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More gadgets ≠ more happiness? April 8, 2007

Posted by Al in : gadget,people , trackback

Being a lover of the latest technology, and having bought more than my fair share of gadgets over the years, I’m not sure whether I agree with more gadgets not meaning more happiness. There’s a certain buzz you get when you get hold of something that nobody else you know has yet, and a certain pleasure in seeing some new piece of gadgetry doing  it’s stuff. Yet I also have a lot of old gadgets still lying around, no longer useful or loved, and a surprising number of these lasted a lot less time than I would have predicted. I still have my Psion 3 from around 1994, a selection of radio controlled vehicles, CB radios, and a vast array of computer related accessories – these all brought a smile to my face when I first got them, but it didn’t take long for them to end up in cupboards and drawers, getting slowly older and less useful and making me feel guilty rather than bringing me any pleasure any more.

Now if I was Amish, then I would have none of this guilt and expense, and I would probably be a happier person. How much happier would be difficult to say, as the Amish never get the pleasure of owning the latest technology; of knowing they now own something that lots of very clever people have spent years developing and refining; of holding a perfectly designed piece of electronic engineering and knowing other will admire it too. In fact I think part of the pleasure of gadgets is owning something that is cool and that others will covet in some way – if your friends and peers don’t want what you’ve got, then you’re unlikely to get as much pleasure from owning it.

All in all, this is a bit of a toughie. I can see where the pleasure lies in not having to have the latest and the best, but instead in having the ability create things for yourself and those around you. In the Amish world your pride would come from having crafted something, rather than from having bought something that is cool. However I still take a lot of pleasure in owning quality gadgets, and I’m looking forward to buying a new HD TV, and to getting a new smartphone soon. I admire the Amish, but I don’t think their life is for me.


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