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Living on Human Scale...

When did we stop doing this?  The industrial revolution probably started it.  Giving us gadgets and gizmos that allowed us to shorten the time it took for us to do things, basic things that were the testaments of daily life.  We didn’t have to build fires to cook or heat, we got stoves and boilers for that.  We didn’t have to wash our clothes by hand anymore, because we had washers and dryers that handled the task for us.  It seems to me that we bought into this delusion that we could use technology to shorten the time of menials tasks thereby increasing our time for other adventures.

But did we really need this time?  And did we really gain it?  I mean sure we spend less time getting food, doing household chores and the like, largely because most of us have outsourced that to someone else.  We use delivery services now instead of doing it ourselves and we hire someone to clean our houses if we are able to afford such things. 

And so we have more do what exactly?

I think the thought was that we would spend the time doing things that benefitted our community, enriched our lives, the lives of the people we love.  But did we actually use the time that way?  One could argue that we are more disenfranchised today, less connected, more remote and distant in our relations than we have ever been.  What exactly has humanity done with all the time we gained by lashing ourselves to technology?

I am sure that I don’t want to plant a garden every year and have to tend to it and manage it in order to eat, but did I really save time by the addition of grocery stores?  I mean, I still have to have time to go there, select the items I want, check out, drive home, put it all away and then cook it.  Seems like if I would have just committed to doing the work of putting in a garden, planting fruit trees and the like, I think on the whole time management side I might have come out ahead.

It would appear that living beyond human scale is made possible because of this human notion that we can manage time.  But can we?  I am not so sure.  Seems like certain things take about the same amount of time no matter what you do.  Feeding ourselves is always going to be a primal and time consuming endeavor and the amount of money you have to earn to feed yourself by someone else’s hand and work is exponentially larger than if you just grew it yourself.

And do we really have more time?

I spend an awful lot of time attempting to manage all my technology and all its fussiness.  I mean, I cannot get my robot vacuum to work, it won’t charge and it is less than a year old.  I have spent I don’t know how much time fucking around with that and so in the mean time I still have to vacuum everyday which I am not sure is more time intensive than having to move all the shit out of the way of the fucking automatic one.  I mean, did I save any time at all?  So far, my answer would be a huge fucking NO!

I am not anti-technology, but where exactly are we going with it?  I mean, now computers think for us, write for us, feed us, deliver shit to our homes.  We are becoming more and more isolated from each other and less and less dependent on each other.  Many people do not know their neighbors and if they do, they have only a passing acquaintance with them.  We are not using the time technology supposedly gained us to relate to each other more, in fact, I would say that technology has completely robbed us of intimate relations with pretty much anyone anymore.  I cannot hold a conversation with my daughter without one of our phones going off and demanding our attention.  And we both give it to them almost every fucking time.

Technology has given us the ability to live beyond our means in every area:

We can date 20 people at the same time

We can have 100 friends and the possibility of new ones all the damn time

We can shop 24/7 and never leave our homes

We can work 24/7 also never leaving our homes

We can order in food and also order meals already prepared that all we have to do is heat for 2 minutes

We can wash our clothes, clean our houses and even have our litterboxes cleaned all by a machine

But where are we humans in all of this?  I swear to God I feel some days that I live in service to the machines in my life, not the other way around.  I am here to keep them all happy and functioning, the fact that they are supposed to be in service to me feels like a joke some days.  The more I attempt to lash technology to my life, the more time it seems to take from me.  And the more time it takes to manage, control, repair and depend upon the machines to allow me function in my daily life.

And any time gained by the use of technology seems to be eaten and consumed faster than it is gained today.  I mean, I swear to God that fucking robot vacuum has charged me more of my time that it has ever saved.  Like even if it started working correctly right now and operated that way for a good month,  without my constant management, I am still out a great deal of time dealing with that fucker.  

And it isn’t just that machine that I feel this way about.  I mean don’t even get me started about the fucking automatic kitty litter box I bought...then promptly threw away when it didn’t work AT ALL and the company I bought it from made me send videos, emails, voice recordings and the like to even engage with me.  I am not kidding that getting the company to deal with their substandard and shitty (pun intended) product was a part time job that I was not being paid for and didn’t have time to do.

I am sure there are a million other reasons people way smarter than me have figured out as to why we are all living beyond human scale...but this is where I am today. For me, it begins and ends with this dependence on technology.  More importantly my reliance upon it and my stupid belief that it will save me time.  Does it?  I am beginning to think that is the great lie of our the thing, it will save you “time”.  This the great delusion that only lashes us to more machines that all scream about time savings, but in the end only remove us from our lives more and more a little each day by outsourcing our lives and our endeavors to be completely devoid of human contact.

I work from home and my daughter schools from home.  There are entire days all too often that I don’t look her in the eye and speak to her until after 5 pm.  I am ashamed to admit this.  But it is true.  We are both here in this house and I am too busy working and managing all my fucking technology and the million entrance points technology grants access to in my life.  I am on my computer, using all these programs to manage clients and their legal matters, I am on the phone talking to them and co-workers, I am texting with friends, clients and other people about all kinds of things all day long and then there is the social media component that is just fucking ridiculous.  I will not even hazard a guess how much of my life Tik Tok, Facebook and Instagram steal from me hourly.  And stealing isn’t even the right word, because I give my time to them like some sort of offering to a deity who is not kind or benevolent. The social media deity is mean, punishing and tyrannical.

Living on a human scale seems to be an idea that we have largely abandoned.  We are all out here living in this tech filled world that isolates us, grants us productivity that is not healthy or really all that productive when measured up agains things like intimacy, health and over all wellbeing.  Are we freer?  Are we better?  Ummmm, no.  I don’t really think so.

This concept of human scale is new to me and it is the kind of new that is eating at me.  Seeing how everyday I live so far beyond my means.  Financial, emotional, productivity, physical, spiritual.  I am tapped out by 9 am every fucking day and yet, I keep doing it day after motherfucking day.  And I know I am missing the important things.  The people who love me and I love back, the beings I care for and love and get so much enjoyment from, the friends I love and cherish, my family, and community at large.  These things that are the lifeblood of living have become nuisances or things that need to be managed instead of the joys of my existence.  And it is exquisitely painful to see this, to write about it and to own that I am in fact living so far beyond human scale that I do not know what to even do about it.

It is like I began floating then my attention was distracted for a protracted period of time and now I find myself hovering far above earth’s atmosphere...and I have no idea how I got here and not a fucking clue how to come back down.  I mean, I can’t just quit technology but I am not sure I can really continue with it either.

So for today, I will just hover here on the outskirts of outer space and watch my life fly by, watch myself scurry from one activity to another with barely any me involved at all.  And I will allow myself to feel the pain this causes me and others.  I will not disassociate from it or pretend it isn’t there.  I will just own that I am living a life so far beyond human scale that I didn’t even see that I was until this past Monday.  And now that I see it, I can’t stop seeing it and I feel completely overwhelmed about what to do about it.



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