Really, it started with the first step, with the first human idea, which led to further development of some kind. We save time through one invention – only to spend it on something else, a cycle that has been accelerated more and more throughout human history. The latest, industrialization, has turned all the ever-faster spinning wheels into machinery that we have long since been unable to shut down. 

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Since then, the downward spiral has been moving upward: many get richer, some fall by the wayside, all have less time. The digital revolution has accelerated this development even further. So we rush through the world of turbo-capitalism, which threatens to grow over our heads. Hypes replace trends, every day a new shoe, a new dance, a new TikTok filter, and tomorrow something completely different.

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In our globalized world, at first glance, everything looks the same. The brand experience is what counts, so every product must have recognition value in order to arouse buyers’ interest. The big brands have spread everywhere; one street resembles the next; entire city centers are becoming visually interchangeable. The same shops everywhere; the same consumer offers everywhere. The world has become more uniform. Individuality has a hard time in the modern age. And sometimes we feel like characters in a computer game…

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Our lives in a simulation

What Braulliard and “The Matrix” initiated, Elon Musk formulated in 2016 at a technology conference on the blog “Recode” on simulation theory. The core message of this interpretation of the modern age with its increasingly rapid technological developments was: We no longer live in a real world, but in a certain sense already in a computer simulation. We are increasingly moving toward a virtual reality that can no longer be distinguished from analog reality.

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Against the current to happiness

What is a captivating and fascinating theory for some of us, awakens in others a deep uneasiness about a hyper-reality in which they do not want to live. Without wanting to paint too gloomy a picture here, it must be said that returning somewhat to our roots would undoubtedly do us good. To do this, you just have to stop for a moment, pause, and consider the following: Speed is nothing other than the use and organization of our time, not a juggernaut to which we must constantly pay homage.

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We all notice how much “faster” our lives have become. This impression comes from the many small things that demand our attention, be they the blue checkmarks on WhatsApp, the daily flood of messages, or the need to have everything always and immediately because we are so used to it. In the process, because of all the stress, we too easily forget that with the ability to decelerate, we have a “tool” for more satisfaction, a stick that we can shove into the spokes of the ever-faster, spinning, “higher, faster, further” wheel to stop it just once.

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So, we don’t always have to be fast; we don’t always have to optimize everything; and above all we shouldn’t have to ask ourselves at the end where the time has gone. Deceleration targets our bliss. This beautiful feeling is not only good for us, but it can also “infect” our fellow human beings and create an atmosphere of well-being within a group.

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 Happiness is not a permanent state, but rather is manifested in moments. And when we miss them, they are gone. Good moments are not like the next bus that will come after we missed the earlier one. They are unique and therefore precious. And they only reveal themselves to those who take the time to experience them.

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Deceleration in the photo world of Westend61

When was the last time you consciously sat down in a meadow or a forest, far away from the paths, not able to hear anything of the world’s hustle and bustle, not even the crunch of bicycle tires on a gravel path, but with cell phone in flight mode, eyes closed, and ears open to the sounds of nature? 

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Consciously experiencing nature is the key to reflecting on the essential. But we can also find this feeling in the arms of someone close to us. It can also be moments that lack conversation about the day, the job, or goals – just being there. When was the last time you sat on a bridge and let the traffic rush under you? When was the last time you took yourself out of the rush, looked at it from the outside without thinking about what you supposedly have to do? How long has it been since you’ve been out hiking or spent hours looking out of the window on the train without staring at your smartphone?

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The fact that questions like these move many people is also shown by the many photos of peace and reflection that reach us from our photographers all over the world. Our Lightbox with the most beautiful images of deceleration reminds us that we can also let go of the need to do and just relax, so that we can reach ourselves again.

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