June 13, 2012

A Little Inconvenience Is Good

Inconvenience Store
Sometimes I jokingly call our home the 'house of inconvenience'. We are in no hurry, so don't have the need for time-saving conveniences. We think that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing slowly and mindfully.

Things are more difficult, but are also more meaningful. We are joyful, active participants in our increasingly self-reliant lifestyle. We enjoy the benefits of our thoughtful, inconvenient life.

Conveniences have been grossly oversold to the public. If life is so busy that I have to take the convenient route to compensate, perhaps what I need is a less busy life.

It's not natural to expect to be able to proceed through life with little effort or difficulty. Life is hard, and perhaps should be (within reason) for optimal human functioning. Humans, in our natural state, are curious and like a challenge - it keeps us interested and focused.

If you want the easy life, there will always be someone willing to sell you something that will, "make life better".

But there will also always be trade offs and unintended consequences. There is no shortage of examples of conveniences gone wild. 

-Keyless entry cars
"Touted as a convenience and car safety measure on over 150 new models, the key-less ignition has been linked to two carbon monoxide-related deaths in Florida and one in New York, where the feature led drivers to unknowingly leave their cars running overnight in attached garages as they were enveloped in the deadly gas." 
- Fast foods
"Fast food restaurants are extremely tactful and strategic in attracting customers. Their various forms of marketing practices draw consumers in, making them utilize a window for service, eat deep-fried foods, and receive large portions. The industry conducts a successful, yet health-harming business because they are preying on consumers’ needs for convenience."
-Synthetic clothes
"The micro fibres of easy wash, quick drying, low iron, synthetic clothes go down the drain and eventually end up in coastal marine habitats.

Marine biologists report that microplastic, comprised of fibres less than 1mm in length, is accumulating in marine habitats and shorelines throughout the world. They suggested that polyester and acrylic fibres from wastewater are a major source of this contamination. A single synthetic garmet, the study found, can yield more than 1,900 microfibers per wash."

Our conveniences have serious consequences.

Taking the perceived path of least effort degrades our quality of life. Every year conveniences are responsible for outright killing.

It would seem that a little inconvenience is good for you.

Why else would people go camping? Or bake their own bread? Or cook meals from scratch? Or ride their bike to work? Or paint an original rather than do a paint by number?

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