Monday, May 13, 2019

The Dark Side of Progress: Why We Want To Live Life Differently

I have friends, as I'm sure you do as well, that boycott Facebook in an attempt to protect their mental space from the negatively charged climate we are battling on a daily basis.  If you are tapped into early childhood education, you have heard the battle between higher test score advocates and the call for play-dominated education.  Are you struggling with chronic health problems?  There is a lot of discussion about the dangers of our modern agricultural approaches undermining the God-given nutrients and immunity my grandparents received from their food and microbiome.  While modern conveniences are amazing in their own right, there is troubling evidence that suggests a blind-following of current trends in the name of keeping up is rapidly eating away at our quality of life.

About a mile from our house, we have experienced an oil site construction that has finally come to its maintenance state.  It was only a matter of weeks when another began just down the way from it.  No one in the area has been pleased with it and my animal loving kids were disgusted at all the animal homes they were destroying (in the tree clearing) just for the sake of money!  I had to calm my little activists down and explain how we do benefit from the oil even if we don't like the process and location.  I'm not in denial about some real benefits of progress and technology advancements, but this current wave of technology and internet-dominated living comes with side effects we do not generally consider.

My upbringing was extremely health-conscious and certainly not the norm of my culture usually.  To her credit, my mom was advocating for health and wellness choices that would become mainstream years later.  So, I remember how certain the 'experts' were about the evils of butter and all manner of fats.  Turns out they were off-base and there are quite a few good fats that are vital for overall health.  Let's not even talk about the smoking and the tobacco industry.  My point is, just because something is new and popular never means it is safe, wise or a place to set up camp.

I always hated the 'back in the good old days' talks or the resistance of progress simply because it is new, but I'm starting to understand their motivation.  There are some things in this world that do not change and our incessant need to upgrade or revolutionize what already works is getting us into trouble in some cases.  Spending time outdoors in nature is good for you - mind, body and spirit.  Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is important for mind and body function.  Being creative and keeping a slow pace is a mandatory part of life in order to sustain the times of necessary work and fast pace.  These are things that do not change no matter how fast your computer is or what new gadget comes on the market.

It is clear that our mental and physical health as a country is failing.  From suicide to cancers to chronic illness - all of our technological advancements aren't enough to truly change the direction of our health nationally.  I am so thankful for surgeries and procedures being more precise and revolutionized in many areas.  Like the oil that is being harvested down the street, there are good, even life-saving elements that come from progress.  But my hope is that we don't walk into the future blindly as if there are never any dangerous costs or side effects from all this progress.   A big reason why we choose the lifestyle we do - homeschool, hiking, gardening, cooking, etc. - is to protect and preserve a healthy way of life for our children.  I cannot control what dangers may arise from modern advancements, but I can invest more heavily in the decidedly good parts of life in order to side step or in some cases prevent the negative fallout of our march to the more, the better and the new.  

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