It feels like everyone is hustling and bustling these days, crossing their I’s, dotting their T’s, and removing the umlauts from their U’s. It’s hard to escape the sense that the world’s gone mad.
Even places that are supposed to be oases from the hubbub don’t feel peaceful anymore. It seems like you can’t even step into the shower without being pelted by hot globules of water about the neck and face.
Screens seem to be everywhere, shouting the latest news and advertisements at you. With all the external stimulation, I can’t find a minute to calm down and just focus on myself and my raging anxiety about the meaninglessness of existence.
I yearn for simpler times. When books were your entertainment, the village square was your social network, and Windows 95 was your default operating system.
It was a time when your fate wasn’t determined by a bunch of bankers in some far-off financial capital, but by the whims of your local high priestess. We didn’t have to bring in the lawyers to decide every little dispute. Justice was a simple matter between two duelists, their seconds, and the inhabitants of a secluded, lawless island.
We used to be connected to the natural world, and life’s rhythms varied with the seasons. In spring, you’d drink fresh cream, straight from the cow’s udders. In summer, hot cream, straight from the udders. In fall, cream, covered in leaves, from the udders. And in winter, ice cream, straight from the grocery store, eaten next to a cow. Man knew his place in those days: wherever the cow, in its unmistakable hoof-scratch, had scrawled the word “Man.”
In those days, we made things, and we had a tactile connection to our work. The feel of the ax used to chop down the wood to build the store. The smell of fresh paint on the sign that read FELDMAN’S BEAD STORE. The jangle of the coin your neighbors pulled together to invest in the venture. The smooth stones of the debtors’ prison.
Now, with computers and smartphones, you can’t escape your work for even a minute. You know that phrase, “I need a vacation from my vacation?” The copywriter who wrote that died at his desk on a beach in Maui.
It’s not that it’s impossible to find moments of clarity. Sometimes, when I’m meditating in my Relaxall Model X At-Home Infrared Sauna, I realize I shouldn’t have let that bastard salesman talk me out of the Model Y. But those moments are few and far between.
Yup, the world keeps moving a million miles a minute. And astronomers are working double-shifts to prevent it from spinning out of orbit.