An inconvenient modern convenience

Originally posted to www.transitionpgh.org on April 6, 2012 @ 1:00PM

When I wake up in the morning I have a routine that starts by making a cup of coffee and breakfast, then I follow it up by doing laundry or maybe running the dishwasher. Somedays I even get into a car and drive to McDonalds to get my girlfriend and I breakfast. When the grass needs cut I fire up my super sweet lawnboy and mow the lawn, even this blog was written on one of these so called modern conveniences that we all treasure. What do all of these “so called” modern conveniences have in common? They all cost us money…  And how do we get that money? We work our asses off!

What gets me about this, is all of the marvels of modern convenience we have in our homes cost us “the consumers” a whole lot of money. So what is money and how do we get it, at one time gold and silver were considered currency. A silver dollar had exactly one dollar worth of silver in it and a $20 gold piece had $20 dollars worth of gold in it, if you were crafty enough you could mine $20 worth of gold out of the ground and could spend the bulion like it was currency. There was even a time when every unit of paper currency in circulation was backed by gold or silver and was kept by the government in a secure location. This way every dollar was actually worth a dollar, if the government wanted to print more money they had to accumulate gold or silver and would only print the amount of currency they could tangibly back up. It wasn’t until later in history that they abandoned this system of backing up our currency and started printing money all “willy nilly”.

Back in the good old days when you wanted breakfast you had to gather firewood, get water, forage or hunt for something to eat and ultimately start your fire and cook your breakfast. Sounds like a lot of work, but in comparison to today it is nothing. Nowadays we have a stove that we turn on and a faucet to get water and a few steps away is your refrigerator full of food to choose from. This sounds easier unless you think about what you have to go through to be able to afford and maintain these appliances.

Lets start with your stove… A modern convenience that we all own and use on a daily basis… A stove costs around $500 and the fuel that it burns also costs money. If you made $10/hour this modern convenience would require 50 hours of work, if you are working under the table, but thanks to uncle sam it’s more like 70 hours. This does not take into account the fuel that we also have to pay for on a monthly basis, so in reality once you can afford the appliance you still have to keep paying for it indefinately. In 70 hours I could start 1000 fires and cook 1000 meals, it just doesn’t make much sense to me.

Everything we do today costs money, it even costs money to print money. How do you get to work? I would be willing to bet that a lot of you drive cars to work… Now ask yourself how much that car costs you, and how many hours of work it took you to be able to afford that car? Not to mention the cost of maintaining that car and keeping it fueled. Another aspect that a lot of people don’t think about is the damage to the environment, there are billions of cars driving around our world on a daily basis, this I would also consider a “cost” because we are paying for it with our own environment and believe me we can’t just print more ozone! Now compare all of this to walking, walking to your destination may seem like a lot of work but in comparison to the requirements of owning a car, it is far less time consuming to just walk.

This is a double edged sword and though I don’t currently own a car I am definately a slave to one. I also own and use all of these modern conveniences on a daily basis. Start paying attention to your daily routines and try to imagine what life was like before we had all of these worldly posessions we all value so much. As you are reading this, are you at work? If you are at work, what are you working for? Take a couple of dollars out of your back pocket and just look at them for a while… Now think about what you had to go through to get that money… Now think about what you are going to do with all of that paper if it ever bacomes worthless, are you going to eat it? I’ll bet it tastes like an old mans wallet smells… All the salad dressing in the world won’t make that $20 bill in your wallet appetizing… Oh, and I should mention that a huge chunk of the money in the world only exists digitally so you couldn’t even eat it! How tasty is that ATM card sounding?

As always, I don’t have the answer to my questions, if I did I wouldn’t have to ask them…  And I’m not telling you to quit your jobs as that would be disasterous too. I am just trying to get people to think differently about life…  It’s ok to ask questions, in fact most people would say you have to ask questions to learn. It’s up to you to figure out what questions you will ask, and to whom you will ask them…

 

Question Everything – Chris

 

Inspired by my dad – who was teaching my brother and I to be free thinkers and ask questions long before I realized how important the things that he taught us actually are. He taught us to always have an open mind, and always offerred multiple solutions to every problem. He showed us the beauty of the abstract and the hardships of reality. I rarely listened, but as I have my own life epiphanies I am always reminded of the fact that he was right all along…  I love my mom and dad with all my heart…  And really need to say it and show it more…

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