Have you ever had a moment where you’ve thought to yourself: “That’s it. I’m done. You can stop the ride, I want to get off!”
I don’t mean in the ‘bored of life and I want to die’ sense, but the ‘I’ve had enough of all the modern crazy bullshit’ sort of feeling. I’m pretty sure plenty of people are struck with a similar kind of epiphany at one point in their lives, or at least a mini revelation that prompts them to take stock of their life.
It’s a curious feeling, like waking up.
For want of a better word, my ‘awakening’ took time to blossom. For a while now time I’ve not been comfortable with stuff – modern stuff, flashing loud stuff, stuff that wants your attention, stuff happening all the time…just stuff everywhere, constantly coming from all directions, in increasing speed and intensity.
Stuff is just everywhere!
I’ve grown weary of how fast everything has to be. I want things to be slow. It’s like I miss living in an era I never experienced, one where people knew one another, I mean genuinely knew them, not ‘friended’ or ‘liked’ them simply because every other idiot is doing the same thing.
I’m talking about an era where people worked hard and appreciated what they had. An era where the world wasn’t crammed with noise, lights, adverts, junk no one needs and buying useless crap because we’ve been engineered to fear that by not owning vast piles of crap means we’re somehow worth less than someone who does.
Fear sucks. Big time.
This evening I arrived at my computer, eager to push on with some writing, having shunned an invite to slouch on the sofa and stare at the goggle box. I opened up my latest draft, scrolled down the page, wrote a couple of lines then stopped.
I had a few hours before the bedtime alarm. I better charge my kindle so I can have a quick read in bed.
Before you call me a hypocrite, dear blog reader, I’m well aware of the irony of longing for a slower, less technologically enslaved life whilst thinking about my kindle. Just because I’m surrounded by, and regularly use, technology, doesn’t mean I can’t yearn for a very different life.
On with the story. Kindle charging, back to my writing. Oh. Wait. I need to change the alarm on my smart phone for the morning.
Swipe right. Scroll up. Tap. Slide things. Check. Tap. Swipe. Tap. Close.
Alarm set. Back to writing.
Actually, before I settle in I should check my emails. Get that out of the way.
Lots of junk mail. Spam folder isn’t catching it all.
Click. Delete. Quick reply. Smile. Grind teeth. Reply. Scroll. Rub tired eyes. Pick up phone – add reminder to book eye test. Shut down emails.
Now I can get stuck into the writing.
A text. Bedgrudgingly I pick up my phone. It might be important. Oh. A stranger wants to know if I have insurance for my big toe. Did I know that 23% of people have problems with their big toe at YOUR time of life and…WHATEVR! Delete with hatred.
Phone goes on silent. Why didn’t I do that when I sat down? Anyway, writing time! Yay!
I manage an entire sentence when my virus checker tells me it has just updated and would I like to purchase some extra special virus protection, just in case the one I’ve already paid for isn’t up to the challenge?
Anger rising. Urge to write using current technology diminishing. Suddenly I want to turn off my computer. I want to break every device and gadget I own into tiny pieces, set fire to it, and dance naked around the flames that will represent every slither of modern bullshit. After that maybe I’ll pronounce myself as Davish Farmherder the Druid and go live in a remote cave.
Counting to 10 sucks but it works.
Blog therapy makes me happy, yet even as I write these words I feel intense hatred for the keyboard, mouse, screen, computer tower, kindle, phone, desk…everything modern and ugly that surrounds me. I also feel guilt and disgust because as much as I hate these objects I also love them.
Take a look at this picture.
That’s where I want to be. I’d have a sign outside: “No technology allowed.” Looks idyllic doesn’t it? It wouldn’t need to be somewhere tropical, just away from everything will do. Peace. Calm. Natural.
Our modern world is ace and we have a lot to be thankful for – medicine, science, engineering…and other things that make our lives incredibly simple and efficient.
The problem is that I don’t want simple and efficient.
I want to learn how to genuinely grow enough food to survive on. I want the table I sit, the clothes I wear, the food I eat and everything else around me to have been made by me, not by someone on the other side of the world. I want to feel connected to the things I own and use.
