More than ever before, modern individual is running a unique hurdle race where the speedometer pointer determines its own existence. Detachment from nature and its pace, linked with the seasons and other elements out of our control seem to be a mirage in today’s Western societies. Cities become anonymous and we just hover around submerged in our own peculiar universe of interests. Rush is the motor of all our actions; it is the grand prix kinetics that surrounds all our life, speeding it up, making the most out of every single second, worshipping a speed that does not makes us better.
The Slow Movement does not aim to shake the very foundations of all that have been built to date. It intends to reveal the possibility of living life fully but at a slower pace, where individuals can control and own their existence. The key lies in finding the right pace for each part of our daily race. We should be able to run when it is necessary and cope with the feared stress that too many a time is upon us; however, we should also be able to know when to stop and enjoy an extended present which too often ends up buried by near future duties.
Slowness is often related to negative values. Clumsiness, disinterest, tedium are dimensions that do not include the positive effects resulting from a paused, well-thought and safe attitude.
Important decisions can not be taken always randomly or impulsively. We are all aware of that. It is hard to believe that multitasking could lead to good results; it rather leads to mediocrity in different scenarios. Likewise, inactivity is not always synonymous with emptiness. A contemplative attitude makes us integral part of our environment and can harbor bright ideas which may positively influence our behavior.
The Slow Movement intends to provide individuals with the tools to prevent their existence to be merely a succession of chained scenarios void of emotions.
Overall, the Slow Movement is a source of pleasure, useful to escape from a standardized life ruled by the minute hand of our wrist watch, subdued by a speed that blows away our capacity of enjoying a long-awaited moment when it finally arrives.
The Slow Movement first began in Piazza di Spagna, Rome, in 1986. Its birth is intimately related to certain anti-establishment attitude in open opposition to the Americanization of Europe. When journalist Carlo Petrini witnessed the opening of a well-known fast food restaurant on this historical enclave of the Italian capital, an earthquake shook his very own body. Definitely, the boundaries of what is acceptable have been crossed, and he understood -in an almost visionary way- the dangers lying ahead for the dietary habits of the population in the Old Continent,
dazzled and prone to imitate the vital pace set on the other side of the ocean. The answer came promptly. It sparked the creation of Slow Food, the seed of a movement to come.
The idea was very simple; to protect seasonal, fresh, local products against fast food harassment and to defend local producers’ interests, being sustainable, respecting bio-diversity and warning against the evident danger of overexploiting the soil for financial reasons.
After Slow Food, the idea was applied to different essential areas of our existence: sex, health, work, schooling or leisure: becoming all of them part of the Slow Movement.
Twenty years were needed before the slow community started to gain notoriety worldwide. True to itself, it has spread slowly but nonstop. Its influence is particularly strong in Europe although thousands of people around the world follow the slow dynamics.
The so-called Slow Cities stand as the culminating expression of the movement. Fighting against homogenization and betting hard on the benefits of diversity, some city majors from different regions have taken up the battle started by Petrini, creating spaces in favor of slow-pace development.
Slow Cities are places where nothing is ruled by chance. People’s activities revolve around squares, which encourages the social interaction of agoras. Of course, the production of local – and in some cases even endemic- food is fostered, and small handicraft stores line up one next to the other on the narrow streets of historical places.
Far from standing against the capitalist logic, Slow Cities nourish from select tourism attracted by the positive effects absorbed through the senses.
The intention is crystal-clear; to create a network of people coming from all around the world who share these places where the art of good cooking is closely related to the local open idiosyncrasy; to cared hospitality and total respect for the environment. In so doing, as Petrini himself states, some virtuous kind of globalization occurs, where all connecting parties get a highly positive feedback from this experience, getting to know the apricot varieties in the Vesuvius area, or allowing the discovery of Maresme peas to those interested and living on the other side of the Earth.