You are what you do

This writer chooses a pseudonym Dadis harth and shares his observations on the world and plastics. An interesting take on studying generations and habits.

Have you ever walked out and seen your dad meddling with the car or the water pump? Have you seen your mom using the same old sewing machine for years? Have you ever looked at them and wondered why they put the effort to keep it fixed?? Why not just buy a new model?? Anyways with the competition the way it is, companies are coming out with better and cheaper models.

Well, this question, sounds quite innocent and to some people obvious, but it really does give a very useful insight into the generation gap we find ourselves in today!

Now you must be wondering, “is this man serious? What is he talking about?” How does buying a new model convey anything about the generation gap?” Well let me explain.

Try imagining the time when our parents were young. True it would have been either during the freedom struggle or just post Indian independence. Well just imagine anybody our parent’s age anywhere in the world. Just to set a reference- 1930 to 1950.

This was a time when plastics were quite nascent and metals and their alloys were the preferred primary materials for almost anything. Now, we know that metals are recyclable. But still during those times, with the limited technology, manufacturing anything was a tough task. So people made sure that once they got anything they would make it last as long as possible. So they would take good care of it. Even service it themselves.

All this information they got about servicing and in general, taking care of equipments, came from books. Solid books made from real pages. You might still find some really old books in your parent’s cupboard.

This mentality of taking care and fixing became a part of their personality. That is true with anyone actually. You are what you do. So this fact could be seen in the tremendously low divorce rates and in general quite honest people.

Fast forward by nearly 30 to 40 years. We are talking about 1970 to the present. Plastics have become the front runner among materials. In fact using synthetic fibres to make composites is the new thing. Metals have taken the back seat in many applications although I would be lying if I told you they aren’t used at all. In fact many primary structures are still made from metals and their alloys.

But let me not deviate. It is safe to say that most of the products we have are made out of plastics in one way or another. Plastics are not biodegradable and until recently were not really recycled to a great extent. But one major advantage of plastics was the ease to manufacture bulk with very low operating costs. This meant that if one metal part used some amount, an equivalent of hundreds of the same component could be made by using plastics.

What it means is that the machines can make components so quickly that one can just throw away a slightly old component and get a new one and it would cost as much as repairing the old one.

Hmmm, you can get a new one for the same cost of repairing the old one. So people nowadays just use and throw a vivid range of products and don’t even care to find out if it can be repaired. I wouldn’t blame them. After all, you are what you do. As I explained earlier, your habits become your personality.

This can be evidently seen in the exponential increase in the divorce rates, people using others for their own benefits and discarding them and to the extent that people see corruption as a way to go ahead in life since it really doesn’t matter what they broke to get there. After all, we do strongly believe in ‘use and throw’.

Even books have not been spared. Replaced by online documents, people download and delete information faster than nature does it itself sometimes! People often read facts and figures to help them deal with an issue. They seldom dig deep. This can be clearly seen in the aptitude and ability of the new generation. Nobody really knows what the fault is. But they do have some sort of a solution and if all else fails, just buy a new one. Hell it doesn’t cost much nowadays. But the real issue is that some equipment that could have worked for another ten years ends up floating away into an abyss of ‘working waste’ as I call it.

So the next time you see your dad meddling with something or your mom using something really old, take a hint. Start taking care of your products. If it really does cost the same to fix or buy a new one, then why not fix it. Why be emotionless towards your equipment? I mean, they have always been there for you, so just fix them. Stop becoming this meaningless creature inhabiting a dying land. Try to reuse and fix your old equipment instead of just throwing it out. Practice it long enough and maybe you can see some positive changes in your personal and professional life. After all, you are what you do!

Learn more about Dadis Harsh.

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About Shruti Bharath

Social entrepreneur and developmental writer, passionate about creating workable solutions in the areas of improving employability of youth and women through skill enhancement/training and generation of productive and sustainable employment opportunities.

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