I was hoping to write a humorous post today, but the strange thing is, I can't really think of anything both humorous and enlightening (except for the fact that my trash truck woes continue to this day, you should have seen me jump out of bed this morning and running to the end of my driveway in my pajamas...on second thought...maybe you shouldn't have..but I digress)
If you look at the comments on my progress verses apocalypse post, you'll see an interesting essay on how our technological society causes us to over-think and also be over-entertained. The point was made that when we are not thinking or being entertained, we get depressed. The point of the comment was that technology eventually leads to emotional bankrupcy.
I have a hard time arguing with the thesis of the comment, I'm just not sure what should be done about it. Henry David Thoreau theorized that modern man is overworked and is much better off leading lives of quiet contemplation in closer harmony with nature. While that idea might sound a bit far-fetched to us today, we should keep in mind that while Thoreau was picking lilies at Walden Pond, he was developping concepts that eventually led to writing an essay called civil disobedience, an essay that influenced both Ghandi and Martin Luther King and laid the groundwork for peaceful human rights movements around the world.
I think any idea can be taken to the extreme, however, even this one. The Cambodian dictator Pol Pot developed the idea that modernization is evil and wanted to transform Cambodia into a strictly agrarian society. The result was a movement that slaughtered over two million people and set the country's economy back decades.
One last thought. I heard of a missionary to a native tribe in Mexico who was describing the agrarian lifestyle of the people he was serving. When asked how the people could live in such substandard conditions, he replied. Maybe their lifestyle isn't so bad after all. You Americans are storing food for Y2K, but if the entire world economy collapses, they'll still be eating.