Fast Company--December 1999--Timm Ringhofer : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

So Cool, So Digital, So Miserable by Polly Labarre Fast CompanyDecember 1999 Timm Ringhofer

This article caught my eye because the title made me wonder what the article was all about. Once I started reading the article, I found it to be quite interesting.

The article started with three facts about life here in the United States and then asked three questions about those facts. The first fact was: We are living an era of unprecedented value creation and innovation. The question about this fact was: If were making so much progress, how do we account for so much fear of destruction. In 1992, 1500 scientists, including most of the living Nobelists, signed a Warning to Humanity. Two years later, 58 word academics of science released a similar document that warned that population growth, overconsumption, and economic expansion are destroying the Earths irreplaceable natural capital.

The second fact was: Americans have the highest standard of living on the planet, characterized by convenience and staggering abundance. The question: If our quality of life is so evolved, why are so many people scrambling to simplify and downshift their lives?"

The third fact was: Were living in an era of dizzying individual freedom, control, and choice. People have never been more free to invent the kind of life they want to lead; consumers have never had more information and direct access to companies. The question: If things are so good, why do we feel so bad? Since the 1940s, worldwide rates of major depression have risen steadily in every age group. The United States has a higher rate of depression than that of almost any other country, and data show that as Asian countries Americanize, depression rate increase accordingly.

These three facts and three questions really made me sit back and think about my life and the lives of the people around me. I grew up on a dairy farm and believe that I know about a simple life and hard work. However, it always seemed like we were trying to modernize and try to do everything better, bigger, and faster. In the end, all it seemed like we got was more stress and further behind. This is exactly the point the article was trying to make. My family bought a computer in December. It was supposed to help my family get connected to the Internet, entertain, and help me get my school work done at home. What it did was create arguments over who was going to use the computer, waste time playing the games, and have people send us useless e-mailings to read. This left little time to have quality time as a family. So what was supposed to make our lives easier, ended up taking time away.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2000

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