A Mystical Simplicity

“Rethink Possible”

AT&T got it right when they introduced their new slogan telling people to rethink possible.  Today we live in a world that is more technologically advanced than anyone ever dreamed was possible.  The lines of todays technologies have reached new levels that have proven that technology has no limitations, and virtually anything and everything is possible.  However, this was not always the case. Long ago, it used to be simple:  you had to have wings to fly and a horse to communicate over long distances.  As time has come and gone, not only have we proven these statements wrong, but we have gone above and beyond to make technology better, faster, and easier to use.  The video below is a good example of how technology has improved and is still improving today.

Lately in English class, we have been learning about the ideas of the pastoral and how they relate to our lives.  Pastoral is an attitude that relates to the country side or pasture life.  When you think of pastoral, you may think of pastures and the countryside.  You also think of long fields of grass and land consumed by animals such as sheep or cattle and their shepherds close by watching them.  In  these thoughts, two major ideas of pastoral are brought up.  The first is nostalgia, or a longing for the past or a simpler way of life.  The second idea is mystification and an escape to a better life.  In this post I will discuss how both of these ideas are related to technology.

Ever since the time of the plow, people have dedicated their lives to improving technology.  The purpose of improving technology is to make our lives easier and more efficient.  As a society, we long for the simplicity of life and want everything to be easier.  We have that longing for the life we use to have.  This longing is displayed in an example in the ninth of  Virgil’s Eclogues when Lycidas tries to get Moeris to sing to him but he refuses.

I remember when I was a boy I used to sing

Every long day of summer down to darkness,

And now I am forgetting all my songs;

My voice grows hoarse; I must have been seen by a wolf. (75)

  If you can, think back to your childhood, what was it that you enjoyed the most?  When I was younger, the thing that I enjoyed the most, was not having to worry about anything at all.  All of the bills, jobs, work, and stresses of life were left up to my parents.  All I had to worry about was school.  Once that was over, all I had to do for the rest of the day was hang out with my friends and enjoy life.  Life for me was simple.

This is what technology does for us today; it tries to make our lives easier.  But does it really make life easier?  With all the new technologies out there, I belive that technology only makes aspects of our life easier, but overall, has made life busier than ever.  But what people have failed to realize is that by making technology better and faster, we have not only done the opposite by making life more complicated, we have made a world where we rely on technology.  When we rely on something, it becomes our sense of security and we need that.  To demonstrate this, take a look at part of Psalm 23.

Yeah, though I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23)

In this, David is reliant on God.  Even in the “shadow of death” David put his trust in God.  Without God, he would have been lost.  Also if we take a look at the last line, he talks about how God’s rod and a staff comforts him.  For those who do not know, the rod and staff are the main tools of a shepherd.  If we look at the definition of technology, technology is simply tools that make our life better.  This example relates to how we rely on technology.  Think about it for a minute.  What would you do if you didn’t have your computer, car, or even your cell phone for an entire day.  We have built a world where we would be lost without technology.  Technology is our way of communication, information, and sense of security.  This is the other idea of pastoral.

In my paper I plan on incorporating The Machine in the Garden:  Technology and the pastoral ideal in America by Leo Marx.  I have also found various works that will help me with these ideas that I plan on incorporating.

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5 thoughts on “A Mystical Simplicity

  1. Well, your introduction was a great way be talk about the simplicity of the pastoral and the technological advances of the present day, but as you went on, you seemed to be repeating what has been said in class, for example In class, our professor spoke about remembering how life was so easy back then, when parents did everything for you and you wrote that in your essay. Do not get me wrong, it does tie in well with your essay, but sometimes when the reader sees that a couple of sentences were not of your own creativeness, he/she might assume that the rest of your essay may have the same trait and would be looking for the tendency to plagiarise. But aside that it seems to be a good start and is organized. Goodluck! =)

    • True, one does not want to merely repeat back what was covered in class…but we can accept that this is a starting point, and the ideas will be developed even more. It’s important to make these connections though…good work!

  2. Nice! I am incorporating a lot of what you’re saying into my essay as well. I’m also using Marx as a source for mine. I think we can all relate to the longing for a simpler way of life but also wanting all the technology to help us do that. I like your beginning paragraph and using AT&T’s “rethink possible” to start it off. Great start to your paper.

  3. Good choice of ad campaign. But again, as you proceed, make sure you question some of the ideological hope in the future. What can or will iPhone technology do to other established ways of life, and will these changes be unequivocally positive?

    • I think this is good start! It caught my attention with the at&t quote at the beginning. My topic is also very similar to yours. I want to look at technology and pastoral and how they relate. I’m also using Marx as a reference. I think this topic is very interesting and there are many ways you can write about it. Good start and make sure to stay on topic and try not to repeat yourself.

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