Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Technology of Simplicity

Life lessons are learned in various ways, at different times and by unique individuals. The short story, "The Technology of Simplicity", written by Mark A. Burch, is about a transformation of an impatient twelve-year-old into an introspective adolescent. Two significant lessons the narrator has learned are to appreciate simplicity and remain mindful and attentive in a materialistic society.

While hunting with his father, the speaker learns to acknowledge the simplicity that the forest brings him. Unlike other hunters, the boy and his father “[sit] silently, motionless and endlessly patient” (3) and await the appearance of a deer. In order to escape the discomfort and the boredom, the narrator is taught to be focused. He learns “to hear things wake up/ to see the forest playing, feeding, and breathing” (4) as his ability to sit in the bush develops. In fact, he enjoys the bush so much that he “[resents] the occasional noisy intrusions of other hunters.”(4) Finally, he ceases to care about catching deer, he feels contented just to be in the forest.

Another life lesson that the narrator learns is to stay alert and conscious in a materialistic world. While spending his time with his children during Christmas, the speaker notices that many adults focus on the wrong values. Instead of “[forsaking] mindfulness for consumptiveness”, he comprehends that people should pay more attention to “the sources of the things we use/to the effects of making and harvesting them/to the consequences of having used them.”(6) Moreover, the narrator learns that savoring the experience is more important than consuming the product and that today’s society “enjoys less and less as it tries to consume more and more”(6) which is very unfortunate.

Overall, it is clear that the narrator has learned life lessons that changed his life. Not only did he learn to be attentive in this wasteful culture, he also understands that a simpler life is better than a materialistic and consumptive life. Although others may immerse themselves in the moment of newness, the richness and the quality of the experience are the essential things that matter for this particular narrator.

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