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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Progress = Regress


I got a new ipod on Saturday. This was to replace my old iPod which went crappy about 2 months ago, and I've been in denial about how useless an iPod is if it only plays 2 minutes of a song, then skips to the next song, then freezes up, then denies that there's any content on the ipod at all. So, I got a new one and it's nice and I'm glad I got it, but it made me realize that I can't really live without an ipod. Five years ago, ipods didn't exist, and the idea, to me, would have been odd: spend hundreds of dollars on a luxury, then spend hundreds more to replace it, because now it's a necessity. 5 years ago, it was a big deal to decide to get dial-up internet access at our apartment. Was it really worth spending $23 a month? Do people even need email? Of course, today, that idea is absurd, and I spend plenty of time each day online, and dealing with emails.

In 5 years, i'll need a new computer, and printer, and I won't ever stop needing a new computer every 5 years, until I die. 7 years ago, I didn't even need a computer. 100 years ago, one wouldn't need a car. As technology "progresses", there will be more and more stuff that we can't live without. Food, shelter, and love are the only things man needs to survive, essentially.

Technology imposes all this stuff on us, and it sucks. But they're impositions that I like. The thing is, is that all of these inventions and contraptions and technologies are just going to keep piling up on top of each other, and life will get more and more complicated and pretty soon, no one will be able to live without all these things, right?

Q: Not really. I mean, think of all the things your computer or phone does now that would have required several inventions in the past. With a digital camera and a printer you can do the same thing that would have required tons of equipment 20 years ago. Print photos, I mean.

me: Yeah, but 150 years ago, nobody had photos at all. They're luxuries that somehow have become necessities.

I'm not saying that phones and computers and cars are bad things, just that they WERE luxuries and are now necessities. In theory, these things make life better, but in reality, they add to the general clutter of every day life. Before the invention of automobiles, people wouldn't have considered travelling for 45 miles or more to get to work each day, now, it's common to commute like that, and the convenience of cars has given us the head ache of rush hour traffic, and hundreds of hours spent sitting in our cars. That's just one of thousands of things that were designed to make life more convenient, but instead enable us to make our lives much much more busy and stressful. My schedule, at this point has been designed in such a way that I don't really have the time to ride the bike to school. It's at least an hour ride to get home from PSU on bike, and when I've got an huge load of homework, chores, practice, and errands to do, it's hard for me to justify spending that much time on a bike, when I can drive home in 10 minutes.

Q: You know, someone once asked a famous preacher how much he prays, and he said "I pray one hour a day." And the interviewer said "But what if your day's so busy and stressful you just can't find the time?" To which the preacher answered "Then I pray for two hours."

me: Is that from "chicken soup for the soul"? It's trite garbage.

Q: Quite.

me: I was walking on the beach and saw 2 pairs of footprints in the sand. See where there's only 1 set of footprints? that's when I killed the man next to me and ate him.

Now, everybody join with me in burning up your cars and computers! In fact, just burn everything that runs on electricity! Even electric cars? Especially electric cars!

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