In a society, that seeks efficiency above all else, technology towers over the frail human form. Technology can deliver more quickly and with less effort, or wastage. And we humans have become accustomed to being on the receiving end of this fast-paced provider of just about everything from beautiful images on a screen, to instant music, instant movies, instant food, instant love, instant answers to life’s questions...We expect to be instantly gratified with sights, sounds, and tastes. Nothing need wait any longer. But at the same time, many complain about the reckless speed of life: weeks drifting by too quickly; days disappearing; it’s Friday again; another month gone; the years piling up.
To be instantly gratified means to shun activities that take time, discipline, and commitment; we dine out rather than prepare a banquet for friends at home; we watch a movie rather than read a book; we listen to music rather than learn to play an instrument ourselves; we buy bread at the corner store rather than bake; we send an email rather than write a letter; we shop rather than contemplate. We find ourselves opting constantly for the ‘efficient’ option because we just don’t have time to read, play music, bake, write letters, or contemplate.
These activities can wait, we tell ourselves, until we have more time. Once we reach that magical nirvana when time is on our side, then we can pursue such character-building, life-enriching possibilities. But for now, they will all just have to wait. We have emails to check.