I am doing some reading and I came across a word that I seldom hear nor read but struck me as something that defines the situation of the world today especially in our addiction to material things and to changing without so much thinking.
(1) In everyday life it is reflected in the fast changing model and obsolescence of material goods and the proliferation of products that are easier and cheaper to replace than to repair.
How many brands of cellphones are there in the market? What about television, how many kinds are there? How do they market gadgets? Who patronizes them?
Take note that the acquisition of material goods are not limited to people from developed countries because they can afford it. Even developing countries and the least developed ones are into the technology hoarding thinking that it’s cool to be IN with the latest gadgets available or the latest model of cars, television, watch etc.
I remember I had my first handy cellphone when I was in my late 20’s, a decade or so ago and my phone then was considered top of the line — gold-colored which displays some black and white graphics. It served its purpose for me then, which was to call and to send occasional sms. Now I own 3 units and one of them is “smart” which does more than what telephones are for: to take photos, videos, to share them in real-time, for internet, to play music, the only thing it doesn’t do is to project my presentation on the wall as I speak, which I am sure is not far from happening, and oh it’s as light as a feather.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of gadgets and other stuffs that back in the days when broken I can have them repaired but now I decided to not do anything about it. Stuffs now are made cheaper to entice people to just buy new ones and keep being “cool”. Repairs becomes more expensive – parts and labor are expensive because the demand is very small – low to be competitive. We become a “wasteful consumer” and that is because we let ourselves be controlled by the changes in technology than the other way around. We don’t realize how much money we spend on the changing technology, me included.
(2) Relates to the changes in our society over time. It changes our LIFESCAPE and so is our LANDSCAPE …
As evidence with the proliferation of urban jungle in a once quiet town or the conversion of farmlands to residential complexes to accommodate migrants from the provinces looking for work in the cities. Let’s not forget about the diversion of rivers to accommodate dams to give water and electricity for the growing cities (Read Three Gorges Dam). All these are said to be signs of progress. Changing economies, the rise of the middle class changes our choices in life and so is our priorities.
Will you call denudation of forest progress? (Read: Deforestation of the Amazon)
Will you call conversion of agricultural lands to residential lands progress?
Will you call displacement of people from their own farms and ancestral homes progress?
Progress at the price of what?
Our society now reflects all the changing characteristics of life we have over the years: multiplicity – we become more varied, material abundance – everything is mass produced and therefore become affordable, the flow of information and communication becomes more fluid everyday, our pace become faster – we forget to stop and smell the roses, we become wasteful – transience, our mobility are made easier and the scale of how we see life becomes bigger, expanding as we see fit. We become soldiers of the changing technology in the society we live in.
Progress is not bad. Technology is very helpful. Life is so much better.
But what will it still be 10 years from now?
Think about it.