Technology May Not Be the Future

First written November 26, 2012

It seems that a lot of people think that technology is the way of the future – and that 50 years from now, we may use more powerful and advanced computers, flying cars, etc. I used to feel similarly – until around November 2005 when I learned of a concept called Peak Oil, which very well may change the way we live. The problem with Peak Oil, I learned, is not just that we will run out of gas for cars – but the lack of cheap oil may affect many, many other areas of our industrial lifestyle, as many things are derived from petroleum like plastics, medicines, etc.

Around November 2005, for whatever reason, I discovered a now defunct site by Matt Savinar called Life After the Oil Crash (or LATOC). Granted, I never got around to reading the whole thing, but what I did read revealed that our industrial lifestyle is in big trouble and that even alternatives to oil likely will not help much. For me, the scariest part of the site was that I thought Matt didn’t seem to think there was much hope for preserving electricity – even on a small scale.

The thought of living in an electricity-free world depressed me, and I sought answers on the internet for these problems. I sought viable solutions to replace oil. But at the same time, I also accepted the possibility of a crisis post Peak Oil. Regardless of whether or not we would ultimately live in an electricity-free world, I knew we were in for problems. I wanted to prepare for it as best I could. As a teenager, I hoped that I would have some farmland as an adult, grow my own food, and get my own power from solar power or whatever – and try to remain somewhat isolated from the rest of the chaotic world. Sadly, I have yet to accomplish any of these tasks.

Nonetheless, the concept of Peak Oil has made me accept that our industrial society may not continue, and I’ve been mentally preparing for the worst. I’ve been putting more faith in mechanical objects, like typewriters, bicycles, etc. that don’t require electricity but still can perform tasks faster and more efficiently than humans. I have been planning to print out many pictures and stories I have saved on the computer, as I fear someday, we may no longer have access to files. I also embrace the return of record players and other mechanical musical instruments that can play sounds and music without tape players, CD players, etc.

In a way, I’ve come to embrace a powered-down lifestyle. Things would be just like in the 19th Century – a lot more slower-paced and calm. It’d be nice to live in the forest or countryside and enjoy the calmness of nature. Granted, at the same time, I do like electronics and don’t want to see electricity completely go away, but I still kind of like the idea of a more slower-paced society.

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Updated Monday, November 26, 2012