Monday, December 12, 2005

Whoever said life was simple must have been Amish

It was time to part ways with my toothbrush so off I trotted to my local Woolworth’s in search of one. As I walked through the aisles, making my way to the ‘toothbrush corner’ a wave of dread engulfed me.

Before me, were no less than forty choices. For starters, did I want a battery operated one or a manual? And if I wanted a manual, did I want a 360 degree? Whitening? Massager? Active angle? Flexible zig zag or one for sensitive teeth? As I pondered these deep and meaningful choices, I realised that I could do with my current toothbrush for just a little while longer and a smile worked its way across my face. I gave the toothbrushes a hard stare, as if to say ‘HA! You haven’t got me yet!” and walked away.

To help me deal with my toothbrush nightmare I decide to relax with my favourite show Friends. I reach for the remote and push the button but nothing happens – Doh! wrong remote. Now where’s the right one…ok that’s VCR remote….DVD remote…Music system remote…. Cable remote – Ah! Found it. Watching TV shouldn’t be this hard, surely?

Our world today is driven by choice and choice is good but only when it’s meaningful. Choice is supposed to make things easy, simpler, help enrich our lives. Instead we find ourselves like rats caught in maze of complexity and frustration. And whatever happened to the promise of technology? You will be able to spend more time doing the things you love they said. Well, “they” duped us didn’t they? Technology is surely driving choice but it’s also driving us insane.

How are we dealing with this insanity? We buy books from Amazon. Type simple life into and you’ve got 309338 hits on books like handbook to a happier life, a guide to scaling down and enjoying more, plain living and high thinking, 7 steps to the simple life, the list is endless.

But whilst we rave and rant about the world becoming too complicated and we talk about the simple life, we’re craving for more. More money, more clothes, more tech toys, more features on our phones. It’s not enough that we can listen to music on an ipod. We want to be able to talk, text, take photos, watch videos and access the Internet ! Perhaps one day the Ipod will go to work for us, look after the kids and cook dinner?

In his book Affluenza, Clive Hamilton speaks of the blurring of lines between needs and wants. Abundance of choice has contributed to this. We want because we can have. And the want to ‘have’ is never-ending. We are caught in this vicious maze and the scary reality is that most of us are pretty happy. Are you one of them?

My perfect soulmate isnt perfect.

The sky is blue. Someone should cheer it up.