Over at the The Feminine Gift blog, here , there is an article titled Nostalgia, describing the more simpler times of yesteryear, and in one of the comments posted, the question of whether we gain enough in convenience to outweigh what we lose is asked.
I'm old enough to remember more simpler times, without all the technology and conveniences that we have today, and I too yearn for those times. Yet, would we be willing to return to times where the medical advances we have today are not yet discovered, or the technology that helps in the production of more food for third world nations, is no where to be found? Convenience and technology, like any tool that helps mankind, are good things, but with every good thing there comes the risk of abusing it, or not putting it to a good and proper use.
Too often we hear how a new convenience promises to save us time, or that new computer will do the same job we now do manually, much faster and will increase our productivity and promises to save us time...again. So why do we have such little space in our lives for 'down' time? If all this technology does things for us much faster where is this saved time? The problem we have is that the time now saved is time filled with something else. We seem to feel that if we are not productive, we are wasting time.
Christ was a busy man for sure, yet he took time out to be alone and to pray. He had down time and made sure his apostles did too. Today, our down time is called a two week vacation. We seem to think that two weeks is enough to bring about a proper balance in our lives between work, play and reflection. I know that I cannot wait a year for that vacation to come so that I can balance myself. I need to do this during the day, everyday, yet technology makes it very difficult to do. We are expected to be busy all the time. I for one, believe we have lost a lot from conveniences and today's technology.
One of the more relaxing and less stressful times I ever had was in the late 90's, when we lost power for six days due to an ice storm. Sure, we had no power to run all those neat little gadgets, yet we heated with wood, we cooked with gas and hurricane lamps did the trick when it came to reading that book. No computer, no stereo, no TV to interfere with life. The lack of water was the only real inconvenience we encountered and even that was resolved. There was a silence surrounding us that I didn't even know existed and it was exquisite.
Doing without conveniences means doing something that takes time, involves using our ingenuity, our hands and a sense satisfaction of having done something ourselves. It may sound difficult and time consuming, but nothing worth doing is ever easy and requires time to do it well. This is lost today, especially among those that never have done without conveniences or technology, which is most of us. And one more thing, since so much is instant, such as instant gratification, the virtue of patience is hardly ever practiced anymore. A virtue that all of us wanting to build good character, need to exercise.