The Economist’s cover hit it again.

What problems do we have that need solving?

What problems do we have that need solving

The article went about the fact that inventions occur at a much slower pace than before.
Not only, inventions fare poorly in terms of their usability compared to the loo.
You won’t get sick without a cell phone, or a smart phone, or a nano gadget, but just imagine if everyone did their sh*tty business on the street or in holes and pits like back in the dark ages.
While toilets solved problems like sanitation, mobile phones probably spurted more issues than solved any.
The article got me thinking about the inventions of today and the fact that they overlap in their objectives and usability.
We produce more of the same.
We have the prototype of something that for business purposes we sell with half its functions so that in six months time we can re-sell the same thing with the remaining functions.
Just look at the generation of smart phones.
All the same function, yet, ‘new generation’ versions pop up before you’ve even learned how to use your first one.
That’s no invention to me.
Unless you count invention of how to make more money out of the same product – that’s genius.

An invention is usually a solution to a problem.
I asked myself, what problems Western societies have today.The first three things that I saw as “problems” were: overindulgence, multitasking, disconnection.

Thank God we have the loo.
We are a consumer society.
Our own weapon of destruction is consumption.
The more we consume the more we want, the more we produce, the even more we consume and we clutter ourselves like hoarders.
We stuff ourselves like Christmas turkeys.
We congest the air with our overproduction and overconsumption.
We gorge, we gobble, we scram.
We overeat, we overdress (ok, depending on the event…or the profession), we overbuy; uncontrollably, we want of this, of that, of everything, in quantities, in season, every season.
Now, instantly, all the time.

Media constantly bombard us with messages of how to look better, live healthier, spend more, deserve the best, have this and that, strive for excellence. Because we’re just not good enough.
We become preoccupied with what we don’t have (as opposed to what we do).
We feel more depressed.
We get more stressed.
We have so much of everything that we don’t have enough time to dedicate to each (over)indulgence.
That’s why we multitask.

We multitask our lives just to get what the media tells us we “need” and “deserve”, as quickly as possible.
We eat while we text someone (who isn’t at our table, obviously), while thinking about our meeting that’ll be held in an hour, while clenching muscles to hold our pee, while planning the dinner party for next weekend.
We talk to our partners while planning our grocery shopping at the back of our minds.
We listen to our boss’s future plans while reading an email from our kid’s principal, while checking out the latest in vogue on the iPad.
We study while listening to music.
We dream while sleeping.
We breastfeed while reading a book, while trying to calm down another two toddlers (ok, that’s me), who get very frustrated because of your super divided attention.
We multitask our lives away with our minds and hearts all over the place and not attached to any one thing in particular.

We are a society, and probably breed one as I type, that lives for what is to come, not for what is now.
We skip the moment we’re in now, by thinking of how to get to the next moment – that other, better one.
We buy a dress that already loses our attention because we already think of the next item that we need.
We spend our vacation thinking about work that awaits our solutions.
We try to read a few lines from a book while we mind our children in the park.
We talk on the phone with someone whom we’ll be meeting in a couple of days, while our present company awaits, overindulging on his own distracting thoughts.

We live for the future and obsess about things that haven’t occurred yet, while missing those that are now, at this moment, at the time we’re physically present.

Those who don’t feel that way, well done.
But for those who feel they fall into this category of a distracted, overindulging, multitasking weirdo, I have a solution/invention: the electric collar.
Yes, like the dog collar that keeps the creature from running away.
Sadistic, I know.
Invented already, yes.
For people – not really.
Useful – I’d bet it will be, almost as much as the loo.

But think about it, it might actually work.
The moment the collar detects that you multitask, get disconnected from your current point, or want to overindulge, bam – you get electrocuted.
Depending on your craving, level of detachment, and number of tasks you perform at the same time.
And I’d put these collars on every member of the family!
The good thing about these collars is that you can market them well – as an accessory.
I’m sure some smart companies will come up with wonderful ideas – where you can have collars with diamonds encrusted on them.
Chanel collars!
Fur collars for skiers.
Love collars for Valentine (don’t you dare think of anyone else while we’re on a romantic dinner!)
Imagine going for collar shopping: “two of these toddler size, please, and one for my husband XXL in black! And, can I have a pair of these stilettos in size 37?”…bzzzzzz…”sorry, no, just the electric collars, that’ll be all, yes.”

Our minds and bodies and souls need some sort of sanitation – what would be the solution to that?
The loo has already been invented.

One thought on “inventions

  1. I love reading The Economist. Inventions are occurring at a slower pace because all of that has happened at such a fast pace, that there is nothing more to do but enhance what we already have. Nothing is ‘new’ anymore, there’s only ‘improved’. I totally agree with what you’ve said about our society becoming disconnected even though the technology that has been developed has been marketed as making us more connected. Crazy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s