The necessity of self-sufficiency in a time of technological dependence

Illustration of girl without wifi and Oski in the background
Annabelle Baker/Staff

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The use of computerized technology has become a paramount part of our 21st-century lives. Some things about this advanced technology are great, such as being able to FaceTime a family member halfway across the world or having access to millions of research papers. Other things about it demonstrate a not-so-good side, such as our growing dependence on it. Many people use computerized technology to socialize, to navigate, to wake up on time, to date, to find out where they can get something fixed. Look up from your screen, and you’ll see that this technology is relied on for much of what we do these days. 

This is especially true in the lives of Millennials and Generation Z folks. Fun fact: Those Millenial and Gen Z folks would be the majority of us students at UC Berkeley. Our lives are rooted in this advanced technology. We get to move faster and faster with it, we are showered with efficiency and convenience. But at what cost?

Perhaps we should take a moment to slow down and ask ourselves some questions about our reliance on this convenient, efficient and advanced technology.

  1. Do I know how to get to where I am going without relying on Google Maps or another map app?
  2. Do I use a dating app? If so, why? 
  3. Am I handy if something needs to be fixed when I do not have access to the internet? 
  4. What’s the longest I have gone without my phone/laptop in the past three months?
  5. How often do I shop online vs. going out to a local store?
  6. What’s with the rush of life? How much efficiency and conveniency do I need to survive in the 21st century?
  7. Have I watched “The Matrix”?
  8. Do I know how to slit a chicken’s neck, fish or garden? 
  9. What do I know how to do without computerized technology? 

By answering those questions, many of us will probably notice we are not as self-reliant as we thought: We may be lacking hands-on skills in the tangible world, or we are more dependent on computerized technology than we would like to admit. Others may notice the opposite, that they are relatively self-sufficient human beings. And in being a relatively self-sufficient human being, a lot of benefits are present. Below I have provided you with six of them.  

  1. You save money
  2. You know how to do things with your hands — you will be skillful
  3. You are a more free and independent individual; you can depend on yourself or your human community rather than a computer
  4. You will be well-prepared in the event of an apocalypse, a revolution or a technological crash
  5. You are more rooted in the real world rather than the virtual world
  6. You realize that you do not need many of the technological luxuries that we are granted 

Often, it seems that we take computerized technology as a constant or a given. Life without it is so distant from our current realities. Yet it might be in our best interest to think and notice the trends of dependence that we are placing on this technology before it’s too late. But then again, maybe we have nothing to worry about, and we can count on technology to have our backs forever. 

Regardless, it is probably to our advantage to know how to do things by ourselves — to be self-sufficient. After all, we’ll never know when the power may go out for good, so we might as well be prepared.

Contact Gina Wright [email protected].