Transforming our “Sense of Urgency”

Zygmunt Bauman (b. 1925), Polish philosopher

Zygmunt Bauman (b. 1925), Polish philosopher

Contemporary life is often imbibed with a hectic rhythm, rushing at work to be efficient and out of work to run errands, go to the gym, attend family and social events…

I have realized that this “culture of urgency” have defined human relationships in the last few years, too. We want everything fast; we want everything NOW!

However that´s not the way goals are achieved, dreams are realized. If we happen to read the biography of a great person -politician, artist, intellectual, guru-, we will remark all the effort, discipline, determination and hard work involved in “success”.

At the same time, not only career development, but also personal life demands huge doses of generosity and patience. Building a true friendship will take us, at least, some years: getting to know someone, spending time together, loving and accepting…

To me this “timing” is beautiful. I find pleasure in the gradual, “day after day”, “little by little” tempo. It responds to the true nature of things and feelings. I believe the outcome is as well more solid and long-lasting.

Bauman notion of Liquid Post-modernity conveys some of the ideas expressed. I highly recommend to read him. Check out the following Routledge tag

Postmodernity and Liquid Modernity

In the 1980s and 1990s, Bauman was known as a key theorist of postmodernity. While many theorists of the postmodern condition argued that it signified a radical break with modern society, Bauman contended that modernity had always been characterized by an ambivalent, “dual” nature. On the one hand, Bauman saw modern society as being largely characterized by a need for order—a need to domesticate, categorize, and rationalize the world so it would be controllable, predictable, and understandable. It is this ordering, rationalizing tendency that Max Weber saw as the characteristic force of modernization. But, on the other hand, modernity was also always characterized by radical change, by a constant overthrowing of tradition and traditional forms of economy, culture, and relationship—“all that is solid melts into air,” as Marx characterized this aspect of modern society. For Bauman, postmodernity is the result of modernity’s failure to rationalize the world and the amplification of its capacity for constant change.

In later years, Bauman felt that the term “postmodern” was problematic and started using the term liquid modernity to better describe the condition of constant mobility and change he sees in relationships, identities, and global economics within contemporary society. Instead of referring to modernity and postmodernity, Bauman writes of a transition from solid modernity to a more liquid form of social life.

For Bauman, the consequences of this move to a liquid modernity can most easily be seen in contemporary approaches to self-identity. In liquid modernity, constructing a durable identity that coheres over time and space becomes increasingly impossible, according to Bauman. We have moved from a period where we understood ourselves as “pilgrims” in search of deeper meaning to one where we act as “tourists” in search of multiple but fleeting social experiences.


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