Our Society’s Obsession with Simple

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m a skeptical person. If someone tells me that moon dust will cure my allergies, I’ll be hopeful but will wait for the data.

I’m also trained in media analysis so every once in a while I’ll see something that makes me wonder why. Today I saw a Lays truck that was designed to look like an old fashioned potato truck.

It’s a common technic in advertising. It gives the viewer an association with something classic, natural, simple, and/or unprocessed. It’s the reason McDonalds runs ads about their eggs being local and toilet paper almost always has a nature theme. It’s the reason JenEric Coffee uses craft bags for packaging.

But why? Why are we so obsessed with what is natural and simple?

Despite the amazing increases in life expectancy and quality, people still have fantasies about the “good old days.” It’s definitely not a new thing; the Romantics worshiped the medieval period and wanted a return to nature. The classicist wanted the same with the classic period, etc.

In my opinion, it’s a combination of fear of change, nostalgia, and impotence.

We are afraid of change as people; I get really angry when my favourite shampoo is changed or unavailable. We like things the way we do and we don’t like losing control of the change.

Nostalgia paints everything in a wonderful light. Just take the paleo diet as an example. It’s the healthiest way to eat… unless you remember that they died at an age younger than most of us graduate high school. It’s also what makes re-watching certain movies and tv shows so painful or why people love to hate reboots.

There is a special kind of feeling that comes from not being able to work a new piece of technology. It gets worse if you try to understand exactly how it works. Most of us are specialized in our fields and don’t have the energy or ability to be experts in everything. That leaves us feeling impotent.

 

When you next see something and your gut reaction is to reject it because it’s too complex, processed, or confusing, take a moment to wonder why you feel like that and then decide if you’re being reasonable. Not all simple things are good, not all complex things are good.

If you are aware of your bias, you can start to watch for people who prey on your fears for their own gain.

 

Later days,

Éric

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Screens, Screens Everywhere!

Hello My Imaginary friends,

I hope you enjoyed last week’s instalment of Only Human. If you haven’t been reading the serial story, go check it out.

I’ve had a crazy busy day this morning at work. I work for the government and they have recently started upgrading our equipment. It means big changes in the way we work. For one thing I no longer have the time to nap when my computer boots up. It actually boots in under 5 minutes. So weird!

It also means that older, and now more expensive, equipment is being phased out, particularly landlines. Who would have imagined that cellphones would someday be cheaper for offices than landlines? Seriously weird!

Unfortunately with better tech comes better firewalls and that means I can no longer load TV shows onto my computer to watch while I work. For that reason I started bringing my personal tablet to work. I work way better with something playing in the background.

Because I’m a web/print designer I have two large screens. When they upgraded the computers they choose Microsoft Tablets. Surface Pro 3 I think. It has a dual core i5 and 4 gigs of ram, which is awesome for the government.

One of the interesting side effects of the Surface is that you can use it as a second, or in my case third, screen.

So for those of you counting at home, I now have 6 screens at my desk. My two work monitors, work computer, work phone, personal phone, and personal tablet.

I personally think all these new technologies are exciting and will ultimately help me do my work more efficiently. I love new tech but it’s really funny to see all this stuff on a desk designed for 1 CRT monitor.

We’re also moving to newer more modern offices which will be exciting. I’ll finally be able to work standing up, which I hear is better for you.

So in short, lots of screens.

What tech would help make your work more efficient?

Later days,

Éric

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