by FullOfFire on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 7:59pm
So, after days like today and years like the last 365.25 days and periods of time like the last 2 years, I have concluded that man was not designed to thrive in what we now know as modern society. Why is that? It’s too fast and there are no seasons. God says in Ecclesiastes that there is a day and time under heaven for everything. We see all throughout Scripture and all throughout the history of the earth that the “natural order” is to live in seasons and cycles. This promotes high productivity, times of rest, times for family, times for healing and regeneration and many other times as we can see. As a man who supports technology and users of said technology for a living, I have finally realized why the burnout rate for Information Technology staff is so high. Each day is pretty much the same and there is never a season of rest. We go from one crisis to another and one project to another.
In an agrarian society, in general, spring is for planting, summer is for growth, harvest and planting, fall is for harvest and preparing for winter and winter is rest and planning for the year to come. Since winter is a time of rest from hard labor, thoughts and efforts turn to lighter things and creativity is given its head and is let run. This is healthy, wholesome and exactly the way we are supposed to live life.
Compare such an existence to typical modern society: we get up early, rush to work while guzzling fast food or something far removed from a healthy meal, get to work and do something that is usually important to someone else on someone else’s schedule and means little in light of world events. We eat a nutritionally poor lunch at our desk while working behind a computer, processing large amounts of data from all around us and then go home in which we do much of the same. We get home, eat a meal in front of the TV in the hopes that we can forget about how much we have to do tomorrow and then collapse into bed, exhausted.
Now, I understand that not everyone lives like this. Unfortunately, I have discovered as of late, that middle-class America is much like earlier rich societies. While it sounds great that we have our own “castles” and luxury, we don’t realize what it takes to maintain the lifestyle that only the very rich could afford. Our everyday lives are filled with grounds to be kept (servants used to do that), money to be made (artisans, craft workers and landowners with workers used to produce piecemeal) and luxurious entertainment while consuming rich foods. Realize that gout used to be a rich man’s disease
Take a look at many weddings in our modern society. In many cases, 4+ month’s wages is spent on clothing, food and entertainment for a large group of people the people getting married don’t really know. We all dress up and put on appearances for people who will look at us weird for not dressing to the nine’s for an occasion that lasts a few hours in a building that is opulent for little reason. We then take that lavish and highly expensive event and make it the major event of a couple’s marriage and then leave that couple to fend for themselves in a predatory and hostile world that is sharply against the very concept of marriage itself.
Now, having said all that, know this: I have nothing against technology and comfort. I got into technology because I love systems and how they work. I also enjoy work and relaxation in front of a TV. I love that we get to own our own property and have the ability and resources to better ourselves, our lives and the lives of those around us. I love that marriage is so important to people that they will go far to make it as memorable to everyone as possible. I just don’t love the pace at which we push ourselves.
All I ask is that you consider your lives in the scope of history and don’t repeat the mistakes of recent history. Spend time with your loved ones. Make money doing something you love and that glorifies God. Give some of your money and time for eternal causes. Live a seasonal life or you will burn out. Realize that the most important area of productivity is not productivity at work but rather that the fields are ripe for harvest now. Slow down and look for interesting things going on around you instead of what’s being presented by people you don’t know. Rest and relax when it’s time but don’t rest and relax too much; work is a blessing and a function of our design. Stop filling your heads with so much information and start filling your hearts with good relationships, memories and eternity.
This blog has turned into something that I did not intend but it has been somewhat cathartic for me. I just hope my rambling made sense.