A Common Practice

Concluding Statement


This concluding statement brings together findings from analysis and interpretation of alternative modes of engagement within an accelerated culture.

Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds sets up an argument that technology and current economic policy not only perpetuate but fortify a condition of acceleration. It zooms in to detail how this culture impacts the physiology of the individual. It pinpoints the dominance of productivity as domesticating the mind through the elimination of authentically free time. It emphasises the significance of dematerialisation in alienating the body in its shift toward a sedentary, disconnected and fragmented lived experience. The chapter zooms out to identify how acceleration impacts on the social realms of individual reflection, labour and common space. A loss of interiority within the individual is connected with Fromm’s concept of having, rather than being. The increasing meaninglessness of labour is evidenced in statistical data to call into question our obsession with ‘work ethic’, proposing instead Cannon’s notion of ‘the worthwhile ethic’. The chapter finishes by linking the diminishment of common spaces – through the privatisation of everyday life, and the spread of pseudo-public space – with the deterioration of citizenship.

Observations on the feeling of the beautiful and the sublime traces the historical significance of walking in Western culture – through the eighteenth-century philosophers and aristocratic gardens to the alienated workers of the industrial revolution – with the aim of establishing its precedent function as a mental and physical relief. It situates the work of Richard Long alongside the gardens of Louis le Roy and Ian Hamilton Finlay, drawing attention to their integration of values and beliefs into extended practice in anticipation of chapter three. The chapter dismisses the commodification of the Slow movement to stress political engagement. It refers to walkers accounts of mental stimulation and physical engagement to assert its active mode of being in the world. In contrast with the domesticated mind and alienated body in the previous chapter, we become more aware of what is at stake. Finally, the chapter rationalises the methodology of digression and association as a mode of deceleration.

  • Acceleration
  • Acclimatisation