Survival Tips And Advice: Complex Solutions To Simple Problems?

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Pablo Edronkin

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Modern day life takes us to ridiculous situations, and sometimes we go beyond technological ridicule and enter the realm of the downrightly dangerous for our survival.

Almost certainly your MP3 player or iPod ran out of battery once in an inopportune moment such as when you are bored to death while commuting on a train, only to find out that you will have to remain in such a state until you arrive home, turn on your PC, connect the thing to it and wait for a few hours. Back in 1984 - if you lived thorough the eighties - you only had to pass by a kiosk or supermarket, get yourself a couple of AA batteries and presto, your music player would be able to save your day again. Certainly, technology was quite different, reproduction wasn't as faithful as today, the format and weight were more cumbersome and so on, but it was also easier to deal with the battery issue.

In the same way, modern technology in broad terms has made us life easier on the basis of certain assumptions that when they are not fulfilled - and life has an odd tendency to play with that - turn to our disadvantage. Imagine that you need to get out as soon as possible with your car during some serious event involving an EMP or electromagnetic pulse - a warfare scenario, for example; under such circumstances, unless you have a Ford - T model, your nice car would turn out to be a death trap. Modern cars need computers for everything and anything, and without them they will just not work, while a Ford-T or any other magneto-based car would.

And you don't need to have a nuclear war going on to suffer the consequences of EMP: Even police forces can cause that in order to disable a car they are pursuing. Technology for that does exist. So, what about that in an authoritarian regime from which you want to escape? Modern technology solves a lot of problems and makes our life easier in many different ways, but we should remember what happened with the H.M.S. Titanic: Her designers calculated correctly the number of lifeboats that the ship required based initially on the number of souls on board. Administratively, however, as the ship was being built it was decided to apply a different rule based on tonnage to define how many boats the Titanic should carry. Needless to say, the criteria used proved wrong and the lives of hundreds were lost; no one was guilty of that because written rules allowed for that but an excess of trust in technology made people think that the Titanic was allegedly unsinkable, losing any sort of connection with the world of common sense.

Pausing to think a little bit about our world, it is easy to see that the same mistake is being repeated every day. The case of our pocket music players may seem trivial, but should serve as a reminder of something that is very wrong with our penchant to give complicated solutions to simple problems that can even cost our lives.

Simplified life: This protects you from rain as much as a 300.000 euro home.
Simplified life: This protects you from rain as much as a 300.000 euro home.

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