When passenger-pulling steam engines were first invented it was suggested that such a vehicle might, with a little further development, attain the astonishing speed of 30mph.

At this, a great upwelling of fear and horror swept through the population and great men spoke out against this disastrous idea; for it was quite obvious to common-sense that human flesh and bones would be unable to withstand such an experience.

Given the foresight of these times these fears seem laughable, but closer examination reveals that they may after all have had a point, for although it is now known to all that the human body can physically stand many multiples of 30mph it seems perhaps that mentally there may be some undetected negative effects.

With those first trains was born the notion of speed as a dynamic unto itself. Prior to this the fastest a man could move was on the back of a galloping horse, and therefore speed, as a concept, was irrevocably linked to the quality of  horses.

With the coming of steam however speed became the criterion, and at that point the experience of time, as a constant and naturally occurring sequence, was changed.

The notion of speed itself began to permeate the social mindset and quickly became a new value system. Speed became exciting, speed was attractive, speed became the lure to capture future generations with new buzz words such as rush, hurry, fast and quick.

This value system now has its epiphany in the new electronic mediums where speed of operation invites a speedy operator, and when one faculty is exaggerated, another must perforce be deprived.

When attention is committed solely to immediacy its ability to linger over a longer timespan is sacrificed and will, through lack of use, atrophy; thus the possibility of an emerging cultural mindset which grasps the multiple intricacies and speed of the latest Smartphone, but sadly, with barely the attention span of a parrot.

Dave Tomlin



This entry was posted on in homepage and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.