Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.
—To His Coy Mistress’, Andrew Marvell
Modern man wants to make maximum use of time. This calls for acceleration. This calls for not merely speed but velocity which is speed in a particular direction. Civilisation cannot afford to suffer from a lack of direction. Modern man, obsessed with optimum and proper utilisation of time, has reduced hours to minutes and minutes to seconds. This obsession with overpowering or defeating time is best expressed in man’s obsession with speed.
This craze for speed is not merely a typical characteristic of the youth. Be it horse racing or motor racing, one can find thousands of pot-bellied old gentlemen screaming their lungs out to cheer the fast and the furious on the tracks. Speed is here to stay. Speed has evolved to become a symbol of power. The media continuously pumps into your brain that if you are not fast enough to keep up with the times, you are out of the rat race. Speed is glorified as power in advertisements for bikes and cars. Forget a bike or a car.
A simple mobile becomes the ultimate example for the craze for speed. Communication has changed, and how! You have five different friends in the world sharing a conversation at the same moment. The Internet too has become a part of the mobile technology.
Beneath the glittering and complacent image of the fast man in a fast age lie some disturbing questions. Are we bombarding ourselves with fast information, fast communication, fast success, fast money and fast food to insane limits? Are we running so fast that we cannot remember where we have to go? If speed means proper utilisation of time, or if one’s obsession with speed ensures a better life for all, it is fine! If speed leads us to goals where humanitarian values are not compromised, we are sure to be relaxed. But the reality is that we move so fast that we have no time to notice the sunset by the sea or the wet eyes of an old father waiting for his son.