This week was really busy, as I didn’t have much time to catch up to cooking. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies because unlike other things I make (i.e. drawings), I use my hands, my brain, my eyes, my nose – all my senses – to create something. I am lost in the process as I deeply immerse myself in figuring out how to make something I’ll eventually eat. How to make something taste good while making something nutritious? The processs of making something with your own hands can be really fufilling,
Unfortunately, since our society is going so fast, we really don’t have time to appreciate the process of making our own things. We would like to relax more, or in some cases, do as many things as possible to reach our goals. As a result, we’ve become so busier, focused on going through a fast paced life that simple things like cooking, making things with your own hands, writing instead of typing on a computer (I try to write on a notebook), drawing on a sketchbook, painting, have become neglected.
I only mention this because since a lot of our things, our products are now mass-produced overseas (i.e. China), as our American society has lost the art and craft of making things with our own hands. For some people, it takes too long. It’s inefficient. It’s not worth spending too much time doing as other important things.
But, what is really considered important? While our society has transitioned from, agriculture, manufacturing, then service sectors, I’ve noticed that this transition implies that people are becoming less and less able to make things on our own. We’ve depend a lot on technology to do our own things (especially in service sector). This is why producing our own products have been so devalued. They imply, a slow lifestyle that isn’t entertaining or allow time to relax.
I’m not trying to devalue technology. In fact, technology and man can go hand to hand if done right.
However, whenever I hear American politicians talk about trying to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States (and more STEM fields), I believe that one cannot just encourage companies to start doing these sort of jobs or services in the United States.
It also has to be a mindset that every person in the US has to consider. What can I make today by myself, with my own hands, with the tools I have? Can I sell it? At the same time, am I willing to devote a huge amount of time making these versus doing other stuff (i.e. relaxing, watching TV, playing games on the computer)
Here are some examples of things that seem time-consuming that we take for granted, that we don’t do as much anymore:
inventing objects, making our own clothes/shoes, growing our own food, hunting, cooking really good food that’s unique (versus generic recipies), walking/bicycling/taking mass transit to our own destinations, writing in notebooks, reading actual physical books, drawing (versus using Google SketchUp or AutoCAD), making our own toys.
Simple services have become more complex (i.e. making iPhones) to meet the pace and values of our fast paced world.
To suggest that people become independent enough to make their own things (or work at a job that involves the physical hands-on process of making our own things), conveys a slower pace of lifestyle where there are not many things to do.
The question really is: if we want to go toward a society where we make our own things, are we willing to change our values to live a society where we have a slower pace of life and not many things to do?