As someone who has set her stall at opposing the absurdity of modern life this represents a pivotal test. And for the record I already have a mobile phone, an iPad, laptop and PC, as well my DSLR camera (which I truly love). But most of those purchases were bought without conscious contemplation, some of them were given to us (as they were considered a dinosaur) and one was inherited ...
On the one hand we have the 'dream' ('dream', as in 'non-reality') - the lie we are told of a glorious future full of manmade gadgets and gizmos. These make our life easy and pleasant and pleasurable. They free us from work and allow us leisure time.
On the other you have the cost - the cost of human life and the cost of cold, hard cash. Because there is no such thing as a free lunch; anyone who thinks there is is either a child or a moron. The cost of the dream-lie is immense. And like the pitch poured over a mangy camel the truth is cleverly hidden behind a shiny facade.
Technology trades on desire, because in reality it is almost never really needed; it is only ever a lusted over. It tells us it will keep us connected, keep our finger on the pulse, keep us up-to-date, but instead of holding onto the reigns we are pulled off the horse and dragged along at a rate of knots as we are sucked into its vortex of endless possibilities, endless information, endless data, endless frivolities. There is no end to this black hole of never-ending choice and noise. And instead of keeping a finger on the pulse, it becomes the pulse. We forget what the starting point was; we lose ourselves. We find days gone by sucked into Angry Birds or twitter. Don't get me started on Facebook (and now they tell us it is a sign of psychopathology to have no Facebook account. Priceless). What was once normal is now backward. What was once abhorrent is now de rigueur.
These devices which are meant to keep people in touch can also be the source of severence. We can spend so much time with virtual life that we miss the real thing.
Then consider the cost of those who make these things; the slavery of the worker paid pennies to work meaninglessly long hours, and so miserable are they that safeguards have to be put in place around the factories to stop workers committing suicide. To buy into this dream I have to put the boot on someone's face; I have to be complicit in another person's slavery.
But so strong is the desire to buy into this dream-lie that I can almost imagine these things as untrue; I can almost rationalise the suffering away. A shiny, white new toy for the child in me that wants Christmas at her fingertips twenty-four hours a day, no matter what the cost.
It is only by actively stopping myself and thinking about these things that I prevent a tragedy - I stop myself from buying into the lie and return to a path I have chosen - one of simplicity. Perhaps it will never be perfectly walked but I hope that I can make more right choices than wrong. I hope that I tread gently on this earth, and that when I die it can be said of me that I was one of those who did very little harm.
And I am not anti-technology - there are many aspects to our lives that need it, of course. But I reject mindless consumerism; I reject needless technology which drains our resources; I reject unethical companies who do not adhere to fair-trade. I reject the constant need to upgrade, to homogenise my life experience to be sold or diluted into a mere lifestyle, ready to be branded and sold again; the need to keep up with the Jones'. I reject an inauthentic life which agrees with the need to slow down, reduce the carbon footprint of everything I buy, buy fair trade, but still does it anyway. Because if those who care don't make a difference then where will difference be made?
Oh goodness I could go on and on about, well about everything. This world of ours has been bought out beneath our feet and we are all sleep-walking into the meat-grinder. Our lives are so precariously balanced and even though we know it we do nothing.
They say that all it needs to start a revolution is for each and every one of us to change themselves. That if you want to see change in the world, be that change. And like all great leaps for mankind, they start with a single step. So I make a pledge to simplicity, I stop and make each of my choices authentic rather than reactive. And I try to walk that walk. And I've compiled a checklist - the stop, amber, go checklist before I buy or do anything. It's not amazing, but it works::
Like it? Then have it. Here is a download printable for you to share. Pass it on. If you can think of any other considerations that should make it onto the list please leave them in the comments section below.
For me, I am just tired of being dragged down a path I don't particularly like. I'm opting out. I'm making authentic decisions and conscious choices. And slowly, I am letting go of all unnecessary things in my life.
~ If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. ~