More, Faster, Better: Governance in an Age of Overload, Busyness, and Speed

David M. Levy


While today’s information technologies provide powerful means to connect us to one another and to vast sources of information, there is increasing evidence that they are also having the opposite effect: disconnecting and distancing us from ourselves and the world around us. Indeed, information overload and the accelerating pace of life — conditions the technologies encourage if not determine — appear to be contributing to health problems, decreased work satisfaction and productivity, as well as to the diminishment of our ethical, social, and political faculties. This paper will focus on the ways current conditions may be limiting our ability to control or govern ourselves, both personally and politically, by driving out slower, “endangered” practices, such as time to think and reflect, time to listen, and time to cultivate our humanity. Drawing a parallel with the environmental movement, it will argue for cultivating and replenishing these endangered habitats, designing spaces and times for reflection and contemplation in the service of mature governance.

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