Bigger, better, faster, more. These are the benefits technology promises us. They are promises of the future. A commitment toward progress.
Larger hard drives with ever-growing capacity appear in shiny new devices at every turn of the product cycle. Information flows at a rate that makes many feel as if they are wrapping their mouth around the end of a fire hose. We celebrates excess at a level never before experienced in western culture.
Our television screens have more surface area than our dining room tables. We walk around with pocket-sized personal computers that provide unlimited information at our fingertips, yet we no longer remember phone numbers. And thanks to GPS navigation, we have no idea where we’re headed until we’re well on our way.
Bigger, better, faster, more.
We suffer from elephantiasis of advancement. And we continuously crave even more. More friends. More disk space. More followers. More apps. More page views. More “Likes.” More pixels. More channels. More downloads. More data. More features.
More caliber per capita.
Bigger, better, faster, more. Of these four words, only one is truly qualitative.
Many believe we’re better off thanks to technology. I would be foolish to deny the progress made possible through technological advancement. Diseases have been cured, disasters have been reported and dictators have been overthrown, thanks in great part to technology. Those are all amazing things. I’m sure thousands of similar examples exist proving the benefits of advancement.
But what about us? Is technology making us better as human beings? I’m not so sure, but I suppose that depends upon your subjective definition of better.
Experiment: if you live or work in an urban or suburban area, take a look around you the next time you’re walking down the street or at the mall. Take note of the number of people staring at a mobile device. The next time you are in a café, count the number of people with a laptop accompanying their latté. There is now a generation that knows only the connected way of life. The attached life.
And I’m as guilty as the next person.
I have a difficult time believing the attached life is the better life. It is impossible to avoid the digital aspects of modern society, however non-attachment and the practice of living in the present can cooperate alongside digital culture. If we reject technology’s promise of excess; renounce the ideas of bigger, better and more; and focus on our own personal concept of what better is (and should ultimately be), we can live in harmony with technology.
Smaller, slower, less. And better. Those are the ideals to which I am working.