The Need For Adversity

Sometimes when I walk into my comic book store, I’m asked if I have a ‘pull list’ with them. For those who are unaware, a pull list is a list of comics you want set aside so you can just pick them up when you arrive. Now I see the logic behind this. People want to come in, get their stuff and go. That’s fine and if that’s your thing, God bless. As for me, I usually turn down the offer. I tell them I like the hunt, and I do. I love to search through the titles and find my prey. Sometimes I even discover something new or find something unexpected. The randomness o f the unknown is too much of a temptation for me.

This got me to thinking about society in general. When I was growing up, we had to wait until the next week to see the following episode of our favorite shows. Now we can binge the entire season in an afternoon. We would have to wait days, sometimes weeks, for items we ordered through a catalog. Now you get your Amazon order the next day. Same day in some cases. We have grown to resenting a wait. We’re always looking for ways to make things come faster. We want it now and we want it perfect. Why the rush? What happened to the joy of anticipation? I know it seems like torture to have to wait, but that’s when you truly savor the experience and that makes getting what you want even sweeter and more fulfilling. Being able to get whatever you want on demand is like empty calories and the satisfaction fades away so quickly.

I think, as a species, we require adversity. We honestly crave it and by trying to eliminate it, we’re losing a basic part of ourselves and I also see how this can affect the real world. Look at what eBooks have done. It’s easier, cheaper and faster to buy a digital book, but where have all the bookstores gone? I don’t see any new ones opening. Those jobs are gone and are never coming back. I’m not saying digital books are alone to blame, but you can’t say they weren’t a component of the situation. I mean, look at the music industry. Now that we can buy music digitally, music stores have gone extinct as well. Even some stores l like Best Buy and Target are shrinking their music selections or eliminating them all together. We need to be challenged, even in these urban environs. Our hunting instinct still exists, but it has no outlet. I think that’s why some people are ‘shoppers’. They enjoy the hunt, but instead of food, they’re hunting for bargains. I believe this because I know when I am out for something, I will not stop until I get it. I have spent entire days tracking down my treasures not intending to go to such lengths. It’s a drive in me that goes beyond rational thought. It’s instinct. A hunger for some kind of satisfaction and when I find my ‘prey’ I am happy. I feel as though I have accomplished something. I’ve been know to collect those Pop Vinyl figures and while I do purchase many of them online, there are times I go out and seek out some of the harder to find ones and when I do find them, the satisfaction is noticeably higher for me. I could have stayed home and ordered them online, but being out in the world and finding it myself was a  much richer experience. Quicker and faster is not exactly better. I know many would disagree, but it’s true.

Picture a world where everything is yours the second you want it. You don’t have to wait until that new movie comes out, you can just watch it online now. You can shop for your groceries online and have them delivered. You don’t have to wait for anything or go out for any reason. You get to just sit on your ass all day long while people bring you things and you download whatever you want online. This is not how we were designed to live. I’m not saying innovation is evil, but I think it needs to be restrained. It may seem archaic in some cases, but I don’t think we should be trying to make EVERYTHING so easy. We have to work for it a little bit. Someday we’ll have robots making all of our cars, serving us food and movie theaters will be a thing of the past, and that will pretty much deep six the entire entertainment industry, believe me, it will. All we’ll be left with is YouTube videos and whatever homemade crap people are still uploading. I don’t know about you, but I see the way things are going and I don’t want it. I long for the days before the internet and before same day delivery. I honestly believe having to wait and learning to be patient made better people. Kids are now growing up in a world where they get what they want right away and look at them. Over-privileged douchebags who spend their days developing apps so they can sell them to Google for a billion dollars before they graduate high school. Life is getting so mushed up and warped around. We’re losing the foundation and it’s all falling apart.

I know this isn’t going to change anything, but hopefully if someone actually reads this, they’ll at least walk away with something to think about.

Technology

Okay. Am I the only one sick of all the phone commercials that use the sentimental music and emotional moments to sell their product? I hate how these companies try to pawn their garbage onto us by trying to manufacture some emotional link with us and their product. It’s a  phone! Just a damn phone. I feel like they are trying to appeal to our sentiment in order to sell us something that ultimately pulls us further apart. While I will admit the features and capabilities of todays phones allow us to communicate in ways that we never dreamt of before, but the way we abuse it seems to be breaking away the last few strands of our society. We settle for a text over a conversation. It’s okay to miss your kids recital now because your wife can Skype it for you or you can watch it later on Youtube. We’re getting to a point where we can literally put off living because we can experience it later online. Alone. The magic of such moments comes from the fact that they are shared experiences and that cannot be duplicated anywhere or anyhow.

I love the new tablets for kids now too. Get your kid glued to that screen now because that’s their destiny. They should learn to start living the digital lifestyle at the earliest age possible. Maybe one day we’ll be able to insert a micro-tablet into the womb. They will be able to record their time inside and have a record of their pre-birth. And the best part of the kid tablets is that they have a feature that will shut it down on them after so much time. That’s great! Now parents don’t have to be torn from their tablets to do their parental duty. The technology will do it for them. Pretty soon you won’t even have to deal with your kid until it’s time to pay for college. It’s no wonder every generation pulls further away from human interaction. We seem to be constantly trying to find new ways to eliminate the human element from every facet of life. Am I the only one who sees the flaw in this? I mean, as humans we need face to face contact. We are a social race. It feels like it has finally happened. All the nerds that got picked on and spent their lives avoiding bullies have grown up and taken over and are creating a society where the technology that was their only friend takes the lead and humans are becoming an expendable element. I’m no technophobe, but I believe we don’t need to be so addicted to it. I also see the irony of saying this in a blog posting, so don’t bother bringing that up. I think my point is  best illustrated in my book ‘Machine’. http://www.amazon.com/Machine-Jason-K-Melby/dp/1490488146/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1380305774&sr=8-5&keywords=jason+k+melby

It is set in another time where a society’s dependence on technology has driven them underground and they struggle to maintain society. I think that story states my point of view on the whole issue better than anything, and with the growing dominance of technology in our culture, I dare say it is extremely relevant for these times. Check it out. Okay. Commercial over.

Just keep in mind while technology is a blessing, it can be a curse and when they start installing computers in coffins, you know we have gone too far.