Is technology the answer?

Is technology the answer?
Photo by Luke Miller / Unsplash

When you domesticate a wolf, it loses its raw strength and becomes a dog.

Does the same thing happen to people?

Technological progress marches forward exponentially, increasing the Standard Of Living (SOL) for billions of people.

I define SOL in two halves: physical and mental. Physical is material goods, and mental represents well-being.

We often use technology as a crutch to solve invented problems—issues where the original solution works and might even improve our lives.

I can't deny technology's benefits, but nothing is perfect.

We've become reliant on inventions.

Consider clothing: High-tech, blizzard-proof jackets are available to anyone who can afford them. They're meant for specific use cases in extreme conditions. 

Today, people wear overengineered clothing when it's 40 degrees and sunny, either as a fashion statement or because they refuse to experience the discomfort of the weather.

But discomfort is bad... Who wants to be cold?

Most don't choose to be cold if given the option. However, this technology didn't exist for thousands of years, and humans have survived.

The more, the better. Right?

Some of the happiest people live with almost nothing. 

Buddhism teaches that desire is the root of suffering. If you seek more, you will only stray farther.

In the US, minimalism is the closest thing to Buddhism: the movement to decrease belongings as much as possible. Examples include only owning one week of clothes, throwing out unused items, etc.

However, minimalism differs critically: It focuses on physical objects. Reducing material goods usually brings mental benefits, but they are not guaranteed.

Perhaps we need a "minimalism" for the mind, like Buddhism. Meditation is a great starting place. 

Embrace the discomfort and be rewarded.