Sunday, May 27, 2007

The unmoving

Various surveys across the world have recently pretty much confirmed what we all already knew: Driving a car is detrimental to people’s health. Those owning a car tend to use it on most occasions, even for short trips, and they don’t get to move around much. The distance they actually walk on their feet each day is growing increasingly shorter. I can attest to that. I stopped using a car when I observed how people drove the short distance to their neighbors, about fifty meters at the shortest.

But it’s far worse than that, I’m afraid. This is only the beginning of a condition described by several science fiction writers, where people stay put in their chair all day. Machines tend to their needs. They do nothing, except eating and staring at the flashing screen in front of them. Slowly, inevitably they become only the mouth and secondary the hands and eyes and ears, and everything else become redundant, in the true sense of the words. We are fed like babies, and just as able to think and act for ourselves.

I see people take the bus two short stops or up a hillside or even down it. It seems sweating has become unfashionable, and quickly becomes even more so. When I meet people in the forest, I can smell perfume and deodorant, antiperspirants on them. They have showered before their professed exercise. The aim is to look and smell good, not to get in shape or to really use the body. So these are examples of a greater, major problem, one that keeps growing worse, exponentially. If this keeps up I will be in much better shape when I am sixty than most teenagers, which is good for me, at least in a short-sighted sort of way, but certainly not for humanity as a whole.

Civilization makes us all helpless. That’s its function and its aim, its ultimate goal. As I’ve stated before: If this keeps up we will all, fairly soon be unable to dress and undress ourselves, both literary and literally. This is yet another inevitable result of the seed we have sown.

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