During the industrial age and continuing into the information age there has been a constant focus on progress. The partial definition of progress is creating ideas that lead to less energy being exerted which also gets more work done. It is a fairly simple concept to allow people to have more idle time to do whatever they want.
Unfortunately, this usually leads to lack of activity which encourages weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Perhaps the pendulum has swung too far towards making things easy. Perhaps it is time to make things a bit more difficult for the sake of creating work. Instead of wasting energy doing exercises at a gym, wouldn’t it make that much more sense to use that energy to complete normal tasks?
It’s not a particularly inspired idea and yet it seems to be completely missed by the mass advertising campaigns. Perhaps the last thing a person wants to do is work when they can do something to do the work for them.
Along these lines, even play could encourage exercise. Video game technology (like the Wii) is getting good enough at using real actions to control action within the game. As an experiment, I have been doing Wii Sports over the last week or two and have found that it actually does challenge the body to move that a typical middle aged person like myself would not normally do. Having the inspiration to use this energy is much better than just typing at a keyboard all day and watching TV at night.
With all the new focus on being green, it is clear that non-powered devices are going to become more popular again. It isn’t going to be a revolution but it is sort of a realization that too many things are automated and dependent on electricity to do the work.
Even transportation is too static. I’ve thought many times that even though it is impractical, it would be more useful to having it require more energy to drive a car. This could range from having a lack of power steering and power windows up to the insane idea of doing some kind of peddling action while driving. The point is that it would be beneficial for humans to expend energy while using vehicles. If it was possible to use this energy to reduce the amount of energy the vehicle uses, so much the better. Obviously a bicycle is a perfect match for this concept but unfortunately the bicycle can only take you so far. Adding to this is the fact that dedicated bicycle paths rarely exist and therefore bicyclists are always at risk with passing automobiles.
The real question is, how many times have you seen a fat bicyclist? If you do, he or she is most likely either an beginner or has just been busted for some serious vehicle offense.
So, the next time you here the phrase “Labor Saving Device” just think that most likely it is going to make you lazy and fat. Sure, it is attractive to the leisure loving side of yourself but rest assured that it is a slippery slope and that the balance needs to be brought back by having more “Labor Creating Devices”. Even better, why not try it with no devices at all? That’s assuming that it is possible to do without tools.
Or, perhaps it would be better to think “How can I use up the most energy doing this task?”. Strange, but true.
At the very least it is something to consider.