Progress and advancement. The motto of the 20th century and all other modern centuries.
At what cost? What exactly do progress and advancement entail? Is it simply technological and scientific advancement?
I think that we currently measure our progress by the artificial wealth that we create and the technology through which we create it. I find this incredibly short-sighted and ill-conceived not to mention arrogant. All it takes is a quick look at history to see that technology is most often used to capture and control the capitals of production.
The entire world is being commoditized. And what can’t be commoditized is either destroyed or discarded. That means that if it can’t be traded on a, presumably open and free, market, then it has zero value.
Food, data, time, labor, energy, water, land, money, pollution: all are traded on exchanges. There’s the ludicrousy of the whole thing: pollution. Something that should be eliminated suddenly has value because we can trade it. It can only be traded because people WANT to pollute.
And that’s progress. The drive of human “want”. We are progressing if we can continuously innovate to create and satisfies our wants. At what real cost?
I was thumbing through “Cost Conscious Cruiser” by Lin and Larry Pardey the other day. There are numerous sections on self-reliance and making your own necessities. I randomly opened the book and saw this quote, “Are you a consumer or a cruiser?” Then I got to thinking about how I had purchased a piece of aluminum to make my own breaker panel, then found a “better, nicer, easier option” that would cost approximately 5 times more than making my own. I was going to waste resources simply because I wanted a better-looking option. It wouldn’t have been anymore functional, just . . . nicer. I was being a consumer.
It’s an easy trap to fall into, that feeling of want, of craving. No matter what we have and what we get, we are always left wanting. There’s always the next innovation to crave. Want is endless.
Unless and until we choose to not want so much.
Choose to be satisfied.
Take pleasure in NOT wanting.