Wednesday, March 29, 2006

So, does modernization help us or handicap us?

As I was pre-reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, I found the following discussion between Ma and Pa. They have just been through a myriad of blizzards and supplies are running low.

....Then the dark came back again. The wild screaming of the storm seemed louder and nearer in the dark.

"If only I had some grease I could fix some kind of a light," Ma considered. "We didn't lack for light when I was a girl, before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of."

"That's so," said Pa. "These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves -- they're good things to have, but the trouble is, folks get to depend on them."
(pg 192-193)

So, are we too dependent on faster, bigger, better and forgetting how "we used to do it"? When we come up against a problem, do we stop because it's insurmountable -- Internet is out, electricity is off, we feel moved to boycott a convenient store? Do we just give up?

I need to teach my children (and myself) that few problems -- particularly those connected with things that have made our life easier -- are truly a "show stopper". Internet is down? Go outside or read a book. Electricity is off? Cuddle together and read by candlelight. Boycotting a convenient store? Shop elsewhere or buy less to make the budget work.

So the answer to my title? Modernization WILL handicap us if we allow it to handicap us. If we become too dependent on things of the modern age, we will end up stopping, end up giving up.

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