They Call It Progress...
Sam Burnham, Curator
This world is filled with all kinds of time saving contraptions. They supposedly make our life easier, help us save time, help us get around faster, help us have more time for rest or recreation. But it seems like every advancement brings not only increased efficiency and ease of labor but also the need to do more thereby cramming more effort into the same amount of time.
This used to be a big city phenomenon people would sit in traffic, cut each other off, and honk a lot. Because honking always makes gridlocked traffic move faster.
But it’s not just a big city issue any more. Even in mid-sized towns and suburbs people are in a hurry and impatient. We gotta hurry, gotta rush, can’t be late...even when there is no deadline. Time saving technology means more workload rather than more time. We’re even seeing food deserts form on arable land. People don’t have the time to grow their own food because they have to work more and more to get the money to pay taxes, utilities, and cover other expenses. We build even wider expressways only to have them full in a matter of days.
“They call it progress, but they don’t say where it is going.” - William Faulkner
The South has a history as a land that isn’t in a hurry. It is not uncommon to find stories of people who didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing until the 1950s or 60s. You can still find places with dirt roads in town. Real BBQ takes time, a lot of time. We are world renowned porch sitters, accomplishing nothing visible but yet much more than the eye can see. This is usually seen as a resistance to progress. But as William Faulkner said, “They call it progress, but they don’t say where it is going.”
What is the real goal of the rush, the race, the “progress?” As anxiety and stress related illnesses continue to become more common we keep adding fuel to the fire.
We have ave got to make time to contemplate. We’ve got to reflect. We’ve got to examine ourselves, our goals, and our motivations. Are we making real progress or are we just making changes?
Ponder these things.
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Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire