We haven’t changed (and technology isn’t to blame)

I just finished reading On the Shortness of Life by Seneca and two sentences towards the end really stood out to me:

“We must cut down on all this dashing about that a great many people indulge in , as they throng around houses and theatres and fora : they intrude into other people’s affairs , always giving the impression of being busy .”

We often complain of being “too busy” and blame our fast paced society or technology as the cause. Therefore, I find it very interesting that Seneca highlights this issue which has clearly existed for a lot longer than we think.

Here’s the second sentence that really stood out:

“I remember that this was the practice of the great orator Asinius Pollio, whom nothing kept at work after the tenth hour. After that time he would not even read his letters”

All you need to do is replace the word “letters” with “email” to see what I mean. Even thousands of years ago, we humans would were running around being busy. Nothing’s really changed, except that “letters” have been replaced email.

These feelings of busyness aren’t new. We were busy thousands of years ago and so we’ll probably still be complaining of busyness in a thousand more years. It’s not technology, it’s us. The good new is that our ability to change and find peace is within our power.