The Joys of Speed

The twenty- first century is the century of hurry. Speed is the watch-word. Life flows on at a very high tempo and minutes and seconds are as important to the modern man as days and weeks to his ancestor. With a helicopter whirring above and a Deccan Queen whizzing below at a terrific speed it is entirely a different earth we have inherited.

Speed is the alpha and omega of the universe. Electrons move at the unimaginable speed of 186,000 miles per second and electrons are the ultimate reality. So speed lies at the bottom of all things. It is the be-all and end-all; it is the Brahm of the Vedantin. Small wonder then that man derives joy out of speed because he is then in unison with the ultimate reality.

The child feels such a thrill in speed. Look at the merry-go-round. The merry-go-round whirls and the kid is sped along. As the speed increases the kid shouts with joy and the shout increases in intensity in proportion as the speed goes up. When the merry-go-round “spins dead” the kid goes wild with ecstasy ; he has known the experience of being in communion with the infinite.

The youth is equally delighted with speed. Here is a hundred-meter race. Every second of the race is exciting, but nothing more thrilling than the moments of sprints that come towards the end. There is the cycle race. Look at the wild enthusiasm of the spectators. Here is a car dashing along at terrific speed, but then jeep hurling defiance at the car fills the spectators with greater joy.

Speed thus, is a source of joy to all, the child or the youth. Even the old, though physically handicapped , still delight in speed. There is a vicarious experience. The modern man is thus a speed-ridden man. Speed is the demi-god whom he worships, but is a demi-god all the same. It gives joy but whether peace is also there, one cannot say. With the whirrs above, and the whizzes below, the nerves of the modern man have become taut. Life is not speed, but rhythm which means pauses. Unfortunately these pauses are too few in the life of the modern man with the result that at the end of the day he is a jaded man, both physically and mentally. He becomes a victim of tired nerves and that is why nervous diseases are on the increase.

Speed is thus not an unmixed joy!