Take a look at not more than two hundred years ago and you will find we are living in two distinctive eras. For one thing, everything was manual as compared to now where literally everything is automated. A very glaring example is the world of transportation. Not too long ago we use horses and mules as the mode of transportation. Nowadays we got automobiles, trains and planes that carry passengers by using internal combustion engines. Then there's electricity. With it comes the myriad of applications that makes life so convenient. These include the light bulbs, refrigerators, irons, televisions, radios, and of course the computers.
We had progressed so far ahead that we forgot that only in three to four generations, our lives had been transformed from an agricultural society to an industrialized one. Imagine life without internal plumbing. It is almost indescribable. What about handphones? Can we do away with it for a whole week? I can't fathom that.
Let's take our imagination further. Take it back one thousand five hundred years ago; where war and slavery were rampant. Now consider the average life expectancy was thirty-five max. What sort of life will that be? You can be prosecuted for the slightest reasons. It may be due to not believing in a certain God, or the country you lived in was at war, or merely you were an innocent traveler mugged by bandits. Not only that, the issue of human rights was never a priority. If you were conquered by the invading army and lost, you became a slave.
I am disturbed when watching futuristic movies where often times they showed the future is an apocalypse. Perhaps more than anything else, those storylines attract many viewers. However, to me, I am living in the future and it is well and good. I can't complain about the luxury of a car, a well-refrigerated drink, the ease of washing clothes, the effortless task of communication and many more trivial matters that I can solve daily with technology.
If we are to describe to a pre-industrialized man let alone the one from an ancient civilization the kind of life we have today, definitely he said we had found heaven on earth. I am still marveled by the fact for example, that I can do my regular runs with a Sony Walkman in my ears and a GPS watch on my wrist. What a convenience! This is it... The peak of human achievement, I said to myself. Who else if not for kings and dignitaries in the past, that have the luxury to have world-class singers singing to their ears whenever they desire. To top it up I don't have to check the cumbersome sundial and the mileage markers to know how long and how far I had traveled.
Even if I die and go to heaven, I don't think the experience will beat the one I am encountering right now. Life on earth is good. That is if you choose to make it that way. It is not what you have that makes it wonderful, but rather how you perceive the things around you. Everything is a cause-set-in motion. What I mean by that is your world evolves around your decisions. Make a good decision and the effect is good result. Make a bad decision and you suffer the consequences.
The first choice is to live in gratitude. Be thankful that you live in this present era. You don't have to slog much just for a bucket of water. You don't need to be away for days to put food on your table. Furthermore, you don't have to lose your life for a reason beyond comprehension. Appreciate the simple things around you. Life need not be extravagant in order for it to be endearing.
For the past decade or so I adopted the concept of Voluntary Simplicity. That is to say that I keep my life simple by only sticking to the basics. I avoid excessive spending and live within my means. That also means that every purchase must be justified. For example, I do away with the air conditioner to make way for good old fashion fan. Anytime I started to feel slight discomfort because of the decision, I will remind myself of the people who cannot even afford electricity in their homes.
Voluntary Simplicity is not poverty. It is a conscious decision to not making your life complex beyond what is necessary. It resonates the concept of outwardly poor but inwardly rich. Wherever possible, save money. If I can reduce, reuse or recycle I will definitely opt for it. When you live below your means, then you truly live in abundance.
It's not hard to see that our lives are better than our ancestors. However, often times we forget to count our blessings. We are constantly in the pursuit of material consumerism to the point we lose sight of what matters. Aren't we all already living our lives to the fullest? Even with a minuscule application as Whatsapp, our days are much improved compared to our grandparents. Let's not forget, only a generation ago there was no internet. To be well exposed to information then we need to invest in books and depend on words of mouth. At that time information traveled at snail pace and seldom was timely and accurate.
I have great faith in human civilization. I could not ask for anything more. As we progress into the future, we will see more great things to come. I, however, believe we are already at the pinnacle of greatness. Any addition will be an incremental improvement to the present day's technology. Having said that, I doubt flying cars will replace the ones with four wheels and a steering. They may be too far fetch to implement worldwide. Imagine the nightmares of air traffic controllers if it's real.
So, this is it! We have arrived. The future is today. Live free, die happy.