Having grown up on a farm out in the middle of the boonies, I know what it feels like to be technologically limited. The house was heated with a wood burning stove in the basement, the grass was cut using a hand held scythe, the water was pumped out of a well, and the closest grocery store was very small and took twenty minutes to get to by car. When it came to watching television, one of my favourite pass times, we were lucky if we could get five channels, and that’s only if the weather was nice and we turned the antenna until it was in just the right spot using the rotor [for those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘rotor’, it was basically a device that had a nob that you turned in order to get a better TV signal… my how things have changed]. Then there was the dial up internet, which would often take up to an hour to load anything, and was incredibly frustrating when someone else wanted to use the phone, and were met instead with the familiar dial up screech upon picking up the receiver.
This may sound like a horrible way to live for some of you, but honestly, it’s a way of life that I miss sometimes. It may not have been easier, but it was definitely simpler in a way. It felt like I was living in the kind of close knit community that doesn’t really exist anymore, where people helped one another unconditionally, where parents went out of their way to run programs for the kids of the neighbourhood, and we were more afraid of the coyotes howling at night than we were of other people.
It’s also a reminder that there is so much that the youth of today who take for granted. I wrote an article once about how many of today’s children know next to nothing about cooking, food and nutrition. They think that it all just comes from the store and that there will always be plenty of food to go around. They have no concept of sustainability, of how it gets from the farm to their plate, and how pre packaged or ready made meals are not only less nutritional, but are also depriving them of the joys of cooking. It’s a shame, really, and it’s only going to get worse as society continues to make great strives towards making life ‘easier’.
I started thinking a lot about this after reading this passage from The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind, which I will hopefully get to the end of in the next week or so. For those of you unfamiliar with this title, The Law of Nines is part of the same universe as The Sword of Truth series. I won’t say too much, except that you learn quite a bit more about the world that Richard ‘Rahl’ Cypher grew up in, and how it might not be all that different from our own…
Anyway, there is this one part in the book where the two main characters get into this deep discussion about what our world would be like if we suddenly no longer had access to the technology that we have come to rely upon so heavily for everything:
“Well, imagine life here without technology. Imagine life without the technology that heats your buildings, helps grow food in abundance, makes your lights glow. What would life be like without your phones, your trucks, your medicines and cures, without the means to supply the people in your cities with goods and services?
Imagine all the people in cities deprived of every kind of technology, technology that they use every day to survive. Imagine everyone suddenly having to find a way to grow their own food, to preserve it, to store it safely.
[…] Without your technology the fabric of civilization itself would come apart within days – if not hours. Everyone would be on their own. One city wouldn’t know what the next is doing, or if they were even alive. There’d be no plans or cars or anything else. You couldn’t travel to other places unless you walked. Do you have any idea how long it takes to walk just a few dozen miles? A distance that in your cars takes a brief time would be days of hard travel on foot.”
It goes on for several more paragraphs, and the more I read, the more I realized just how hopeless many of us would be if we could no longer rely on the convenience of our technology to get by. Growing up, I thought it was normal having to walk almost half an hour to get to a friends house, until I visited some of my friends in the city who literally just had to cross the road. It seemed unfair at first, but then I thought about all of the beauty of nature I got to enjoy on my long walk, a beauty that my city friends were being deprived of.
Having to work harder to get something makes you appreciate it so much more, and I fear that that’s something else that might be lost on the next generation of youth. Having worked in a grocery store, I’ve seen all sorts of different family dynamics. It always warmed my heart to see children who were eager to help their parents carry the groceries, as if it was the most exciting thing in the world. There was even this one kid who really wanted to pass me all of the groceries by himself. Those were the days that made me smile.
Then you had the children on the other end of the spectrum, the ones that made you feel the same pain that the parents must be feeling as they watch their child throw a full blown tantrum in the middle of the store when they could only have one chocolate bar, or when their teenage child is too busy text on their phone to bother helping out when their parent is struggling to pack and carry all of the groceries by themselves.
Where has their sense of responsibility gone? Their respect for those who raised them? Their appreciation for the things that they already have? Everyday, it seems to only get worse and worse, and I fear that future generations will be completely unequipped to handle even the simplest challenges should they no longer have technology to lean back on.
What are your thoughts on this quote? I’d love to hear what all of you lovely BookNerds have to say, so please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on my blogs Facebook page. Happy reading!