Use Technology as a Lever Not a Crutch
By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost
Technology has allowed modern man to make life faster, easier and more productive. Technology has many benefits for man but all too often man abuses the tools he has developed and he becomes a slave to them. Take the kitchen for example. Many people do not know how to cook from scratch anymore because they rely on prepackaged frozen foods that can be ready in a matter of minutes without a lot of preparation. Some people would be lost if their coffee was not made automatically and awaited their sleepy bodies in the morning. Some people use a microwave oven exclusively to prepare meals on a daily basis. Even worse, some people rely almost exclusively on fast food for their meals and keep nothing at home to feed their families.
Many young people do not know a time when they could not email, surf the web, text or call someone from anywhere at any time of day. It has become evident that many people, young and old alike would suffer from a type of withdrawal effect if their electronics were lost for even a day. Many people have replaced human contact with electronic correspondence which reduces their human relations skills and many children spend most of their free hours on the computer instead of playing outside with friends as past generations have done, Growing children have a lot of pent up energy and when they don’t release that energy through physical activity it can cause them to be hyperactive in places such as school where they are diagnosed with all kinds of “disorders” that never existed before. This has caused the present generation to be the most highly medicated people in our history.
Lack of regular contact with others can deprive us of skills to deal with everyday life and work through difficult situations. Our dependence on machines and electronics have left many in want of basic necessities when disasters or power outages occur. How many times have you seen people leave home and go to a motel when the power goes out? A snow storm hits and people cannot heat their homes, watch TV or cook food. A thunderstorm knocks out power and people are desperate to find air conditioning and water. I find it incredible that most people feel so important now that they have the need to be on the phone constantly, especially while driving. I can’t help but wonder how we ever made it out of the 1950’s without cell phones.
People have become slaves to the machines they made to make life easier and now cannot live without. People rely on GPS now instead of reading maps and because of that they can be a block away from their destination and not know it if their GPS goes out. The art of writhing letters has been replaced with text messages and symbols. When you realize you are one of these people what could you do to limit the effects of the loss of this technology on occasion?
Spend one afternoon a week and take a walk through the neighborhood, assuming the area is safe, to get to know the neighbors.
At least once a week, cook a meal from scratch and use a cooking source that won’t go out with the power.
Meet a friend occasionally for a cup of coffee and chat instead of using the computer or phone.
Make your kids go outside and play, without the electronic gadgets, or better yet, go outside and play with them.
Have an old fashioned family picnic or a cookout at a local park.
Play board games at home occasionally.
Avoid using your cell phone one day a week or cut out talking while driving all together.
Get a backup heat source such as wood or propane and store some water for a backup supply.
Send a card or write a letter instead of sending an email.
Plant a garden and can some of your own food during the summer.
If you are so dependent on technology that the temporary loss of it causes problems, you are too dependent on it. Using technology to leverage your time and energy is a good thing but it should not replace the human actions we have used for centuries. In the end, the old ways still work and they can help you slow down and enjoy life more rather than speeding through it.