Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sane & Satisfied vs. Technology

There was a time when humans had to do a lot of things on their own. They had to rely on themselves for protection, food, shelter and enjoyment. And they had to do all of these things without the aid of technology or training courses. They just seemed to know how to do certain things and if they didn't know then they figured it out.

I can't imagine how I would figure out how to make flour for bread from scratch or how to find water and then develop a system for getting it out of the ground. But somehow our ancestors did all of these things and more.

There have been many advances over the years. Mostly these advances have made it easier for us humans to survive and grow as a society. But these advances have had some unintended consequences as well.

Because we don't have to do many things on our own anymore we have somewhat lost the experience of learning new things and the enjoyment gained from doing things ourselves. Our advancements have also made not so healthy foods and products much easier to make and therefore easier and cheaper to purchase. This has resulted in certain foods and products playing a larger role in our lives than is healthy or necessary.

I have a love/hate relationship with the industrial revolution. It was responsible for things like cars, microwaves and ovens which make our lives easier, faster and safer. Because we have cars and subsequently ambulances sick people get to hospitals faster. Microwaves and ovens have made it easy for hurried mothers and fathers to make dinner for their families.

These technologies have also given us more time. We don't have to spend the entire day preparing dinner. We don't have to spend weeks traveling to another state. And time, in my opinion, is the most valuable of resources we have.

But each of these technologies brings with it inherit drawbacks or maybe the better word is expenses. Our travel time has been enormously shortened by automobiles which gives us more time to do something else. But what do most of us choose to do? Watch tv or work longer hours. So did we really gain anything?

I think that, for the most part, the Industrial Revolution and mostly every piece of technology that has come since is generally good for humanity. Humans were designed to create new things and solve problems. And we aren't going to stop any time soon. But I think that technology has become a bit like self help programs. We buy into these new technologies thinking that they will make our lives better and free up some time to relax or write that book we've always wanted to write.

So we buy the new technology and it either ends up not used or if we actually do use it and it really does free up some our precious time we just find something equally as wasteful to do.

Technology is fine. Just make sure you aren't using it at the expense of what you really need to do in order to improve your life.

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