Speed is definitely a word I would associate with New York, sometimes to the level of being dehumanized. I remember times when I received phone calls at work and hung up 2 seconds later because I thought the person on the other line was speaking too slowly. Other times when I called more relaxed places I had to always ask if they were sick and why they spoke in such a strange way. New York can do that to you and it normally takes quite a while to slow your street walk back to match the speed of pedestrians in other cities. As for your inner peace in a whirlwind like this, it becomes a priority to achieve and to guard.
Put two people together in a room and they find themselves compelled to break the silence with a conversation. We tend to speak about anything, from the famous ‘weather’ topic, to recent events, to nationality, among other superficial and shallow ‘fill in the silence’ conversations. Most of these conversations are forgotten, as if they never happened. But there are some moments, when a real conversation with a good friend takes you to the edge of the universe and back, gets you inside the meaning of life, slices through the meaningless mundane and drives you both towards the search for truth. When this happens, then a day or a night is won and added to our collection of meaningful moments.
City life is fast, unrelenting, and always moving. At all time, you are pushed and shoved into different directions with the moving crowd, unless you are able to move against the rushing current. How do you do something that counts in a sea of humanity? How do you swim against the stream? How do you find your freedom in a world of old doctrines and a society of rigid opinions?
photo taken: a cross road and moving taxi in central Hong Kong by night
A dog can fetch a twig, sit when asked, place its paw on our palm when asked and we are amazed at its intelligence. A dolphin can jump through loops, head kick balls, follow instructions and demonstrate amazing intelligence compared to other animal species and this stuns us. Yes, we are so impressed by animal tricks and their abilities to follow instruction. But the most miraculous, stunning, amazing and wonderful skill at multitasking in us humans we seem to take for granted or not even stop to think about. These abilities set us at a different level to other planetary inhabitants, not that of superiority but that of responsibility. Were we given these abilities for a reason, and were we supposed to use them for the benefit of the planet and to care for other creatures that live here with us?
This man was riding his bike with one hand, carrying a large bamboo ladder with the other, using his senses to dodge Shanghai’s mad traffic, and his mouth for inhaling his smoke, as well as carrying a conversation with another rider next to him. Incredible what a human faculty is equipped to do and more incredible is how little we use it for what is what meant to really do.