Monday, November 26, 2007

A question for y'all to think about while I'm doing other things

Is "easier" the same thing as "better"?

It is very easy to live nowadays. We don't have to work as hard as our ancestors did. We don't have to be cold in the winter, or go to bed early because it is dark out. If we want anything, we can usually buy six different kinds in the shops. If we are hungry we go to the fridge and pop something in the toaster or the nuker.

If we are bored, we get on the net or watch telly. If we are lonely, we get on the phone.

Everything can be had, even to people with little income, on easy terms and in easy payments.

Has this change been a good thing?



Raindear said...

The interesting thing is that luxuries(goods that satisfy no natural need like thirst or defense against the elements) have become necessities. Everyone owns a cell phone, a tv, a digital camera, a dvd player, a car and a computer. But how many folks own their house or can afford quality clothes and quality food(i.e., organic, unprocessed, free-range, unadulterated by radiating or boiling or the addition of odious dyes and sugars)?

Through a global economy we thus gain a silly kind of prosperity(extravagance) and "virtual" community at the expense of local community, economic independence, craftsmanship and fireplaces(to name a few of the more crucial losses).

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

cell phone, a tv, a digital camera, a dvd player, a car and a computer

of the above list, I'm happy to say that I own only one.

I think we ought to be careful of decrying the "virtual" community. Christians and serious-minded "traditionalists" (understood in the broadest sense) are now so rare that without the internet, we would all end up being completely alone.

I was writing a letter this weekend to a friend and found myself wishing that we could go back to pen and paper, so much did I enjoy the process of writing.

I noted that the tone and style and purpose of the action was completely different from internet correspondence.

Different, and I would say better. But we all know my restorationist biases.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Oh, wait. I lie.

I own a digital camera, but I inherited it and it's so old I was almost unable to purchase a new battery.

I also own a digital voice recorder, which I did buy.

It's come in handy for recording the various bird calls around here and identifying the birds thereby.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

And I've got a fireplace. It's not for decoration either but a crucial element in my home heating system.

I like that it takes work to heat the cottage and that I have to build a fire. Got a plug-in one upstairs but I'm so afraid of a crippling electricity bill I don't use it.

Wood's free and coal is cheap. Cheaper than electricity anyway.

Raindear said...

Good for you.

I used to rent a basement apartment from a family striving for moderate self-sufficiency. They heated the entire house by means of a wood-burning stove channeled through regular heating vents. It worked beautifully, filled the house with pleasant woody smells and made charming crackly fire noises.

I own a cell phone and a car, more out of necessity than anything else.

Traddies often find themselves isolated, far from the stimulating and jolly company "mens nostra." However, I wonder if the internet really helps in that regard. Perhaps, if we had no escape from loneliness, we might invest more time and energy into improving the local situation.

Raindear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raindear said...

By the way, I posted a little ditty from Merry Old England which you might enjoy.

Zach said...

The answer is "no".

That was easy. :)


Anonymous said...

I've lived for several years with a relatively low level of "social technology" (except for the internet which I have access to at work) - and while there are definitely benefits, it does have costs too.

High technological connectivity (phone, net, transport) means that many people have a very wide range of people with whom they can socialise, and therefore tend to group themselves narrowly according to interests/life phase/whatever.

If you have low connectivity, however, you are much more limited to your geographical Real Life set....where, statistically, there far fewer people that match your "type". And worse, most of your geographic "set" is already gone high connectivity and have a full set of friends and acquaintances who are much more their type than you are.

Anonymous said...

It's not easier to bring up children. I would happily relocate to a traditional culture with fewer creature comforts, but where my neighbors would watch the baby if I came down with the flu. But in the absence of those helpful neighbors it's nice to have disposable diapers and electricity.

Creature comforts and the reduction of hardships are good things. It's sin that makes us need hardship to realize our dependence on each other. - Karen