Is your life more valuable and better spent than your parents, than their parents, than your great grand-parents? Has technology and modern society made our lives better, do we get to do more important things with our lives?
It’s a tough one, because the things we do have changed rather dramatically but change itself is not an indicator of quality.
Before the existence of electricity, our forefathers worked according to the schedule of the sun. Get up early, so you’re working by first light and toil until the sun goes down. Burn some candle and you’re done for the day. Throughout you’re also dealing with the reality of having to make much, if not most, of the things you need while also growing your own food and slaughtering your own animals – with a bit of hunting for good measure as well.
Fast forward a little and civilisation has electricity, this brings fridges, electric stoves, running hot and cold water, and greater access to leisure time. This means people can do their own thing in the evenings rather than head directly to bed. Time for reading, for expanding the mind, for greater pursuits of personal interests and hobbies. Mind expanding stuff.
Then there’s the modern conveniences that have been added over the decades. Microwaves, television, internet and a host of labour-saving devices that mean we can spend less time doing the more mundane tasks. The idea is that we should have more time to do the things we deem interesting and more intellectually-challenging.
I am left asking though, does surfing the internet into the wee hours or lying in bed cuddling up to an e-reader make our lives any more fulfilling, or intelligent, than those of our forefathers? Did grandma crocheting or darning socks by candlelight have a less meaningful life? Is building puzzles because Atari hadn’t invented television games yet someone less intelligent?
I’m hard-pressed to believe that more tech makes us more advanced, it certainly opens the door to a wider opinion and thought – but only if we use it.
On a final note, if you want to try something interesting, grab your phone and head on over to Poly and scroll on down to the Tours section. There’s a variety to get started with, 360 degree tours of a variety of places for you to experience. You can even make your own, when you feel brave enough and have something interesting you want to share.