Convenience vs. Life

A map must be read, which is to say it must be deciphered, thought through, examined and understood. Digital navigation is not a replacement for the map; it is a replacement for the map reader, i.e., for the mind’s processes of absorbing and contextualizing information.

Calculation is a difficult skill which must be studied as a child, and then practiced regularly for years to be honed. An electronic calculator is not a replacement for calculation, but for the intellectual training and practice of calculation, i.e., for the mind’s development of complex relational and logical skills.

Grammar is the key to effective communication, both as speaker and listener, as writer and reader, and understanding grammar’s nuances and peculiarities the human being’s chief means of opening himself to other minds, and other minds to himself. Automatic grammar correction programs — and in the case of second languages, online translating programs — are not a replacement for studying grammar rules; they are a replacement for the soul’s achingly incomplete but ennobling quest for the means of delivering its most ineffable and ephemeral flashes of awareness to other souls.

Civilized society, the life-elevating association of families governed by voluntary association, hard-earned fellow-feeling, and sublimated desires, is the pinnacle achievement of the specifically human elements of our being. Progressivism, the coercive entrenchment of rules micromanaging the mechanisms of mutual benefit, respect, and interaction in accordance with the artificial idealism of collectivist masterminds oblivious to the vagaries of human nature or the ultimate reality of the individual soul, is not a replacement for the natural development of the self-governing community of free men; it is a replacement for humanity itself, i.e., for the fruit of each man’s private victory over fear and friction, in the name of spiritual growth and an expanded view of life.

Our modern conveniences are certainly very convenient — so much so that we gradually forget to ask the salient questions: What is the cost of allowing convenience to become an end in itself? And if the cost should turn out to be the individual human being and a life worthy of the soul, what then?

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