The Hare and the Tortoise

Æsop’s fable of the reckless, over-confident hare and the far-sighted tortoise is one of my favourites. For those of you who can’t remember it, the moral is that although the hare got going fast and almost reached the destination first, his cockiness got the better of him. As the hare took a pre-finish line nap, thinking he had the result in the bag, the tenacious tortoise, moving more slowly and methodically, plodded straight past him and over the finish line…proving that slow and steady wins the race.

These days we seem to have evolved into Hares. Always rushing around, jumping off the springboards of our rash desires without checking what we’re diving into, or what the consequences will be. What with work, meetings, worry, offspring-advancement activities and snatched coffee dates with our friends, we’re constantly on the move and racing against time…which incidentally seems to have sped up. But that’s another story.

Why don’t we all just SLOW DOWN? Stop. Breathe. Smell the roses. Simplify.

A quiet revolution is drifting through humanity, driven by the need for a Slow Planet. There’s even a World Institute of Slowness, dedicated to spreading the word that slow and steady wins the race. ‘Slow’ isn’t only a reference to speed. It is a metaphor for simplicity, de-cluttering, awareness, enlightenment and enjoyment of Life.

Slow Food, the opposite of Fast Food, has made a comeback. The concept challenges the need for quick-fix, mass produced foods that only provide you with poor health in the long-term. Slow Food is based on the principles of local produce, whole-food ingredients, and slower cooking methods that retain nutrient content.

Slow blogging encourages insightful, considered posts uploaded less frequently when the author actually has something to say…rather than the overabundance of often pointless information dominating the blogosphere, pushed by the need to post daily. Single-speed bicycles, the ultimate return to traditional Simplicity, are the latest trend in urban transport – the average commuter really doesn’t need Tour de France standard gearing systems to ride to work every day.

Shaving is another industry that is experiencing the beginnings of a Slow revolution. As such an essential part of nearly everyone’s life, the waste produced by this industry is phenomenal – disposable razors, aerosol shaving cream cans, plastic wrappings, chemical by-products etc. The USA EPA estimates that the country uses 2 billion disposable razors every year. This constant product replacement, and the unnecessary chemical usage in shaving creams, gels and aftershaves have prompted many consumers to Slow down and revive simpler shaving traditions.

Single-blade safety razors and cut-throat razors are not just owned by your grandpa anymore. Not only do they give you a little thrill from their pure simplicity of substance, they give a much better shave than disposables – most men who try them, never go back to disposable razors.

Shaving products are also responding to the desire for simplicity. Companies like Benton Clay and Goodfella provide simple creams and lotions that do the job without the need for synthetic chemicals with triple-barrel, indecipherable names – and use sustainable, natural ingredients and packaging where possible. Old-fashioned Bay Rum is even becoming more popular as a cheaper, more natural alternative to chemical-laden, expensive, and often unpleasant-smelling, aftershaves.

In Australia, traditional shaving is increasing in popularity – Slow shaving products are still scarce in most shops, and online stores (such as Alenka & Sam’s Shave Shack) are the only place you can get top-quality, natural, traditional-style products to simplify your shave.

So de-Hare your life. Take your time to shave, get to work or cook a meal. Simplify your ingredients and purify your results. Your life, the environment and your bank balance will all benefit. Be the Tortoise!

© Manu Saunders 2011

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