When I look at the world around me, sometimes I am completely baffled. It seems like everyone is worrying about getting the newest phones or gaming devices. Or they have to be on every social networking site that there is and be on each one a dozen times a day. And if they can't they panic like it's the end of the world. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Granted I do like having a cell phone, it comes in very handy, especially if my car breaks down or I run out of gas or so I can call and see if I need to pick something up before I come home. The internet and computers are very useful, it lets me work from home so I can both provide for my child and spend more time with her. And I definitely like having electricity and running water no doubt about that. Technology has definitely improved our lives, but sometimes I think it is starting to do the reverse as well. How many people have gotten to the point that they are so dependent on technology that they would have no idea how to live without it?
A Look At Life Before...
Granted I'm not that old but the way people don't seem to know how to take care of themselves without relying on technology scares me. I know what it's like to live with things that most people have no clue about unless they were born before 1950, or earlier. Here's a little background. I'm the youngest of four and I was born in 1984. Not really all that long ago but sometimes it seems like centuries. We split our time between the small town we lived in so us kids could go to school and our family ranch. We spent the summer at the ranch, and would usually go up on the weekends during the school year. It took an hour to get there although it's only about 45 miles from the town we lived in during the school year. Our nearest neighbor was about five miles away. Hahaha, the way my mom used to give directions to get there was "Turn at the county shed and keep going until you get the sinking feeling you are lost. Go over the next hill and you'll see the house.", I still get a kick out of those directions but they were very true.
The house we lived in had been built of logs by my grandfather when he homesteaded up there. it had two bedrooms, a tiny bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen. We had running water most of the time, but if something happened to the pipe from the spring to the cistern we would have to haul water to the house from the spring. To wash the clothes we had to use an old wringer washer that we had to hook a hose up to the kitchen sink and run it outside to the washer to fill it up with hot water. We had a separate tub that we would put the clothes in after they were wrung out so we could drain and refill the washer to rinse them. To dry the clothes we had to hang them on the clothes line in the yard. That was definitely a time consuming process. There was no phone service up there, we had to use a CB or Business Band radio. I couldn't tell you what it was now, but by the time I was two or three I know what our call sign was and how to use it if I needed to. If we were out playing down the canyon or out of yelling distance, the signal to come home for supper, or for whatever, was the sound of three gunshots in rapid succession. Even though there were all kinds of predators out there out there that could have made a snack of me, I was allowed to wander where ever I wanted as long as I had the dog with me to protect me. I was expected to know how to take care of myself even at the age of five, and I did. Most of the time I didn't go to much farther that the fish pond unless my older sister was with me & then we would go down the canyon and pick berries or go into the upper fields to catch the horses so we could ride. Sometimes we would have to go all the way to the far edge of the property and the horses would lead us on a merry chase until they decided they wanted the grain we had to lure them in. Sometimes it only took a couple hours sometimes all day. We didn't have video games or anything like that to entertain ourselves while our parents were working and we were to young to help. I remember making many mud pies and decorating them with watercress and tiny freshwater shrimp and trying to convince the dog to eat them. The TV we had only got three channels and those were sporadic. I can remember my dad and older brothers, when they were home, going out in the middle of a storm to try to fix the antennae that was attached to an old windmill so we could get the news, or at least part of it.
In 1996 the ranch house was burnt down by arson. After a few years we got a log house from a neighbor that we put on a foundation but for one reason or another that was as far as it got. During that time we again had to haul water and use the outhouse. You have no idea how wonderful indoor plumbing is until you have had to get bundled up to go outside in the middle of a snowstorm when it feels like it's thirty below zero so you can go to the bathroom. And then have to endure the cold wind, and sometimes snow, blowing on your bare skin from underneath or through cracks while you did your business as quickly as you possibly could. And after that you still had to trudge back to the house. It definitely gave me a new respect for my ancestors who just did it as a matter of course.
What Jobs Would People Have?
Looking back there are a lot of jobs and knowledge of things that we still have today. Here are just a few:
- Butcher-we still need meat
- Baker-some people know how and some don't
- Grocer-we need someplace to get the things that we can't make our selves
- Farmer-we have to eat
- Doctor-this would probably fall more to the herbalist and holistic healers than doctors as we know them today, although many people would probably learn at least the basics on their own
- Carpenter-we would still need homes and some mode of transportation, not to mention household items
- Weaver/Seamstress/Tailor-most people would probably learn to do this for themselves, but for those in other specialized trades that don't have time they would need to get clothes and bedding somewhere
What others can you think of?
Back To The Present...And Maybe Beyond
Having lived the joys of life before technology, it makes me wonder what would happen if we lost our technology and had to live like that again. Looking at the people around me I wonder, how many of them would survive if they had to hunt their own food, wash their clothes by hand, heat water by the fire to even have hot water, and do all the other things that our great grandparents, and even grandparents and maybe parents, did as a simple matter of daily life. How would people today make it if there were no cellphones (or no phones at all), no computers, no electronics at all? Heck what if there was no electricity and no indoor plumbing that worked either?
I think that some people would be perfectly fine, like life had changed barely at all. Some would not make it. And some that no one would expect it of would find that strength deep within them that they didn't know they possessed and fight tooth and nail to build a life for themselves and their families. I also think that if we had to live like that again and had to depend on ourselves and each other to survive, we would have a lot fewer problems than we do today and we would care a lot more about the people around us. After all, in that situation if you didn't help your neighbors survive you might not either.
In my personal opinion, the world would be a lot better off if everyone had to live like that even just for a year. It would make people face the fact that money isn't everything and that treating others the way you want to be treated regardless of race, nationality, religion, or skin color is one of the most important things we can do. It would force people to take a really deep look at themselves and face the truth of what kind of person they have become, whether they want to or not. It would also show them the true value of life itself.
Here's a question for you.
Questions & Answers
Question: What happens if people lost access to technology this year?
Answer: I think it would depend on the people and how dependent they are on technology. In general, I wouldn't be surprised if it made governments fall, because of the amount of technology that is used to run most countries. As for individuals, I think people in rural areas would be less impacted than those in urban areas due to the differences in culture and dependency on technology. In rural areas, things like loss of power or internet aren't that big of a deal and most people grumble, but just brush it off and go on with life. That isn't the case in more populated, metropolitan, areas where people aren't used to being prepared for such events. A person who knows how to garden will also fair better than a person who doesn't if technology was lost, because of their ability to provide their own food without relying on grocery stores. Resourcefulness and compassion would also play a role in what would happen if people lost technology this year, regardless of the location they are living.