opinion

Few Trades Men Are Left

It’s a service economy. . We’ve transcended most trades, and replaced them with software, devaluing self-reliance in an substantial way. What do I mean? The days where everyday people possessed the skills to maintain the resources that their lives depended on are very much pastimes. Instead, we rely on – and expect – service providers to handle hiccups. Even when those hiccups are faults of our own.

Think of it this way; your car breaks down. You’re not going to open the hood to check the engine. Neither will you call your neighbor to ask if they can “take a look under the hood”. Cars are no longer just engines, transmissions, and axles of various shapes and sizes. They are computers that operate on proprietary softwares – the culminations of 100 years of innovation in varied industries. Only a handful of people in the world might understand the technology stack that goes into any single tool we rely on. These tools are cars, laptops, cellphones, smart-home systems, and more.

In no way is pointing this out golden age thinking. Quite the opposite, actually. The technologies that are available today make our world a magical place. Magic as is perceived by our own ignorance, being that few of us have any understanding of our life’s infrastructure. We couldn’t expect ourselves to understand – as it’s arguable that sciences have far surpassed any individual’s mental capacity.

All the services provided today, medical, financial, and leisure, have freed us of much that was once an individual’s responsibility. Even with things as basic as cooking, cleaning, and entertainment. Take a moment to reflect on where in life you rely on yourself. Here are a few prompts to help with that.

– When you want dinner, do you go into the kitchen or go on Seemless?
– When you’re bored, do you read a book or browse Netflix?
– When your apartment’s a mess, do you take time to clean or call Handy?
– When you’re ill, do you rest-up or ask a doctor for prescriptions?
– When you have any dispute, do you think of a solution or a lawyer?

Hopefully this pattern’s obvious. When something “is”, what do you do? Make use of your own resources, or someone/something else’s? To what degree do you consider yourself self-reliant? Many of us have become extremely high level operators, completely unable of deconstructing the many layers that we manage. Is this an problem? Who knows. Would we be better off understanding the nuts and bolts of the many resources we take for granted? That’s debatable. What can be cause for concern though is how this paradigm consequentially effects us as people.

“If we hire others to solve our problems we will never learn to do so ourselves.”

It’s easy to accept that when a person has no one to rely on they must rely on themselves. It’s indisputable that, these days, an ‘expert’ for anything is one click away. If you have an itch, there is some person or company ready and willing to scratch it – paid or unpaid. But when all is sorted and fixed, what was the true cost? The learning opportunity that comes from having to carry your own weight – which if everyone had to do, obesity may not be such an issue…

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