The 21st century world is filled with some pretty amazing technology. From the television to planes and x-rays, there have been so many exciting and helpful inventions and breakthroughs that have enriched and expanded our lives.
However, excessive use of these technologies in our lives have had negative effects. I have had much time to think about this, both from my Computers and Society class, and because I have really become involved in living a healthier life (I only have one life, after all!); I started to reflect on things in my life that have become integral in my routine, but are not necessary for me to live a happy, functional and successful life. And so far, I’ve actually compiled a lot of things! I’m only going to list some of them though.
In our class, and from further readings, I’ve noticed the main argument seems to revolve around this idea that it has to be ‘black or white’ so to speak — essentially, all technology or no technology in your life.
I personally think anyone who is arguing fully for either of these sides is being quite naive and/or narrow-minded. If you think about it, you’d realize that a large majority of our world is technology-based, and many people do not know how to live without technology to make things easier. As well, a large majority of jobs are very technology- based. By taking away technology from our lives, we would be severely limiting ourselves (at first.. it may take a few decades, to figure out how to live fully on the land). However, we need those people out there who live by the land, to keep ourselves alive. Farmers are a prime (and most arguably, the main) example of this.
So what I suggest, is, like in all aspects of our lives, that we do everything in moderation. Technology has made so many things in our lives easier, better, and safer, but technology doesn’t need to rule our lives. Here are some of my suggestions, and reasons why I think we should follow them.
1. Stop being such good friends with restaurants and corner stores, and start getting to know your friendly neighbourhood grocery stores.
Did you know that most of the time, you can make that $15 meal at Wendy’s or Eastside Mario’s for less than half that price (and you get more, with less calories!) if you were to purchase all the ingredients from a grocery store, and made it yourself? Did you also know that the price you pay for the fast food could get you double the amount of food you’re getting from a grocery store? Crazy, I know.
I’m not saying that you should completely forgo that delicious plate of fries (gravy, ketchup, and a tiny bit of pepper sounds pretty good, right?) for the rest of your life, but honestly, those fries are not doing anything for you. Even your colon and stomach don’t really appreciate that kind of ‘nourishment’, as it’s really hard for your body to do anything with the food. However, you could limit yourself to one ‘quick meal’ or snack a week. Both your wallet and your body will appreciate this.
And not only does limiting your junk/fast food intake help your body be healthier, but you’re helping the environment by not adding to the pollution and garbage problem. Overall, you’ll feel better because you’re eating better, and you’re saving your money for the more worthwhile things, and you’re not killing the environment either. Stress levels will go down, and you will feel so much better! You’ll even feel like you have enough energy to finally get on that treadmill. Granted, you’ll most likely have to put in some time clipping coupons or scouring the newspaper inserts for good grocery deals, but it’s all worth it!
2. Legs are made for walking and standing on. You surprisingly have (up to) 2 of them… You could try walking places instead of taking a bus or a car there.
When I had my old 2000 Chevy Malibu, I spent about $45-65 a week on gas, depending on the rates. My tank would need to be filled up fully once, and given about 5-10 extra Litres during the week, especially if I was doing a bit more driving around than usual. Buses, while getting more people around than cars ever would in one trip, also burn lots of fuel each week. That’s a lot of pollution going back into the air!
Also, surprise surprise, walking is good for you! It strengthens tons of muscles, promotes nutrient flow in and out of our body’s cells, and improves our cardiovascular systems (to name a few benefits). You’ll feel good after you’ve finished your walk, both from the serotonin being secreted into your body, and from knowing you’re doing something to help you be healthy. So maybe instead of driving all the way from East Greater Toronto Area to DT Toronto, you could take the city bus to the GO Train Station, hop on a train to Toronto, and then walk the few blocks to your work. Carpooling is also a good alternative!
3. Stop focusing so much on virtual realities, and try hanging out more in your own real reality.
Video games (and I guess if we’re talking about alternate realities, books as well), are cool and interesting and exciting to explore. But focusing on other realities too much (or for intensely longer time periods) means your own reality is going to become more distorted. Sometimes this is good; you can learn a lot, and develop a totally new perspective, by other realities, and applying some learned principles from these virtual worlds to your own. But there are also many instances where fake worlds have negatively affected how you see your own world. I for example, after reading the Harry Potter books every time, feel a renewed belief in magic and the supernatural in our world. This in itself is not bad (as there is no actual proof that magic does or does not exist), but seeing as the majority of people in this world don’t come across any evidence of magic or the supernatural, I’ve noticed that I will get quite a few stares or changes in attitude towards me if I mention anything about these topics. It may be the difference between me getting a job or not, networking, etc.
We also tend to start seeing our world in more of a ‘black and white’ perspective, or start to expect to get rewards for every action we do. We may think that all people who do certain actions are evil horrible people (eg. a person who has killed another person), but there are the ‘gray areas’ too. I may have killed a person, but did I do it out of malice, or self-defense? If I do something nice for someone, they may not necessarily do something nice for me back, nor will others necessarily notice my ‘kind’ actions and give me something in return for my good deed. My cousin, who plays video games religiously (his favourites are the long Role Playing Games– RPG‘s), appears to have this distorted view of the world.
My suggestion: It’s okay to jump into other worlds occasionally, but don’t live another’s life so fully in a different reality that you forget about the wonders and intrinsic details of your own reality.
And here’s final tip for this post:
4. Try not using your dryer (and even your washer too!) as much.
The dryer is essentially drying out your clothes by removing the moisture. And, guess what? You can do this by hanging out your laundry too! And while this process may take longer, it is certainly way more energy-saving, and money-saving. My washer and dryer are in my basement along with my furnace/ Air Conditioner, so in the summer, the basement is too cold to hang dry clothes down there. We hang our laundry outside in the summer instead (sure you have to shake out the laundry to get rid of any sneaky bugs, but the pro’s far outweigh the con’s!). In the winter, when you can’t necessarily dry your clothes outside, if, like me, you have your furnace in the basement, you can hang your laundry on a clothesline, or on drying racks, and the heat combined with the dry air will quickly dry all your clothes. Use your dryer when in quick need of dry clothes, but try to save yourself the energy and money when you can.
(There’s also the added benefit of being forced to go outside and produce some Vitamin D in order to get and dry your laundry!)
Technology is supposed to supplement our lives, and make our lives richer, more successful, happier, and healthier. It is very important to evaluate the role technology has in your life, to make sure that technology is acting as your ‘wing-man’, rather than the Commander. Remember, if you take away all the technology, you can still function as a human being. But if you take away the human being from the technology, nothing happens! Technology needs us to be useful, but we don’t need technology.
This post has been re-posted here at TheNerdyAg.wordpress.com, initially published by the same author at a different URL. Original Posting Date: July 24, 2013