From time to time, my broadband provider calls me letting me know that I can double my broadband speed and increase my usage quota for a minor increase in my bill; I think less than 10% per month. It seems like a good deal but I always decline because I’m happy with my broadband speed. One customer care representative was actually baffled that I did not want an increase in speed and quota–why not?
Because when I ask myself, “Why?” I’m unable to give a good answer. I don’t watch many videos or stream music or movies, so I don’t really need a faster speed. Plus, except for one time when I downloaded music (free and legally), I have never used up my quota–I rarely use up half of it.
In case you think I’m nuts, you haven’t heard the full story. My cable guy told me a few months ago that they were offering HD channels and I said I didn’t want HD. Till recently, I didn’t even have a TV that was HD-compatible, so having a non-CRT TV itself was a big step. I wouldn’t have changed my TV if the old one hadn’t stopped working but that’s another story.
The cable guy said something like, “It’s your wish, sir”, but I could hear the disapproval and bafflement in his voice. Again, it’s not like I can’t afford it–I don’t really see the need for it. I think it would actually be better not to have a TV itself but this is not an opinion that the rest of my family shares.
Now, I am not a Luddite: I am typing this on a really nice laptop, using one of the world’s most popular blogging tools piggybacking of course on my fast broadband connection. (I’ll have to get back to you on whether the usage of ‘blogging’ is now allowed on the Internetworks.)
The problem for me is that I’m never able to convincingly answer myself on why I need that “upgrade”. But the larger question in my mind is: When will this end? At what point are we going to say, “this resolution, this speed, this technology–is enough?”
The problem is also with the way that our brain works; the new thing that was exceedingly superior a few months or year ago is now the new normal in your brain. So, you get used to the new thing and it’s not new anymore.
Of course, it doesn’t help that what was exceedingly superior a few months ago is now second best or, God forbid, third best. And, the ad people are great at telling you how much better your life is going to be or how much you’re missing out (tapping into our FoMO) if you don’t have the latest and the greatest.
Plus, the “technology” is so seductive–if, for example, you’ve held a recent Apple product in your hand and felt its lightness, caressed the metal–you know what I’m talking about. The sharpness of the TV picture, the speed of Internet connectivity, the new features of the latest phone–some of this stuff is great, there is no disputing that. But, how much greater than what was there before? And, more importantly, how much greatness before we say, “that’s great enough”?
Or good enough? Or, simply, enough?
I’ve focused only on technology in this piece but you can ask this about anything in your life because this applies to everything. What I’m saying is nothing new but it’s good to remember every once in a while.
So, ask yourself; then, slow down or, even better, stop, and listen.