My less-than-a-year-old car has started yelling at me every time I turn it on. For multiple reasons. First, it started pinging about needing an oil change, when it does not, in fact, need one for about another 2000 miles (somehow, the last time we got an oil change, the alarm was reset incorrectly). Then, it began to complain of low windshield wiper fluid when there was still plenty left. Now, it won’t shut up about the tire pressure. And sure, that one is probably valid, but not as detrimental as the beeping is making it out to be. One after another, as soon as the key turns. The fluid was topped off this morning, solving at least one issue, but the others will take a little more time. And this got me thinking about how so much today is idiot-proofed, and how maybe that isn’t such a good thing.
It’s not that I’m cruel or particularly unsafe, but I feel like we as a culture are worried about the wrong things, as far as safety is concerned. We have laws and technology and extreme measures taken to protect us, mostly out of fear of litigation on the parts of corporations. However, I think that depending on these things to protect us, we begin to lose our ability to make clear, common sense judgments for ourselves and we lessen our opportunities for enjoying a full life. We willingly swathe ourselves in bubble wrap without realizing how much our view of reality is obscured by the plastic bubbles.
It’s a tricky path to travel, though, isn’t it? And the argument for some of the laws and implementation of technological innovations (many clearly before they are ready for implementation), the “if it saves even one life, isn’t it worth the inconvenience/cost”, is a tough one to argue against.