As time progresses, one of the continuing trends I’m becoming more aware of is how what used to be called hippy tree hugging bullshit is finding more and more business relevance.
Take views on sustainability and being green. Ten years ago, recycling was restricted pretty much to paper and cans/bottle recycling. At home, I now have to separate food, plastics, paper, card, glass bottles, and keep separate those that aren’t recyclable in a different bin. Local Councils now mandate that if I don’t do this, they won’t clear away my rubbish. I mean that’s one hell of a nudge if I ever saw one.
Ostensibly, though, these things were being argued about by the environmentalists long before these initiatives were introduced. What helped the cause was a scientific look at the effects of not being environmentally friendly on the planet. Once that became hard to refute, most people and most organisations saw that being environmentally friendly was a good thing.
Mindfulness as a meditative technique has been practised for more time than the Internet has existed and certainly longer than the radio and photography were a thing. And now with modern science we are able to understand that the capacity of the brain to work better when in a calm state and achieve more gives more gravitas to this thing.
Both of the above sound like I’m making a certain point. I’m not.
Because at the same time there are quite the very many who staunchly believe that natural remedies are a better form of medicinal intervention than using modern medicine. That is absolute total and utter nonsense. If that were true, life expectancy of circa anytime before 1800 would have been equal to life expectancy of today. One of the biggest factors that has improved this is that modern medicine can combat most diseases and medical conditions. Not homeopathic remedies, modern medicine. For sure some people will continue to believe in homeopathy because of the ideological resonance. Just as there are those who doubt negative impacts of industrialisation on the climate of the planet.
And there are very many who argue that life was simpler when we didn’t have modern technology. Well, yes. Of course that’s the case. If you have an absence of something, you don’t seek to have it if you never had it. But life being simpler and less excessive is little to do with the availability of modern technology. I wouldn’t give up modern technology for anything. It allows me access to creativity in its many forms from music to drama to art itself to images of the planet we live on. It allows me access to people’s thinking, debate on topics I don’t have the time to think on myself, learning at my fingertips and access to writing I may never know about.
Life wasn’t better in the past because they didn’t have access to or had technology. It isn’t necessarily better now either. Indeed we have excess in most parts of the western world and scarcity in many parts of poorer countries.
Life just is. It will continue to be and it will continue to be better for some and not enough for others. On my train carriage currently, one person has earphones in, one person is sitting with closed eyes, one is sitting with folded arms, and one is on their smartphone. Who’s to say if any of them are living a good or better life than any other?