I was thinking about Leon and our affinity for busyness, when I happened upon a book called In Praise of Slowness, written by Carl Honoré. In that book he describes a New Yorker cartoon that illustrates our dilemma. Two little girls are standing at a school-bus stop, each clutching a personal planner. One says to the other, “Okay, I’ll move ballet back an hour, reschedule gymnastics, and cancel piano. You shift your violin lessons to Thursday and skip soccer practice. That gives us from 3:15 to 3:45 on Wednesday the sixteenth to play.” This, I suppose, is how the madness starts. Pay close attention to the words Honoré uses to describe this fast-life/slow-life dichotomy. “Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity…. It is seeking to live at what musicians call the tempo giusto—the right speed.”* Which of those lifestyles would you prefer?
As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensible duty of all government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith. Let a man throw aside that narrowness of soul, that selfishness of principle, which the niggards of all professions are so unwilling to part with, and he will be at once delivered of his fears on that head. Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society. For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe, that it is the will of the Almighty, that there should be diversity of religious opinions among us: It affords a larger field for our Christian kindness. Were we all of one way of thinking, our religious dispositions would want matter for probation; and on this liberal principle, I look on the various denominations among us, to be like children of the same family, differing only, in what is called, their Christian names.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise.