For thousands of years, humans have lived off the land. For the majority of human history, we've lived without any greater technology than tools that enhanced up to one power of our human swing, things like shovels, picks and hammers.
We lived hand to mouth, knowing that if you didn't work, you didn't eat. We knew that personal responsibility was vital to growth, that family came before all else, even the tribe.
We knew that there was a spiritual element to the world -- not merely because we couldn't explain scientifically what seemed so very awesome, but also because the quieter you are to the distractions of technology, the more you can hear the inner whispers of the spirit.
We knew not to sleep around with people we didn't know, and that life isn't guaranteed to be anything. We don't deserve anything merely because we exist.
These are things we've known for most of human history, and while we might disagree on how some of these points might be exercised (different Gods, different worship, different jobs and functions), we agreed they should be exercised.
We also knew how to live off the land -- each of us -- and when we couldn't, we usually knew someone who could.
Most of all? We knew how to be quiet to the long groanings of the Earth beneath us, and we passed on the wisdom of our fathers, who were held in much higher regard the the hot passions of our youth.
We trusted the old people, not merely showed nominal respect when they were around. They were our leaders, for we trusted what they had seen. They kept us alive by learning from their parents who learned from their parents. They knew the cycles of weather that came every 50 years. They knew the flood seasons.
We also used to know that death was as much a part of our lives as birth, and we did not count it immoral or evil to die -- something I think is true today of many people.
We have lost these things to the bright-n-shiny of technology and the new emphasis on the power of youth.
We've lost so very much.
If tomorrow all advanced technology were to disappear, I would venture that the majority of the Earth's population would die within days, if not a week or two. Third-world nations would suddenly become first-world nations. The remote farming communities of Northern China, Nepal, South America, Amish America and other areas won't even notice.
Only those societies which have clung most tightly to the ancient wisdoms will barely notice when the rest of us have disappeared from this Earth, societies which were neither involved with nor cared about global warming, didn't need to be super connected, didn't need instant gratification, didn't expect other people to do for them what they were capable of doing for themselves ...
Those are the people who built today. Even though they don't even sit here to enjoy it, they were the ones who taught their children to work hard, use their minds, engage their souls. Those children went on to do great things, but I wonder if the greatest thing is to realize what you have and stop worrying about what you don't?
I look across my society with with a view of many angles. I'm grateful to enjoy the technology we have, but I also see people working years of long hours chasing after amenities that won't make them happy, to pay for their children to do things that won't bring them happiness, either, to buy toys and hobbies that merely distract from the emptiness in their lives.
I see empty people who live alone, and broken relationships by people who spent more time focusing on themselves than each other.
I see a world that has forgotten the timeless truths that transcended generations, replaced by the Google generation, who know everything and understand nothing. Who have long forgotten that wisdom brings peace and stills the heart while science only demands more answers at every turn. That faith is as vital to the soul as any other form of nourishment.
Who have forgotten that living is a verb, not something you make by going to work.
Will you acknowledge that ancient wisdom is more valuable than modern busy-ness? That the gadgets and studies and cold facts of existence mean nothing if you don't know how to apply them that you might achieve peace in your life? That all your runnings around will bring you to nothing, and at the end, will be emptier in the showing of it?
Embrace the ancient, learn to quiet your soul. You don't have to give up technology in your life, just don't make it the substance of it. Let it be what it always was meant to be -- just an amendment to a life well lived.