March 28th : many things happened on this day in history, but one less dramatic event caught my mind’s eye.
March 28, 1797 – Nathaniel Briggs patented a washing machine.
So what, you say. So many machines before and a whole lot more after, it’s a big yawn,
Evermore, we are not the drivers of machines but their slaves. If you ride public transportation or fly on planes, (machines) you will note that almost everyone is glued to their phones, (machines) and while we transport, it’s the machines that own us all the way.
We are located there, but we are not there. We are in our machines, increasingly serving their agendas, born largely of the greed or interests of other users.
Granted, this is an enslavement at will. The forced uses notwithstanding, (services and connections that don’t exist outside the world of the machines) we signed onto these dependencies ourselves.
I like my computer and especially email and WORD for my daily work. I like listening to recorded music, even if live music is often better. I’m as slavish to the mechanical world as anyone.
But something about it continues to cause me a low-level itch. What, I wonder, would it be like to cut all but the natural world out of my days if only for a few days?
I think about it, but short of taking rare Internet breaks I don’t do it.
Got to go and “do” the laundry now. I mean, my washing machine will do the doing, and I will sit here watching a concert given long ago and recorded on a machine.
©By Ken Benner
I've definitely noticed the increased time I spend on my phone--just a few minutes ago, I downloaded another app. I'd be lost without my computer AND my clothes washing machine.
Going on meditation retreats without any electronic devices is a great way to remove oneself from machines. I am refreshed from the experience and realize life goes on without phones and computers. A hike without phone. A swim. There are many ways to pull the plug. I know I need to so I can feel myself moving at a human body pace rather than a nano-second digital race. It’s akin to giving oneself a sabbath.
The Shabbat/Sabbath analogy is perfect. For once, I don't feel sorry for observant Jews who feel commanded to unplug on the seventh day. A lot of wisdom in traditions.
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