The Carnival of Brazil is a celebration of all the senses. Credit: Xavier Donat / Flickr Creative Commons
Food, entertainment, news – we live in an age where almost everything is immediately accessible.
And while there are definite benefits to not having to make your own clothes, “you reach this threshold where we’ve got so much gratifying power, that it’s creating all these new problems,” says Paul Roberts, author of The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification. “It becomes easier to eat the wrong things, eat too much of the wrong things.”
And as peoples’ expectations change, Roberts sees our increasing need for the immediate extending far beyond the dinner table and into arenas like politics.
“Voters now treat politics as if it were any other consumable. We want quick results, we’re much less patient, we’re much less willing to take the time to pour over an issue, we’re much less willing to compromise."
Technology and convenience have empowered people to shape their lives the way they want. Social media, for example, “gives you the capability to stay connected,” says Roberts, “but it also allows you to focus more and more on yourself.”
However, some of us are starting to move away from the extreme end of the convenience spectrum. “People are beginning to say, ‘I have a lot of individual capability, but what does that capability actually get me?' There’s an illusion of individual power that isn’t fulfilled.”
This could be one of the reasons that the local food movement continues to pick up steam. “You begin to make connections with, say, the producers, and you start realizing there are actual people involved and there’s a process that you can’t cut corners without consequences.”