It’s the 3rd of August and I read yesterday that the FBI are putting Malware (malicious software that hackers use) onto mobile devices so that they can spy on the owners of the devices or those around them. This isn’t conspiracy theory – it is now widely known. It made me think about a word that has been increasingly used in my lifetime, the word ‘convenience.’ It means a lot of things, but in this case I would like to apply it to appliances and latterly devices and vehicles. We use appliances, devices and vehicles to make our lives easier, or more convenient. I have done that a lot of my life, and am still doing it. I try to avoid using a dishwasher, and intend to start washing clothes by hand, not because I want to go back in time, but because one way or another, we’re not going to be able to rely on such devices forever. I have given up using a car most of the time in my life on Waiheke Island, but I do borrow a car for special circumstances.
I personally remember the days when we dried clothes using a ringer – two rolling pins right next to one another, turned by a handle and the clothes would go in between, ringing the water out. The concern that I have about devices, is that we’re becoming much too dependent on them, at the loss of our own intellect in some cases. We can and do become like sheep, waiting for the next iPhone or Samsung or vehicle to come out, buying new things because they’re more chic, more powerful etc. All of these devices of convenience have a tremendous cost, as we’ve discussed in other blog pieces: pollution or the waste of the device itself. We don’t need a new phone every time one comes out. Every time a new movie comes out there’s a herd mentality caused by marketing that drives people to see it. What I don’t think is proper and in fact downright destructive is the act of marketing to children. I’m not a great fan of marketing in general, but I do realize that we have to do that if we have a business or if we want to sell things. I do it in my own way, which is not so much advertising, by going to conferences and things that pertain to the field that I am in.
Appliances, devices and vehicles of convenience should be seen as separate from who we are, not part of our us. Unless the energy situation happening in the world today is resolved by something like cold fusion, or we accelerate the use of sustainable and renewable energy, we have to take care not to get too pulled in to the convenience of appliances, devices and vehicles.