Yesterday I spent an hour online with our cable and internet provider, trying to set up a land line (dinosaurus as that sounds, we live too far out of town for cell service to be safe as the only alternative) and when David got home he spent another hour with them online. Then he still had to go into a brick and mortar store this morning to finish the deal. Everything about the process was frustrating and time consuming. Nothing about it could possibly be considered progress, except that the company employed as few actual live people as possible.
I don’t really understand this. How can technology advance so rapidly while our ability to actually get something done reaches new lows? Is that progress? What is progess, anyway?
Is it having microwave ovens? (Which cook so fast we get impatient when it takes 2 minutes to boil water.)
Is it having high speed internet or cell phones or wifi ? (Where we connect ourselves to the whole world via increasingly tiny electronic devices while we tune out the living beings right next to us.)
I’m afraid each speedy new technological device only makes us more impatient with each living breathing moment, only takes us further from the here and now … Which would be OK — hoky here and now shit, who needs it? — except that our bodies, those mysteriously interconnected physical, mental and spiritual temples which we inhabit, call the here and now home. They can only go so fast for so long, before they start breaking down.
Modern times are stressful. In very weird ways. Because the shadow aspect of all the devices that are supposed to make our lives easier and faster and more fun is: they don’t. It just ain’t so. Nobody’s talking about it — it would be very bad for business indeed — but our devices actually complicate, frustrate, and impoverish our lives as much as they enrich them. They’re so fast and so necessary to our overall entertainment and trendiness that we rely on them more and more every day, but when they quit working, as they often do, they’re far too complicated to fix. And expensive? Squished bug guts! What families pay per month today for electronic technology is more than families paid twenty years ago for their mortgages. These wonderful things are not at all affordable. We just can’t live without them, so we buy them anyway. Which creates another chronic stress, called chronic poverty.
Robert Bly said once, while lecturing on the human shadow, that “for every technological advance there’s a necessary and corresponding spiritual loss.” If we don’t get better at managing all the products our peers can think of, ole Robert might just be proven right.