En neu, oui?

ennuiDinner just now included Korean Mandu (dumplings), which got me to thinking: not that long ago – I remember my parents having to do this – in order to have dumplings you’d pretty much have to make them yourself. It wasn’t impossible to buy them, just that the decent quality (fresh) ones were expensive or difficult to get, especially for a family where both parents work full time jobs.

I then proceeded to think that earlier generations had a lot of chores to occupy them – heck, I think I’m still scarred by my parents making *me* vacuum, dust and other exploitive manual labour.

Nowadays, it’s becoming increasingly easy to have these basic needs taken care of: technology has given us good quality food, even frozen dumplings, which are available easily and cheaply. Even things like Roomba vacuum cleaners are beginning to take over mundane chores for us. (Yes these are still nascent and we are far from close to being able to celebrate the end of vacuum cleaners everywhere.)

The trend that I’m talking about is the freeing up of time. As technology takes away more and more of our menial tasks, we are being given more and more time. Some use it wisely – for example my boss has a successful candle-making business on the side on top of his heavy day-job commitments – but I wager that a larger majority out there do not.

I count myself among those that don’t know what to do with themselves. My previous time-wasters – video games, movies, and surfing the Internet – are starting to become boring, and I’m struck by a heavy sense of ennui. Gardening is now the only hobby that gives me any satisfaction, being the one thing that is productive, i.e. one that creates something tangible outside of my mind.

It might be a sweeping generalisation, but I have a vague notion that the youth of the Western world is greatly afflicted by this same sense of ennui, and is the driving force behind all the petty juvenile delinquencies that we’re constantly seeing around us: graffiti, drunken behaviour, social unrest, etc.

Do you feel the same?


N.B. Pardon the depressing topic. This entry was brought to you by a sudden urge to write a “stream of consciousness” instead of my usual edited-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life posts. You may also have noticed that this is my first post in probably 6 weeks, partly as a result of my blogs being “attacked”, which I might write more about later. I’ve also got some slightly better stuff in the pipeline.