Technological advances have set us back 50 years…at least. Sound paradoxical? It did to me the first time I stared at the black and white words on the paper beneath my pen. My thoughts were in terms of what we have lost as a nation, as a people, with all we have gained with modern advances in technology. Suffice it to say, simple physics tells us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. With that in mind, by applying Newton’s third law of motion loosely and in relationship with technology, one could surmise that for every technological advance that moves us forward as a species, something is lost that moves us backward, maybe not equally, but backwards still.
When Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line and made it possible for most Americans to own their very own “motorized car” much was gained that moved us forward as a people. Travel times were improved, mass transit became a possibility, and people and materials began to move about the country in ways never before perceived in the modern age. Consequently, pollution increased, motorists died in car crashes, traffic blighted cityscapes, and those who once walked now rode, thus forfeiting the exercise benefit that walking once provided.
The reactions that emanate from new technologies are hardly anything new. Thankfully, most advances are for the good of mankind and harm us very little when introduced to society. Without modern medicine, many people would die from senseless diseases and treatable ailments. With future advances, we hope to find cures for cancer, genetic and neurological disorders, and maladies that still boggle the most relevant medical minds. The same can be said for technologies that revolutionize food supply, communication, defense mechanisms, and many other processes that advance our world into future realms unfathomable at this point in time.
All of these advances have paved the way to longer, more beneficial life spans over time and while medical advances have shown an ability to lengthen one’s life by treating and curing myriad diseases, at what point does lifespan stagnate, and perhaps decline, due to negative reactions created by gains in other technological spheres; gains in which modern medicine can’t keep pace?
To date, modern medicine and other technologies have kept mankind advancing in average age with each passing era. With our transformation from predominantly agrarian vocations to industrialized ones, occupational exertions have slowly faded in many industries while technological pursuits have rendered a once dynamic citizenry static. New inventions launched daily in
achieve the same results as older, more physical processes, but in half the time or better, often with negative side effects. This is basically the inventor’s creed: Improve daily life by creating a product or service that increases results ten-fold while decreasing time 100-fold. Today we have faster food, faster transportation, better communication devices, etc. all bent at increasing our time and lessening our load. America
A snapshot of an 18th century farmer illustrates a lifestyle devoid of modern technology yet ripe with bygone era pursuits lending themselves to systemic heath and well being. This farmer might have had a shorter lifespan due to medical constraints, however, what he did have was an exercise program built into his vocation, a food supply lacking modern processing and chemicals, living in a world where patience and forethought were deemed virtues. While a gas-powered tractor might have increased his yield 10-fold, his health benefited from his lack of said tractor.
Today, many of us benefit from gains in technology, but without a measured effort to offset the ills brought about by these same technological gains, human lifespan and quality of life will stagnate, if not recede in the years to come. What does that mean? It’s simple. Modern medicine will not continue to cure conditions and diseases brought about by chemical-laden foods, static lifestyles, and hyper-stressors created by progressive technologies deemed necessary to advance society at the same rate it has in the past. It can’t. If we don’t make changes to how we eat, what we eat, employ exercise regimens to offset unhealthy idleness, periodically disconnect from the digital realm, and reduce stressors generated by the digital age; we will enter, for the first time in history, a phase of decline in quality of life and human life span.
So what can you do? Read food labels, cut back on excessive sugars, hydrogenated oils, chemical sweeteners, corn syrup, enriched flour, and overly processed foods not suitable for a dog to eat. Eliminate sodas from your diet all together even diet sodas in favor of water. Turn off the TV. Find ways to reintroduce physical activity into your life whether through vocation, exercise, or both. Choose to walk instead of ride, start a garden at home, read an actual book with real pages, get some extra sleep, and teach your children the benefits of wellness at an early age. Rise early to watch the sunrise, make jokes at your own expense, loosen up and laugh a little. Whatever you do, do something. Otherwise, new technologies might take us backwards another 50 years. Just a thought!