“back-to-basics” vs. technology

Lately, I’ve been finding myself reflecting on the disparity between my desire for a “back-to-basics” sort of  lifestyle and the opposite desire for the newest, fastest most state-of-the-art technology that comes out. My crafts often reflect that “back-to the basics” ideal, where I often try to take the craft back to its roots. For example, I frequently opt to hand-sew items instead of using my sewing machine, yes it is more work and takes longer but I get the opportunity to really experience and enjoy the materials I’m working with and the item I’m creating. I also feel like it gives the project more character and really puts the homemade touch on it when it really is all made by hand. I’m soon going to acquire a spinning wheel and I hope I’ll be able to spin and dye my own yarn. One of my dreams for the future is to own a small farm where I raise my own sheep and/or alpacas, shear them for their fiber which I’ll then spin into yarn and knit it into something. I can’t imagine how satisfying it would be to be a part of every single step of the process in the creation of something. In our modern culture, we’re so far removed from the processes involved in the creation of most everything we use that it seems fulfilling to be a part of the process.

But then I compare this aspect of myself against the other side. I have an android phone which I can’t imagine living without, I’m rarely without my netbook, and I drool at latest Apple products. I try to think of ways to get the newest and best technologies out there “how many times would I have to donate plasma to get that Ipad or Kindle or whatever that hot new gadget is?” How can these two opposite desires live side by side? I feel that the reason I desire a back to the basics approach in the first place is because of this frantic, never satiated desire that’s been instilled in our society for the newest and the best. We’re no longer happy with last years latest laptop we bought because now there’s another one out that seems so much better, so much more appealing; even though the old model is still working just fine. This materialism and consumerism is ingrained in our culture so it’s hard to avoid. For me, I find it easier to accept these desires and give them acceptable boundaries in my life but then balance it with a diy lifestyle. I think this is a common feeling shared with others that are taking part in the growing diy and/or craft movements. There aren’t too many people giving up technology and becoming completely self-reliant. Instead, most people are just searching for some balance. We don’t want to lose all the rewards and convenience technology brings us, but we still want to be in touch with the process of making things, to still be creators.

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