Fighting the Feature Creep in Life

April 3, 2008

The tiny kingdom of Bhutan was recently thrown into some unprecedented limelight as the nation held its inaugural democratic elections, marking a shift from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. The landlocked nation in the Himalayas sandwiched between India and Tibet is, perhaps, best-known for measuring happiness of its people via their very own Gross National Happiness (GNH) indicator. The concept of GNH claims to be based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other (Source: Wikipedia).

Only during the past decade has the nation begun opening its doors to the foreign world. It was only in 1999 did the country lift a national ban on television and the Internet. While it remains of interest to observe how a nation of people accustomed to a lifelihood of subsistence adapt to the alien notions of technology, cars, and cable, one thing remains clear – the impact of the introduction of technology will certainly pose a major setback on the country’s GNH scaling.

How do people in the First World, more often than not, hanker over a myriad of very much possibly redundant features so as to spice up their lives a little – earn more money, have more respite, for instance – only to end up filling their lives with more clutter and responsibilities they tend to shun or prioritise wrongly in the end?

This trend boils down, very much, to the mindset of First World people (myself included), transcripted by technology to believe that with technology, anything is very much possible, and the process of things is inevitably sped up. What results is a vicious cycle – people tend to take more things on their shoulders (and by ‘things’ it is not only the tangible items such as work; these also include the intangible such as relationships and responsibilities). We are no longer as satisfied nor gratified with our lives, as, perhaps, the old grandmother next door who spends her day collecting old newspapers and cardboards for sale to the recyling plants. How can we ever be truly happy this way?

Similarly, how will the Bhutanese be able to resist the onslaught of all these technological advances, what with the huge likelihood that the misuse of it (overusage of cars, violence on television, pornographic images on the Internet, which the nation is leaving uncensored) will lead to the erosion of traditional Bhutanese values which are so vital to their society? How quickly will the country develop, such that its people become more engulfed in their greed for success rather than the simplicities in life? What about brain drain – will its people want too much too fast and hanker over educational qualifications so much that they venture abroad and not wish to return to their very own nation where they grew up in, because it remains so rural?

It all remains a question which answer will be unravelled in the years to come.

Anyway, as a sidenote, I chanced upon this article “Life Coding: 9 Ways to Fight Feature Creep in Our Lives” on the blog “Zen Habits“. Feature Creep refers to the phenomenon where too much ‘software’ and ‘applications’ have been added to the programme that is your life, such that it becomes too overloaded for effective functioning. The article offers some tips on how the ways you can take to start uncluttering your life a little to ease up your misplaced, or even redundant, ‘responsibilities’ or addictions even. Certainly deserves a read.

One Response to “Fighting the Feature Creep in Life”

  1. The post kind of helped me. Well How you get ideas for such posts. sorry if it’s out of topic.

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