Fast food, fast cars, fast death.
Life is simple. A simple life breeds calm and serenity which translates to peace of mind and fulfillment. In other words, happiness is for us to make, but has society as a whole worked on preserving this blissful state of mind that most of us seek to attain?
Over the course of the evolution of human society, we have sought to simplify our lives by generating new methods, ideas, and products through a process called innovation. As a result, we've been able to invent cars to convey us from one place to another in no time. We have cooking appliances that can transform raw food into edible meals in a matter of minutes. And recently, with the advent of the smartphone, the possibilities are endless with just a few taps on a screen.
But do all these supposedly great innovations make life simple? Many of us might be in a rush to say yes, but I took time to think about these things and I arrived at a contrary conclusion. The new things that have been invented stack one layer of complexity on top of another, then abstract the complexities from the user experience, tricking the consumer to assume all the risks without knowing what is happening behind the scenes.
While society has moved on from the stone age (where there were fewer tools and machinery) to the internet age (of abundance), life has not become any simpler. For sure, things have become more convenient but at what price? Let's not misconstrue convenient to mean simple here. While simple things can be convenient, not everything convenient can be simple.
Before I proceed, allow me to define simplicity for the few ones who are confused. Simplicity is the absence of multiple patterns or methods working together to achieve a single goal. Thus, anything devoid of complex mechanisms or methods is simple.
For example, when you're hungry and for whatever reason can't make your own meals, the traditional way is to walk up to a food vendor, order what you want, pay, and walk back. In this age of smartphones, you can conveniently place an order for food from the comfort of your home or office. The process of using a smartphone to purchase food and get it delivered is nice and convenient, but is it simple? The answer is no.
For starters, you will need a smartphone, then an internet connection to download an application, and after that, you will need access to a payment service provider to facilitate the exchange of digital currency. All these steps are abstracted from the user experience making it feel simple but the price users pay in the long-term is hefty.
Permit me to say that a lot of stress these days is technology-acquired. Social media applications are hurting people very badly and what I keep wondering is whether the stress is really worth the engagement. Technology is not entirely bad, as in some cases can become a necessary evil. But does the average man have the willpower to unplug themselves from mass media programming?
The price of fast cars, fast food, and all other technological advancements is not only what is displayed on the tags, but we pay more with the very fabric of our being. We wonder why mental health issues are prevalent in modern society but we fail to see that it's the ultimate price we have to pay for overly complicating our lives which are meant to be simple.