March 20th, 2010 Archive

Hold Your Own

March 20th, 2010 by Adaire in Lifestyle

Technology is a double-edged sword. Oh boy, the technology-savvy, inventors, scientists and enthusiasts are probably fantasizing about a cumulative bolt of lightning striking me via cyberspace right now. :) But the statement rings true, doesn’t it? Think about it.

Technology backfires?

When our ancestors were thinking of how to better cut meat, they invented the knife. From stone to metal to porcelain, it has helped us cut hard meat, fruits and vegetables into edible little pieces. However, this led to the creation of bigger knives such as swords and other weapons used for fighting. The invention of the bow and arrow revolutionized warfare and strategy. Good for the winning army and country but bad for those who were hit or died by it.

Lazy Sunday afternoons were sometimes used to catch up with family in get-togethers and barbecues. Today, these afternoons are often spent in front of computers or televisions, preventing family members from connecting as they used to. Not to mention the invention of the remote control that encouraged the widespread couch potato mentality some have today.

Books were all the rage when the printing press was invented. Now, these printing presses are being phased out little by little by online materials. Before, conversation was more common when we meet people on the street or in public transportations. Now, with music devices hooked up to our ears most times, this seems to be discouraged.

We used to anticipate and wait for information to reach us via word-of-mouth or snail mail. Now, we’ve gotten so used to receiving them with a single click that we find it hard to tear ourselves away from our computers or handheld devices. When we get bored, we don’t go for books or simple conversations like we used to. Instead, we play our video games and listen to our music or post on our blogs and write our emails.

More often than not, this technology serves as status symbols for people. The more expensive your gadgets are, the more well-to-do you are. Somehow, getting the new “in” gadget, even though we admittedly couldn’t afford it sometimes, is our new goal in life – until the next one comes along, that is.

It’s ironic that the very things that makes our lives easier, information exchange faster and helps us become money-making successes are those which cause us to separate ourselves from the simpler, more important things that could make us happy, less distracted and less stressed. We learn at a faster rate and move at a faster pace, yet we become lazier and somehow, still a bit disconnected from the world.

They’re ours or we’re theirs?

M. Vaishali — writer of the books Wisdom Rising (Purple Haze Press 2008) and You Are What You Love (Purple Haze Press 2006), as well as a speaker, radio host and life survivor — shared an article in HealthyWealthynWise online magazine entitled Are You Possessed?

Here she talks about how we become so engrossed with our material possessions that we end up being possessed by them in the long run. Due to the recent disasters that plagued different countries of the world these past few years — fires, floods, cyclones, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes — we are shown just how attached we are to these material things that end up being junk or debris at some point or another.

What happens when we leave our laptops, cellular phones and music players at home or heaven forbid, lose them? Don’t you feel a bit uneasy, worried, or admit it, even a little naked? :) Such is the influence of these devices that we can’t even remember being without them.
Instead of enriching our lives better than we expected them to, these technological devices and possessions end up eating our time and adding to our responsibilities, stress and preoccupations. We’re happy when we first acquire them and we find use for them in our everyday activities. Eventually, though, when we look back and sift through the rubble after a few years, we discover that we’ve amassed all these items that we don’t even use or need anymore.

Unload for simplicity

Rather than looking at these disasters as punishments, we could try treating them as gifts or wake up calls. They removed these possessions from our lives and forced us to evaluate the more important things in our lives.

Somehow, amidst these disasters, when we managed to take our eyes off our computers and cellular phones, we were able to observe our surroundings once again. We were reminded of what we were missing.

Being without these high-tech gadgets doesn’t mean we’re less of a person. It wouldn’t hurt, at least physically, if we fail to follow one tech trend or fad that just came out and everyone seems to have to have. Our lives won’t be richer or poorer without it. Of course, it would definitely add a new exciting perk to our days at first, but eventually, they’ll join the other phased out, forgotten gadgets that we have stocked in a room or closet.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against technology. In fact, I love them too! :) Who wouldn’t want to make their lives a lot easier or receive information faster? All I’m saying is, like in everything, there has to be moderation. It’s okay to splurge on gadgets every once in a while – as long as we set our goals and priorities right and don’t lose sight of the more important things in life again.

Make sure to spend time with your family. Get out of the house every once in a while to observe and enjoy your environment. Savor the feel of a good book in your hand and lose yourself in the words and alternate world it offers. Slow down at least once a day and take some quiet time to focus your mind and get away from all the stress. Lastly, accept that sometime, somehow, you’ll have to separate yourself from these material things and prepare yourself for that actuality. After all, it helps to be ready always. :) At the same time, being able to hold your own against the temptation these gadgets bring is a form of self improvement.

Do you have one gadget or any favorite technology you just can’t live without? How has your life changed because of it? Let me know through the comments section below.

As a final bonus, let me include here a few insightful quotes from Henry David Thoreau that M. Vaishali shared in her article. :)

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.”

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

“There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.”

Have a great day everyone!