Technology and Self-Reliance

Helping People by Abraham Lincoln

We live in an amazing world. Our stores are filled with the items that would dazzle people from a generation ago. We eat nearly whatever we want, at any time that we want it. Our entertainment choices are enormous and, again, tailored to our own individual tastes and consumption schedules. As a species, we are interconnected like no other time in our history. We literally can talk to someone, face to face, on the other side of the globe instantaneously. We can physically be on the other side of the globe in a day. We have an enormous amount of information available to us, at our fingertips, whenever we need it. What we take for granted would have been unimaginable luxuries, magic even, to most of the humans who have ever lived.

What makes this unimaginable lifestyle possible? Our technology gives us our collective lifestyles. It allows for the product distribution chain that fills our stores with affordable goods from around the world. It also allows for the food distribution chain that allows us to eat whatever we want, no matter the season. It gives us that enormous choice of entertainment options that are streamed onto our devices when we are ready to relax. It allows us to communicate in real time with any other person on Earth when it is convenient for both. It places the compendium of the world’s knowledge at our feet, to be used when we see fit. How could our technology be anything other than a gift, a boon and an indispensable resource?

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
– Abraham Lincoln

Yet, there is a dark side to our technology, a side that many people do not consider. In order to afford all those wonderful things in the stores, in order to sample the variety of food available, in order to be entertained at the drop of a hat we need the technology that makes it all possible. Without the technology, all the things disappear. We don’t want that to happen. We will do anything to avoid that from happening. And so, we do. We live in places where we don’t necessarily want to live in order to be close to employment that pays for our access to what technology offers. We do things that we don’t necessarily want to do in order to pay for what technology offers. We trade the moments of our lives for things and possessions that we believe we desperately needs. We conform and become dependent and lose what is naturally our birthright – self-reliance all because of technology.

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