Modern times come with modern problems, and one of these problems is the techlife crisis. Technology and other modern life advancements have made it easy to achieve so much in such a small span of time and with significantly less effort that today many are left feeling empty and disillusioned about their lives. With access to a computer and the internet, anyone can make a decent living off the knowledge industry, as it is now known and all this from the comfort of their home. To make matters worse, technology in the form of e-commerce, smartphones, etc. has made what used to be chores into simple clicks of a button (or swipes and taps of a screen) and this has freed up even more time.
In the past it was difficult to simply sit indoors and have all your needs met. You had to head out and go to the grocery store, head downtown to pick up some extra stuff and so. Today, you can order virtually anything from the comfort of your home. The overall effect of this is that many people are getting what can only be called a techlife crisis (analogous to the famous midlife crisis). Consider it a sort of quarter life crisis. Characterized by restlessness, dissatisfaction, impatience and an unrelenting desire for more, may people today live lives of quiet desperation, as Henry David Thoreau once said. But did our parents suffer the same? Did they experience the dissatisfaction that is so prevalent today? The answer is no, and here’s why.
They lived very rudimentary lives compared to what we live today. Think about it, they worked in one company all their lives; they did the same thing over and over during this period and did not seek to “pivot” their careers as many are wont to do today. Moreover, they found meaning and even joy in routine and a quiet life. If you had a job, a car, a family and hobby, yours was the good life. Today those are trivialities; we want more. We don’t just want a job, we want a specific sort of job, we don’t just want a car, and we want a specific type of car, and so on. What this does is to place such great expectations on life that we end up inevitably disappointed. Embracing a life of simplicity was the key to the contentment of the older generation, and finding joy in the simple things. When was the last time you engaged in your hobby (if you know what it is) and no, Facebook’ing is not a hobby?
Extroversion versus Introversion
One challenge that our world is facing today is a boom in introversion spurred on by technology. Everyone is looking inwards more than they are looking outwards. Instead of smelling fresh flowers, we are seeing status updates; instead of waking up to a wonderful sunrise, we are waking up to email and RSS feeds. This has created an outside-in way of living that prevents people from seeing the beauty and splendor of the bigger picture. Constantly tripping up on the details of day to day living, the grand scheme of things escapes us.
For all the ease that technology has brought us, we have less time to look outwards than we did before. The older generation understood the opposite. They knew that their life was a part of a bigger narrative unfolding, and they accepted and embraced that. They were not concerned that their job did not feed that deep need for purpose and meaning, they went out and looked for it elsewhere; they took up causes, they had barbecues and neighborhood soirees, they lived life and found meaning and purpose in that.
Many other things today make us disillusioned with our lives and with life in general but the single biggest culprit still remains technology. Technology has made our lives easier but at the same time more complicated. We are busier today than our parents were, yet in comparison; they did not have technology to aid them in their day to day activities. Getting back to simplicity and low technology could hold the key to a more meaningful life. If you did not know that all your acquaintances, all 2000 of them on Facebook, were all doing so well (and they are not), would your life suck so bad? Would you leave home with a cloud over your head because so-and-so got married and you end up missing the beautiful sunrise expectantly ready to cheer you up? Technology may be great, but life and living is even greater; time to unplug and live a lot.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Guest post by Scott Ryan, writing for Morris Brothers Music Store, a store that prides itself in promoting the old shool way of life and music.