March 5, 2008
By Hannah Hirschfeld, Choteau, MT

Why is there suddenly an “obesity epidemic” in America? Why is there such an emphasis on inconsequential traits such as physical beauty and popularity in our culture? I believe technology has, in a sense, made us lazy. We have seem to run out of patience. Even waiting in line at the checkout counter is a “waste of time.” Everything is done to make life more comfortable for us. Humans have been made into shallow creatures by the “new and improved lifestyle” inventions bombarding us today.

When we picture an American farmer two hundred years ago, we see a hardworking, dedicated man whose livelihood depends on the success of his crop. The harder he works, the more benefits he will receive; if he is lenient and does not push himself, he and his family would end up short on food, shelter, and basic necessities. This was a very simple concept to grasp and was instilled in a person from birth. We have completely changed this lifestyle of old into a self-serving, self-obsessed way of living. We no longer realize the value of hard work and are constantly looking to better ourselves without regard to others. Convenient technology has played a large part in destroying the more simple way of life.

Ironically, the purpose of guns was self-protection. The purpose of the television was to entertain and avoid boredom. The purpose of the fast-food industry was to aid the traveler in acquiring food. Sadly, in some way, all of these inventions have backfired on society. Guns are now used daily for murder; television is an obsession of children; and fast-food is making everyone fat. So many things were invented to benefit mankind, and many of them have, but people are now dependant on things that pull them away from the natural human center.

Of course I am not dismissing all inventions as detrimental to mankind. Many new innovations have greatly aided us in our daily lives. The internet has increased our access to information in unimaginable ways; telephones have allowed for communication regardless of distance; electricity eliminated the need for certain rudimentary devices and now permits activity after the sun has set. Even the afore mentioned examples can be used as excellent resources in moderation. Moderation is the key. As Shakespeare said “Too much of a good thing…”

We need to center ourselves on basic moral principles again. Hard work, sincerity, patience, and joy should fill our lives in place of the petty concerns of our super-charged life. We should realize how satisfying it is to benefit others over ourselves, and cultivate inner character traits instead of the fruitless outer ones. We as a culture need to learn how to slow down and smell the flowers.

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