Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Part 1: Can society get back to basics & focus on what's real?

I read two things in last week's USA Weekend magazine that I found disturbing as it relates to our society. Both seem harmless but I think they point to a larger problem that is growing.

The first was:

"Nissan makes this process foolproof with its Easy-Fill Tire Alert system on the 2013 Altima, Sentra and Quest. Start filling the tire with air and the car will give you three short honks when you’ve reached the proper tire pressure."

The second was:

"By now, we’re all completely efficient with, if not dependent upon, the applications on our smartphones. Many vehicles are integrating our favorite apps through systems that connect to our cellphones or through systems like Chrysler’s Uconnect that accesses cloud-based apps through a cell connection in the vehicle’s radio. Uconnect gives users access to Bing-connected search, a voice-to-text app, Wi-Fi on demand and more."

Clearly I am a fan of technology or I wouldn't be writing this blog. Technology has a place in life. But I fear our culture has become obsessed with technology, really truly dependent on it. To the point we cannot do something as simple as put air in our tires. To the point it has gone beyond having a place in life and has begun replacing life.

It's not rocket science for Pete's sake. You read the recommended pressure in your car's manual or on the tire and carry a tire gauge in your car. Have we honestly gotten to the point where we need a car - a machine - to do it for us?

And what, we can't even drive now without being 100 percent connected to everything, all the time? When is the down time for reflection and growth and calm? Time to just be?

The breakdown, in my opinion, is that life has become too focused on intangible things. Things that you can't touch and smell and experience. Things that cannot provide love, comfort, health, a real sense of accomplishment or a true personal connection with someone.

They consume our time and our energy. Facebook and Twitter. Movies. Constant "breaking" news. An app. A game. A text. These things aren't real. They aren't physical or material or crucial to a good life. They are quick and fleeting and ultimately unfulfilling.

Life a hundred years ago was hard to be sure. It's no wonder people didn't make it much past 40 or 50. Now we have machines to take care of a lot of our physical needs - cooking, traveling, cleaning our dishes and clothing. 

No longer do we have to scrabble around to secure food, cut wood for a fire, haul water, make or mend clothes. That relief of exertion on our bodies has led to longer, fuller lives. But the trade-off, I fear, is the spark that makes us human. Dependence on ourselves, one another, on God, and not on technology. Connection and communication, real communication, in person that leads to better relationships, better lives, better communities.

Continued in part 2 ....

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