I feel guilty every time I buy something simple like potatoes because I know where they’ve come from, what horrible shit has gone into making them and the vast amount of energy used to put them in the store for my convenience.
You might argue that our modern world is what it is and we can’t do much, if anything, to change it. So enjoy life, Dave, Jees-Louise, pipe down and relax man!
In my life…
I’ve seen the arrival of things like the CD, DVD, HDTV, LOL, email, text messaging, mobile phones, digital TV, the internet, mass-produced food, ever evolving computers, cheap clothes, 24/7 everything and anything, and of course God damned twerking. Some of it has undoubtedly made me happy. But if it all vanished tomorrow I wouldn’t give a shit. Sure, I’d probably be screwed and likely die of disease or starvation, but damn, I’d be free at last!
From my point of view modern life sucks.
Why does the world need Google Glass? I like the concept just not the application or reason to need one.
When watching an advert on TV, for something mundane like washing machine powder, am I invited to ‘Like’ the product/company on Facebook? Why? It goes in the washing machine! I can’t be the only one who doesn’t give a fuck about checking out my favourite brand of washing machine powder on Facebook, can I?
I read recently that the average smart phone user checks Facebook something like 50 times a day. What for? How sad is it that as a species we’ve become insecure and narcissistic at the same time. We’re slaves to electronic bullshit and the funny part is that we’ve allowed that to happen, once again because of the fear.
“Hey man, you hear about the new iPhone/Galaxy/Blackberry/HTC/Nokia [insert random and meaningless numbers and letters here]?”
“Yeah, it’s the same as the old one isn’t it?”
“Pretty much yeah, except they’ve added a [insert pointless feature here] that lets you [insert social networking/camera/sharing ability/noisy music function/easy to forget app name here].”
“Nice. Are you getting one?”
“Yup. Gonna queue for the next 18 weeks with the rest of the sheep.”
“In that case I better get one too. Don’t want to be left out and look stupid.”
And that’s the fear.
The world runs on the stuff.
The way I see it, money is made through:
- Fear – because we’re told our lives won’t be as good without this new thing.
- Desire – because we’re told this new thing is faster/cleaner/smarter/cheaper/aesthetically pleasing that the one we currently have.
- Conditioning – because from birth we’re taught the new thing is the thing to have, regardless whether the current thing functions perfectly well.
The good and bad.
I’m not saying the world is a shitty place. It’s great. I enjoy it on a daily basis. I smile a lot. But I feel at odds with it and enslaved by it. If I don’t have a phone I’ll simply speak to the person face to face, but then someone will say: “Hey, I tried calling you but you didn’t answer. What’s up with that?”
If I cut myself off all technology – email, internet, cars, washing machines, TV, radio etc, I’ll miss the convenience they provide.
But would my life, or anyone’s life, really be worse without these things?
There would be a tricky transition period, no doubt, but humans have proven to be adept at adapting.
The world is a wonderful place yet I can’t help but imagine how much better it would be if it slowed down a little.
With all my heart I want less raping of our home for profit and less emphasis on mass consumerism, buy it now, pay later or not at all, gimme-gimme bullshit.
I want the human race to stop brainwashing our children. Our society conditions them to believe that hard work, kindness, respect, manners and success through honest endeavour are outdated concepts, eroded by the ‘something for nothing’ ethos, the ‘I deserve to get’ mentality and the ‘I’m entitled…’ attitude.
As horrible as it sounds I long for Peak Oil.
Everything in our modern world can be attributed to oil. Without this our lives would be unimaginably different. Take a look around you. It’s highly unlikely anything you see hasn’t come from the result of oil in one way or another. Just as we are slaves to technology, we are also slaves to oil.
We congratulate ourselves for being an inventive, enlightened race, yet for all our achievements we haven’t evolved beyond raping our planet of finite resources for profit.
Peak Oil will happen. It’s inevitable. If it happens in my life time I’ll gladly suffer the consequences so future generations can live on the planet without destroying it.
Food for thought in the video below. I dare say some of it is a little dramatised, and the facts somewhat slanted to get a message across, but it’s worth watching to get an idea of how the human race suck at being the caretakers of the only home we have and are insanely lucky to inhabit.