As we move into an age of rapidly growing technology and scientific advancements it might benefit us to evaluate where we place value in our society and how misplaced value; over-valuing some aspects of society and undervaluing others; can have a crippling effect on our society.
Increasingly we hear warnings that America is overweight. Statistics show that in 2009 there were 9 states that had more than a 30% obesity rate. 19 more states are over 25%. The only state below 20% was Colorado at 18.6%. Washington D.C. came in at 19.7%, but of course it is a district and not a state.
Our society is geared more and more to promote a sedentary lifestyle. Every day something new emerges to make life easier or to keep us in front of the TV or computer screen, taking the effort out of more and more of the daily tasks that serve the secondary purpose of moving us around and making us work. Often it is the need to save time rather than a conscious effort to avoid work, but the end result is the same. We trade time spent doing something to time spent watching something. Sports give ground to video games. Movies and reality shows provide our thrills, rather than our own adventures hiking or skiing or river rafting.
Our exercise machines now do the work while you just hold them or sit on them or stand on them! Isn’t the point of exercise to increase your activity? How much aerobic benefit can there be to holding a vibrating stick?
The real key to the solving the sedentary trap of technology seems is in education. As we focus upon the rapidly advancing technology and sociological fields we are forgetting the importance of some of the more basic tenets of a growing and expanding population.
In order that the proper balance between supply and demand is kept we have to value the basic needs of life and those who choose to spend their lives providing for those needs. Doctors, physicists, computer programmers and designers, game designers, politicians, financiers, and all the highly valued professionals need to have a network of farmers, manufacturers, producers, ranchers, fisherman, etc. to make their lives possible.
At some point, all technology fails. The more we rely on technology, the more we set ourselves up for disaster depending upon what fails. If we want to know the real value of the more labor intensive professions such as farming or trucking or ranching, ask yourself who would need to learn new skills to survive in a post-technology environment? Who would need to re-invent if the electricity went out?
We need to educate ourselves to care for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. We, as a society, are at a point of decision.
If we continue to neglect our physical well-being, our mental health also suffers. We are created as well-rounded and self-sufficient beings. Sitting in front of a computer or a gaming system or a TV is a choice that we are certainly entitled to make, but does little to increase our contentment or sense of self-worth.These things are fine in moderation, but the stimulus around us pushes us away from the ability to improve or to entertain ourselves. We rely increasingly upon others to bring meaning and relevance to our lives. Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean that you should. Just ask the Congressional Democrats.