Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Automated America

A while ago I asked the question, “Do you think we are too busy as a society?” Here’s another, “Do you think we’ve all gotten a little lazy?”

I walk into my local Big Box Supercenter and half the people are well past the sizes that they should be. More and more you see people maneuvering around in motorized carts, and while I know some legitimately need them, by and far I believe they are enabling the overweight to get “overweighter.”

Evolution takes hundreds and hundreds of years to make major changes to a species. The human race has managed to reinvent ourselves in about a hundred years, and the advent of petroleum in our lives has introduced a slew of issues our culture and bodies were not prepared to deal with. For instance, our bodies are hard wired to store extra energy we take in because we simply didn’t know when the next meal would be. Today’s farming techniques uses copious amounts of fossil fuels to produce consistent crops year round and at far greater yields. An acre of corn used to produce 20 bushels of corn and today pushes close to 200. This surplus is transformed and mutated into cheap cupcakes, Twinkies, and soda.

Cars now carry us to and from every place we need to go, sometimes just a few blocks at a time. Big machines pick-up building materials and load them onto trucks like a child with his Lincoln Logs. Plastics are poured and molded in seconds to replace the wooden objects we took hours to make just 20 years ago. Mundane tasks like washing the laundry not only got our clothes clean, but kept us healthy through exercise. Not to be hypocrites - we are relative newbies on this journey to get back in touch with our roots. We still use a washing machine (though rarely use a dryer), we still use cars (though we use bikes when possible), we still use the air conditioning (though very rarely – it is a common occurrence for it to be over 90 in the house), and we still love unhealthy food (both of us could lose some weight but agree that it's nothing a vacation at an Amish Resort wouldn't fix).

A good hard day’s work used to involve several hours of physical labor followed by the satisfaction of seeing your fields grow and crops multiply. Years ago, when we were a nation of farmers, we had to toil daily to work our land and from what I’m seeing on my little fraction of an acre, the land doesn’t “give” you anything. You have to work to get those veggies! Today we teach our children to go get good educations so that they can become doctors and lawyers, engineers and architects, all for the pleasure of working under the air conditioning and going to Disney every year with the family. I’m not saying we should be teaching our children to become ditch diggers, but there’s nothing wrong with getting your hands dirty and as I’ve stated before, it’s healthy for you. Maybe even a little spiritual. -Jason

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