August 13, 2013

The Myth of Spira

“Long time ago, there were a whole lot of cities in Spira. Big cities with machina -machines- to run ‘em. People played all day and let the machina do the work”
— Wakka, Final Fantasy X

This quote is about a world where technology has advanced so much that nobody did any work, because machines took care of everything.

I believed that we were approaching that point. I saw technology make things easier and more accessible. Kickstarter made fundraising easier, Etsy and Shopify simplified commerce to a few button clicks… the list goes on. I was hopeful. One day, all I have to worry about is what books to read (made easier by the Kindle) and what movies to watch (thank you Netflix). Even the leisure activities are more accessible now.

But I no longer believe this, because humans are not meant to be content. People will find new problems to work on, even when nobody is asking for it. That’s progress.

Take Four Hour Work Week for example. It’s a book about how to utilise modern day resources so you can work only a few hours a week and still make a comfortable living. You can “play all day” as Wakka said in Final Fantasy X. Yet, all the marketing and research that keeps Tim Ferriss (the author of this book) busy is way more than four hours a week—probably way more than 40 hours a week. Isn’t that ironic? The author who prescribes how to work less is actually working more so that he can prescribe how to work less. Now, I don’t personally know him, but having read his Wikipedia page, I bet he’s exactly the type of person who can never be content, always moving along.

The Spira from Final Fantasy X is already here, and probably has been here for a while now. But we reject it, because we are not meant to be content. We are meant to improve.