I was watching a documentary a while back that shared an interesting reality: People alive today clean their houses just as many hours as they did back before modern technology (vacuum cleaners, etc.) was available. The only difference? Our houses are cleaner.
On one hand, that’s nice, isn’t it? Living in a clean home certainly has its benefits.
But on the other hand, what gives? We find more efficient ways to clean, and our response is not to enjoy the extra free time that spares us but to raise the bar for what a “clean” house is? Wow.
I see that a lot with new tech. Advances are supposed to help us, make life better, easier. But what do we do with that easier life? We simply readjust the challenge ratings. No one really wins.
At this point in my life, I’ve been in dozens of immaculate homes where the hosts apologize profusely for how it looks. Because in their own minds, the incredibly clean home I’m visiting is not clean enough. It never will be. That’s how it works.
And not just with vacuum cleaners either.
We think of modern tech as big timesavers. Heck, half the stuff out there explicitly calls itself “productivity tools.” And that sounds great, doesn’t it? We all want to be more productive, don’t we? Especially if it doesn’t come with a lot of hassle. It would be great to be able to do just a bit more. To best our past selves, yeah?
But these days I’ve started seeing these sorts of pitches, and I find myself wondering — will I really really be more productive? Or is this some kind of insidious trap? Will I find myself one day having raised the bar so high it’s like this new tech doesn’t exist?
Shouldn’t there be a point where it’s enough to live a good life, even if you haven’t squeezed every last drop out of it that you can?