15 Mar Machine Free World
Can you remember living without machines?
We are so accustomed to machines that we rely on them heavily-from phones to computers, microwave’s, vehicles and many more.
How would we fare without them?
It pains me to say it, but seemingly not so well.
Our enjoyment of machines eventually led to a heavy reliance, where the joys and skills of alternative ways of living, slowly became an afterthought for most of humanity.
Interestingly, a machine free world is possible in these modern times.
We see this with lived proof from Mark Boyle’s inspiring story about his ordinary life of technology and comfort, transformed into one that he depicts as a life we can “rewild”; in other words, the new adventure and new beginning.
Boyle’s simple truth may become evident by removing something in our lives we use regularly.
- Take cell phones or phones in general for example-how would we interact without them?
- What if we removed social media and computers from our lives?
- What if we just had our bodies and minds to communicate?
The speed at which we live our lives is mind boggling to someone like myself, a designer, who handles challenges and projects in an organized and medium-paced fashion.
If we go any faster, we will pass through life so fast, that some of the best things will be missed or forgotten.
Remember the old expression, “Stop and smell the roses”?
Well, there may be some great wisdom there.
Despite the hyperspeed style at which we live, removing tech or machines from my lifestyle, it would seem like returning to the stone age, as there are required technology to perform my job.
This would, of course, be far from the truth.
There are always other methods human beings can break through a challenge.
We have skills and intelligence in this era far beyond people of the stone age.
Living in a machine free world may push the reset button on much of our material developments or reliance, but not the human spirit.
The human spirit is one of the most powerful tools in the world, which may be often overlooked or underestimated.
We’re capable of tremendous things, far beyond our modern science and technology.
So what about the consequences of using machines versus doing without?
We all see the benefit of having technology: a fast-paced lifestyle, the ease of use for many activities, mass-automation, or even job replacement (swap humans with machines to handle work-ex. drones)
Without being overly critical-as a business person myself-the whole idea of having a machine-dependent society sounds like a grand enterprise, somewhat like the concept of the fast food chain: efficient, simple and lucrative.
Fast food is quick, cheap and tasty, yes?
Who wouldn’t want that?
Actually many people avoid this type of food.
They know the consequences-sacrificing their health, for instance, to save money; this is the cost.
Earlier, we discussed the challenges of communication without machines.
So what happens if we continue down our current path: a machine-centric society?
Just like the concept of our dwindling physical health by eating fast food, could there be a dwindling psychological or spiritual health in our society by depending on machines?
Medical News Today discusses some important mental and physical results of using technology.
Johnson educates us that the overuse of technology, can lead to isolation, eyestrain, sleep deprivation, depression, loss of concentration, to name a few.
He continues to elaborate on causes and effects of isolation,
“…people with higher social media use were more than three times as likely to feel socially isolated than those who did not use social media as often.”
Let’s hone in on the psychological effect of machines.
Sometimes, while watching our youth cross the street, we see their heads facing down-even in major intersections during rush hour.
They are transfixed on their phones.
Of course, they’re likely busy having fun or talking to their friends.
But, what happened to, “Look both ways before crossing the street.”
When I was young, we didn’t have cell phones.
Some had a Walkman, listening to music, which notably impaired their hearing a little, but not our vision or spatial awareness.
Back then people still looked around at the world when traveling outside.
We observed the falling multicolor leaves in autumn, the red robin nesting in spring, we greeted a passerby, or we just walked or biked for the sheer physical enjoyment. Nothing more.
Are these legends of the past?
Can we rekindle some of our greatest traditions and basic human needs?
These are some of the things we could truly savour if we place our attention less towards machines and more into our natural lives.
- Mark Boyle, The Guardian (March 2019), My advice after a year without tech: rewild yourself [Online] Available: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/19/a-year-without-tech-debt-gadgets-reconnect-nature [Accessed March 15 2021]
- Jon Johnson, Medical News Today, Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., CRNP (Feb 2020), Negative effects of technology: What to know [Online] Available: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/negative-effects-of-technology [Accessed March 15 2021]