Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm all thumbs

A recent CNN article has been on my mind lately, as it's likely that sitting at my computer to work, sitting in my car to commute or travel, and sitting for more than 3-4  hours a day is deleterious to my health.  The simple truth is that I sit too much and it's bad for me. Or, as The Cat in the Hat might say, I sit, sit, sit and don't like it one bit (with apology to Dr. Seuss).

It's been on my mind because I am teaching a summer class that meets for four hours on Saturdays and I'm talking to my daughter about college, jobs, and life.  I've come to the conclusion that, with the exception of professional athletes, we've pretty much kicked all non-office work to the curb, at least in the U.S.  The 'smart' kids go to college to get white-collar jobs.  The 'important' jobs have titles, offices, and dress codes.  We have entire groups (classes, perhaps) of people who drive from home to somewhere else to do work--work that requires a great deal of sitting--with little tangible benefit.  And, in that process, we've become completely reliant on others to grow our food, build our homes, and provide maintenance for many of the things we own.

I'm not a proponent of total self-reliance or a return to Thoreau's Walden Pond.  But I'm troubled about our whole-sale adoption of the wonders and benefits of technology without a healthy counting of the cost.  And I wonder about the message--whether intended or not--that the 'best' jobs require a college education, a computer, an office, and a whole lot of sitting.

I can tell you for a fact that I am happier and healthier when my own life is much more balanced...when I use my head, my hands, and my heart in pretty equal measure.  I'm not sure we realize how much damage is being done by the slow transition from being whole people to being little more than brains with thumbs.

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