The luxuries and conveniences of contemporary life prevent people from developing into truly strong and independent individuals.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.
The modern society has been blessed and cursed at the same time by a wide range of luxuries and conveniences made possible by advanced technologies. Whether people can remain strong and independent, physically and spiritually, while enjoying the luxurious and convenient goods or services depends on the attitudes we hold towards them. More specifically, it depends on whether we would allow the luxuries and conveniences to take over our lives. I would like to illustrate my point with the example of automobiles.
Automobiles can help us become strong and independent individuals as the technology significantly extend the physical space that we can reach in a small amount of time, thereby offering us a greater number of opportunities to explore the world and realize our potential. Consider a single mother of three children living in a poor neighborhood in the inner city. Without a car, she can barely find a job within walking distance. In the neighborhood filled with muggers and meth labs, she could not even walk safely on the street, not to mention bring along her children. But with a car, she can commute to a decent-paid job in a town 20 kilometers away and drop her children to a kindergarten along the way. The car not only provides her convenience of travelling around. It also empowers her economically and socially.
On the other hand, the widespread use of automobiles also has the potential to deprive the modern people of the opportunities of regular physical exercises and becoming physically strong and independent. As more people enjoy the convenience of riding cars, we adopt a sedentary lifestyle for travelling and commuting, causing a lack of physical exercises. Researches on people’s lifestyle have confirmed that the use of vehicles has significant impact on the amount of exercises, which in turn lead to medical problems such as obesity and high blood pressure. More worrisome is the tendency that, once we get used to travelling by cars, we become so lazy that we drive to places within walking distance. Such laziness, or the lack of willpower to exercise our physical bodies, is a major consequence of modern conveniences and automobiles are merely a tip of the iceberg.
Finally, people from upper-middle classes often rely on luxuries to tell others they are rich, thereby confusing the extrinsic value of material goods from the intrinsic value of their own lives. The entire market of luxurious vehicles, for example, is based on the premise that owning luxurious cars is a symbol of wealth and power. By driving such cars, the car owners can easily tell the world that they can afford such luxuries and attract other people who are interested in such wealth and power to connect with them. But as people devote themselves to their careers in order to earn luxurious cars or other expensive but not always necessary items, they may fail to pursue the things in life that really make them strong and independent such as good friends and quality family relationships. Researches have found that a proper work-life balance is crucial for healthy family relationships, which in turn are vital for personal development of strength and independence at societal and spiritual levels.
In conclusion, as my extended example of automobiles suggests, luxuries and conveniences can help us become economically strong and independent if we use them to gain more opportunities for empowerment. On the other hand, they may prevent us from developing our physical strength and spiritual independence.