I have no idea how most of the things that I rely on everyday work. It’s a mystery to me how my electric kettle boils my tea and how my phone sends texts. I know how to operate these items but I couldn’t build one. I find I am becoming increasingly accepting of the fact that not knowing is just “the way it is.”
My elderly family member complains to me about not understanding her new smart TV. She presumes that all of us younger folks “get” technology and I have to explain to her time and time again that we’re all as lost as she is. We learn how to work something to the level that is necessary for us to do what we want with the item, and then we don’t give it another thought … until it breaks down.
We Know Less And Less
Needing to fix a washing machine or a car used to be a mechanical problem but increasingly these items are computerized and beyond the help of a wrench and some DW-40. (Obviously, I also know nothing about mechanics). With the advent of self-driving cars, even the skills to move a vehicle along the road will become unnecessary. Many North American drivers no longer know how to shift gears thanks to automatic gear shifts. Backing up the car without a rearview camera is a skill lost on many new drivers today. The next generation of drivers will not know how to put their foot on the accelerator and steer. With the addition of each piece of technology, we move further and further away from understanding how something works.
We Used To Understand Our World
In a time before the industrial revolution**, most people understood how the tools and processes that they used worked. If they didn’t build tables, they saw a carpenter create one out of wood. They saw flour being milled and baked into bread. They were able to see folks creating cloth from wool or other locally sourced materials. They understood the processes used to create the things in their lives. They were more self-sufficient . Perhaps they had more satisfaction in their lives because they understood it better?
Helpless When My Stuff Breaks
How does it feel to not know how most things work? I feel quite helpless when the washing machine breaks. I have no idea where to begin to fix it or even what might be wrong with it. I only know that I can’t use it. It’s now a big metal sculpture that I’m not fond of in my laundry room. I rely on someone with specialized knowledge of washing machines to come and fix it and make it useful again. If you’ve got specialized skills and are able to fix stuff, I really appreciate you.
What has this got to do with passions?
Finding that thing or those things that really interest you, gives you the opportunity to unlock one of the mysteries of your universe. As you learn more about carpentry, or singing or computer programming, you will gain understanding about how something that you use everyday works. That’s unlocking the feelings of mastery, accomplishment and appreciation. Feelings that make life special.* I encourage you to take a course, check out YouTube, read a book, whatever it takes to pursue your passion and find out how some of the things in your world work. I’m unlocking the mysteries of turning string into things. I find it fascinating, but maybe ice sculpting or washing machine repair is more your thing. Enjoy!
- * https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/the-mind-body-benefits-of-learning-a-new-skill
It is perhaps an achievable challenge to learn how something works..ramping up a bit of cognitive growth or re lighting.
I have decided to learn what I can add to soups to make them more interesting based on the science of cooking.I can do this! Maybe not thrilling to many but it is a win win. New thinking….tastier soups.
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