attempt to do so. In a healthy sociality, social, human aims and purposes must take precedence.

Gunther Kress, “Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication”. London: Routledge, 2010, p. 29-30.


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