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The Pope is right – we’ve lost the ability to slow down and think

By Harry Mount, Telegraph

In his Christmas message, the Pope said, “The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have."

How we rush to fill our time with time-saving appliances that soon become mere time-filling devices. Mobile phones, iPads, Facebook, tweeting – all, at their best, are staggeringly efficient things that produce extraordinary advances in our working lives. I have written whole articles on my phone while on the train and filed them to newspapers instantaneously – a process that would once have needed a pen and paper, a copytaker, a railway station telephone box and a team of hot metal print workers.

Those same marvellous things then come along and devour our spare hours, destroying our capacity for spiritualism, for reading long books and for just thinking. We shouldn't really blame the devices themselves, more our capacity for being waylaid by short-term gratification. That man avidly staring at his phone on the 7.32am from Guildford might be reading Proust or the Bible on his mobile – except he's not.

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