In our grandparents’ times, life was simpler. This may seem perplexing, especially considering that in those days there was no Internet. Televisions with their cumbersome antennas were not nearly as high tech as the ones we have today. Self-defrosting refrigerators were rare and self-cleaning ovens even rarer.
Then, life seemed much simpler. But, wouldn’t it be just the opposite? Wouldn’t daily tasks be more time consuming without today’s high tech wizardry?
It is a popular conception in our society that technology makes life simpler and in many ways it does. A computer makes communication easy, microwaves make food preparation a snap, and self-cleaning ovens save a lot of time.
There is a multitude of other examples; however, technology in many ways makes our lives more involved and hectic. Research has shown that stress levels in this country have gone through the roof in the past few decades, and it’s not by mere chance that this coincides with the advent of technology.
I have been to less “developed” countries in the past, and have observed the lifestyles. I lived in Turkey off and on for about 6 years. While Turkey has caught up greatly with the United States in terms of technology in recent years, for a long time they did not even compare to us.
There, cellular phones had not yet hit their peak in the mid-1990s, as they have today. Computers and VCRs were not all that common in homes. Televisions were common, but the programming was limited. In comparison to the hundreds of channels we now have in the United States, the 10 or so in Turkey were hardy worth noting. Sounds like a horrible place to live, right? Think again. Life was definitely simpler.
People interacted. They would have more time during the day to see friends someplace other than on an Instant Messenger box. There were few fears of relying on technology and equipment as the determinant factor in how one’s day was going to turn out. At night it was time to sit outside on the deck and have dinner conversation with family and friends until late hours. The days felt more productive, more relaxed and less stressful.
I sometimes think that while there are many positive aspects to technology (so much so that I am a media major), at the same time it doesn’t always make our lives easier.
I spend my days attending classes where equipment fails me in the middle of important presentations, as it did recently in a newly equipped Tuttleman classroom.
I spend even more time having frantic, rushed conversations with friends whose cell phones are constantly full of static.
Other times I find myself consoling a friend whose entire semester’s work is on the brink of disaster because her computer has a new virus on it. I spend just as much time hitting the temperamental VCR that just doesn’t seem to want to cooperate, as I spend frustrated over the answering machine that mocks me by resetting itself at its own convenience.
I think of how we many times erroneously regard our lives as so much better and more convenient because of all of our shiny, new gadgets. Then I think of how other nations are `developing’ and following in our footsteps – footsteps that are not necessarily all that worthy of envy.