Are We Making Things More Difficult For Ourselves?

We have become like nomads again, constantly on the move. Although telecommunications has provided an outlet so that we don’t have to travel as much, instead it has spurred more interaction, and the amount of travelling is increasing as a result. We travel so much, that our homes are becoming less permanent. Whereas we used to have 99-year leases prior to the Industrial Revolution, now we see more impernanent homes, such as those on time-share, RVs and motor homes, even capsule hotels found in Japan used commonly by business people who need a cheap place to stay overnight. People seem to be bored with what they’ve got, and are seeking something new. It seems like time has sped up, and as computers were supposed to save us time, rather they have spurred a race against the clock. Even with all this technology, some people are working 60 hr. weeks or more in some cases. During the Industrial Revolution in Paris, it took 100-200 years to construct a cathedral and the architecture is still standing today. Renovations are done in order to keep the spirit of the buildings alive. However, in Canada and the USA this is not typically the case. Buildings often go up in a matter of months, and can be torn down in a matter of weeks. Maybe people should take development at a slower pace, both construction and technology, and really think about what we are doing. Can we see this product working 80-100 years from now or is it just going to end up in the waste stream, and if so, could we take apart those devices and devise an entirely new, enticing product with the same parts? The answer would usually lead to no, right now, since products are so specialized and are always changing. In terms of architecture, we don’t really need a lot of new buildings to change things. We just need to be more creative with what we’ve got. So many times I’ve seen malls go out of business, and developers think the solution is to build another mall somewhere else and tear down the old one, creating a false sense of demand. The people, the city, and the environment can’t afford such dumb solutions. I would recommend the movie “SHOWER” about a father who runs a traditional bath house in China and his son goes away and works in the City as a businessman. It is about the struggle of traditional vs. progress in modern China, but touches on some interesting issues. Perhaps we could watch the movie in class during the myth and metaphor section?

3 Responses to “Are We Making Things More Difficult For Ourselves?”

  1. sieber says:

    What computing technology that exists today will exist 100 years from now? Forget 100 years. How about 10 years from now? I know that the original bulky cell phones of the 70s and 80s are making a comeback as a retro fashion accessory. (Can you believe it? Cell phones are over 30 years old!) But I cannot think of any device that will survive for too long in its approximate current form. Perhaps the power bar.

  2. Hannah says:

    Well, it’s funny that they’re lasting so long in the waste stream (in terms of the length of their biodegrading), and yet they’re not lasting so long in their use for us.