Donnerstag, 9. Juli 2015

Too much comfort will kill you

I've wasted so much time. I cooked potatoes though there were ready-to-eat ones at the supermarket. I drew a portrait though I could have just taken a picture with my mobile. Instead of having my flat cleaned I clean it myself. An article on the New Yorker's website on a book of American writer Matthew Crawford inspired me to think about all this wasted time. Because Crawford argues that this time is not wasted – quite the contrary:
"To be living and to be free [...] consists of 'skillfully engaging' with the obstacles and frustrations of reality, as when playing musical instruments, repairing engines, raising children, or sailing boats."
It takes a long time to learn how to play guitar; children cry, boats turn over and engines don't. In engaging with them, one has to cope with frustration. Finding the cause and solving the underlying problem is sometimes possible, sometimes simply not.
"Consider, for example, what it takes to sail a boat or play a guitar. Unlike an iPad or a luxury car, you cannot simply choose what you want to happen by pushing a button. I love to sail, but it can be a hard and sometimes frustrating experience – something always goes wrong. Guitars and sailboats clearly do not deliver freedom in the sense of a maximization of choice; you might even say that the guitar player or the sailor is constrained, or even trapped, for a sailboat will not sail upwind, and a guitar will not easily produce pleasing sounds. But, as Crawford points out, accepting such constraints and undertaking the mastery of demanding technologies is usually what ends up feeling worthwhile. No one asks to be buried with his iPad."
But does that mean that the more convenience we let enter our lives, the more we use parking assist systems, air conditioners, instant meals – the less we will be resistant to stress, heat and frustration?

Scarce comfort in Laos, 2012 (by PK).

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