“Every dollar that we send into ‘the market’, disconnected from our beliefs and our values, disconnecting us from one another, from our communities, from the land, is an act of surrender. No market victor, no Dow Jones Industrial Average record, can compensate for this surrender.”
–Woody Tasch, Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money
The above quote, written in the wake of the Madoff debacle, gives us much to ponder about our society’s preference for instant gratification in lieu of more sustainable practices. If we look, we find this tension in every major aspect of our lives. Think of our preferences for convenience foods and industrially-farmed produce over the real thing, for ego-stoking gas guzzlers over smaller vehicles or public transportation or for swallowing expensive pharmaceuticals for common ailments rather than taking day-to-day responsibility for our health.
Fortunately there are visionaries in our midst who, though they appear less in the headlines than the Madoffs, encourage us to recreate a society on the foundation of the common good. You can read more about Woody Tasch and the Slow Money Alliance at http://www.slowmoneyalliance.org/. We’ve been blessed for many years with the efforts of Carlo Petrini and the Slow Food Movement: http://www.slowfood.com/. I’m inspired by these people, whose actions are solidly grounded in their commitment to the long-term health of individuals and communities. Who inspires you to live in line with your highest values?
With the current administration’s interest in creating a more accessible, affordable healthcare system, it’s time for such visionary thinking to emerge from the medical ranks. The USA is second to none with respect to emergency care. But our primary care system, equipped only with pharmaceuticals to resolve issues with simpler, more affordable solutions, is among the most expensive and least effective in the industrialized world. It’s time for the emergence of Slow Medicine: a primary-care system that supports us in taking responsibility for our health through sustainable, life-affirming practices in our homes and communities.