How did people do this one hundred years ago? That’s what I constantly ask myself. Because if they could live, in 1915, without smart phones or televisions, without cars and computers, if they could survive the summer heat without air conditioning or make dinner without a microwave, why do we spend so much money on those things now?
Ok, sometimes it saves lives. Like air conditioning. People sometimes die from the heat. And of course there have been a lot of technological advances that have really improved society, like computers. Not cars though. Cars just made us lazier. They caused us to build cities around asphalt and to fill our breathing air with fumes. And while we could debate the complex economical and technological advances that having cars has helped with, there’s no arguing that many, many people have died as a result. Unfortunately, most of us do need cars now because we have set up our society in a way that requires them. Blerg.
But my point is that we probably don’t need to buy the next smart phone as soon as it comes out. We don’t need a huge house. We don’t need to replace our kitchen appliances just because we want them all to be stainless steel, and we don’t need a big screen TV. At all. We don’t really need TVs.
Of course having the newest smartphone is fun. Having a microwave is convenient. A remodeled kitchen with matching appliances certainly makes cooking more enjoyable. And that stupid car…well, I do need it to get to work unless I want to spend at least four hours a day on multiple busses.
Why shouldn’t we enjoy all the fancy things that so many people have worked so hard to invent for us?
Here’s another way of looking at it. In addition to creating all these things, we also created an economy where it’s possible to not work. To quit the rat race. Just ask Mr Money Mustache. He retired when he was thirty.
So the question becomes: which of these inventions do you want? The the one that makes you buy the latest update, the next new version, the bigger TV, the fancier widget, all the time making you work more and more to pay for it, or the one that allows you to take back your free time?