Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Society and Simplicity

Oh boy. Society. Simplicity. Two words at opposite ends of a magnet.

When I think of simple and society in the same sentence (say that five times really fast!), I think of homesteaders out west. Building log homes, farming, praying together over dinner--you know what I'm talking about.

It's hard to place our current society in the simple file. Michigan's speed limit is 70mph. The highways brim with vehicles going eighty. Flights take off from airports every few minutes. People walk around typing into their smart phones--even six-year-olds have cell phones! Most homes feature not one, but multiple televisions, telephones, and computers. Does this seem simple?

Yes. Yes, it does.

Have you read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie lately? There was nothing simple about homesteading. They built log homes with few tools and fewer hands. They couldn't buy the lumber--they had to harvest it themselves. They survived harsh winters, food shortages, and constant fear of either Indian attack or government meddling. They didn't have the luxury of deciding they didn't feel like cooking dinner or of calling 911 when an accident happened. They missed their friends, siblings, and parents.

American society is complicated, but it also simplifies our life. Our taxes pay for roads, police and firemen, teachers and schools, government officials, and a military to keep us safe. Not everyone will agree with me on being thankful for these things and that's okay, but I am very thankful for them. They've given me the deepest level of simplicity--security.

Of course, in any society during any time frame, security comes from God, but He has blessed us with safety nets provided by our society.

What do you think when you hear the words simple and society?

Join me on Friday to set one goal!


  1. I long for simpler electronic times but not simpler as far as modern conveniences that make our lives longer and better. Good reminder. :O)

  2. Christ's kingdom, where there will be no more tears and murders and oil spells and ice floes...

    Sigh. Today? Certainly not simple.

    Thought-provoking post. Love this blog.

  3. I don't think life in past times was ever simple. The work was hard, long, back-breaking. Preparing a meal took the entire day! Electricity and modern conveniences make things easier and quicker. I'm glad I don't have to hang my carpets on the line and beat the dirt out of them. No, life is not simple. It's complicated and messy, but that's what makes it exciting

  4. I always thought it wild when we first moved in we had the police station practically across the street and on the computer I discovered a sex offender a few houses down (since he has moved). It opened my eyes to sense of security and how it used to be playing Kick the Can until night fell.
    ~ Wendy

  5. I think its our human nature to fill our time with complicated matters. It may be simpler to make a meal, wash our clothes, and build a house, but figuring out a new software or even my remote control can be complicated! :)

  6. Good morning!

    Diane: Simpler electronic times--has a nice ring to it! It's funny, we had a wall-mounted rotary phone on a party line when I was young! Boy, times have changed.

    Patti: True, true. :)

    CJ: No matter what time period, our life is complicated. Very good reminder.

    Wendy: Well, the offenders were probably always there. We just didn't have a registry and computer to find them then. It's scary to think about.

    Lynn: Figuring out a new remote?? Please, don't give me nightmares! :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. Hi Jill, Great, thoughtful post. I think everyone thinks life was simpler "back when...." Having lots and lots of choices on how to spend one's time adds complexity to life. If you have to spend the entire day preparing meals, then you really don't have time left over to think about how to spend your extra time...because you don't have any! In a way, that's a simpler life. Yet, is it really more rewarding? I don't think so. I think "rewarding" comes from having choices and making smart, thoughtful ones in support of one's goals, dreams, desires. Not so simple. But so rewarding. Patrice

  8. Great post. When I think of no tv. In my first year of college, I had a roommate who had grown up with one tv in basically every room in the house. My family on the other hand never had cable, so we never watched tv. She couldn't imagine life without a tv, and couldn't understand how I could be so unattached to the television. It was very interesting.

  9. I agree the words don't seem to work together, but you make a few very good points and I agree with you. I certainlly would not want to do the work they do in the Little House books and I am thankful for all of our services. Still, I do recall the 50s and life without all of this technology was very sweet.

  10. Patrice: Good point. When we don't have time to think of other things we could be doing, life is simpler, isn't it? But much less rewarding!

    Abby: I watched little television in high school or college--not because we didn't have one, but because I preferred reading and listening to music. Nice to hear you know what you like to do!

    Nancy: Yeah, I bet it was sweet! My mother-in-law has wonderful memories of the fifties. It's fun to hear her tell about it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. Oh, thank you for this post; I needed to read it, dear. I often complain about how complicated life has become. Your insights put in perspective. I do not wish to go back to hauling wood and using an out house. LOL!

    Love you,

    P.S. I will leave on vacation tomorrow, so I'll miss one goal Friday; I did make my goal for last week. Thanks for keeping us on task--you make our lives simpler, dear sister.

  12. Jen: Good for you on making your goal!! And have an amazing time!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  13. The tilt-shift photo caught my eye!
    As I pondered this question, it occurred to me that the simple society we all crave, whether we imagine it in the past or in some future Star Trek era, is one in which everyone knows their identity, knows their purpose, and is content in those things. For believers, we can have that at any time, but it must be received and maintained by faith.
    Great post, as always, Jill!

  14. Jill:
    I sit here with two fans pulling air from a window air-conditioner down our hallway. We have a huge window air-conditioner in the living room window. Plus two fans,as well.
    As I get older, I react to the heat more.
    Back in the days of the wagon trains, they didn't have electricity. Both my husband and I are in our 60s. The life expectacy was a lot lower then than now.
    I think, in this aspect, the present society is simpler.
    But there are other areas that I would have to say the past society scores higher on simplicity. IMHO


I love to hear from you!