I’ve just spent a lot of the day searching through my new blog, old blog, USB, hard drive, the entire internet, for a quote that I was sure I’d turned into a post—a quote I know I turned into a post.
It was a quote about convenience and I can remember writing about drive thrus and self-service checkouts and Visa PayWave—all the ways in which convenience is impersonalising our world.
I really wanted to turn that quote into a musing, but I just (quite inconveniently) couldn’t find it! That inconvenience did send me on quite the journey, though—I was reintroduced to some very useful things (quite conveniently inconvenient!).
So, until I find “the” quote, we’ll just have to go with—
Something about our focus on convenience at the expense of experience.
~ Someone very wise
The reason it came up again today is a story from our local paper that talks about a business venture by a group of high school students—
Yes, you read it right.
Sock delivery. The delivery of socks.
Socks delivered to your door.
Now, I’m not bagging the students—good on them for putting their heads together and creating a business out of nothing. That’s awesome.
But, the fact that we’ve become a world where a sock delivery business can even exist? A world where a sock delivery business is even thought to be necessary?
It’s more than a little sad.
This focus (obsession?) with convenience is starving us of experience, of connection. It’s all about getting from A to P in the quickest possible manner with the least amount of interaction—or, in fact, getting nowhere at all.
It’s now possible to live without ever stepping foot outside your door (although this definition of ‘living’ is highly questionable).
In my quest for the quote, I trawled back through recent books I’ve read and TED talks I’ve watched. When I stumbled across His Holiness Pope Francis, I immediately became convinced that he had said the elusive quote (as I’d previously immediately been convinced that it was Deepak Chopra, then Gary Zukav, Eckhart Tolle, Elizabeth Lesser … !).
He didn’t say it (none of them have—maybe nobody did?!), but he has said some other very wise, very relevant things.
In his talk on Why the only future worth building includes everyone, HHPF (we’re on an acronym-name basis) says that life flows through our interactions with others and the only way forward is solidarity.
He talks about our culture of waste that “doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realising it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.”
Products, instead of people.
What kind of world is our convenience creating?
We don’t really think of convenience being such a harmful thing, but that’s part of its danger. It’s causing us to be lazy—to stop questioning the ethics of how we’re living.
To stop questioning what effect our convenience is having on others?
On our health?
And what it’s doing to the planet? Well, that’s catastrophic.