The Tyranny of Convenience

“We must never forget the joy of doing something slow and something difficult, the satisfaction of not doing what is easiest. The constellation of inconvenient choices may be all that stands between us and a life of total, efficient conformity”

The New York Times

It seems now more than ever that the right choice is being confused with the convenient choice. Though in many walks of life a time and labour saving decision may well be the best path to follow, it is not always the case.

With the rise of 21st century convenience, the traditionally accepted liberal principles of freedom and choice are being subsumed by the monopoly of ease.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

Theodore Roosevelt

It is becoming socially accepted that enhancing one’s leisure time is unanimously positive. But the problem of leisure is a great one. What is one to do with unlimited leisure time? What is one to do without being given something to strive for?

It may well be the case that unlimited leisure time for all is a positive thing. But until we have a way of objectively proving that, there is something to be said for the argument behind the famous idiom ‘if it’s not difficult it’s not worth doing’.

The satisfaction derived from achieving a taxing goal is a tangible one. Going to the shops to buy a present instead of ‘one-click orders’ on amazon, making your own coffee instead of going to Starbucks, or visiting a friend instead of skyping them. These actions are not replacements for the same outcome, they create different feelings. We must remember to question the dominant societal narrative that one should be more popular simply because it is more convenient.

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