A reliance on technology

Last weekend, I lived through the remnants of Hurricane Arthur slamming into the east coast. I am currently at CFB Gagetown with the Army and luckily we came out from a field exercise late on Friday afternoon before the Hurricane hit our area in the early evening.
I woke up to complete chaos. All I could hear was emergency sirens, screaming winds and lashing rain. Sure enough, as one might expect, the power was out!
Being on a military base you would expect back-up power, but it did not arrive, at least not for several hours. 
What I witnessed was almost entertaining. It was an utter dependence on technology and entertainment. The back-up power failed three or four hours after it arrived!
When I go to Africa with our charity, I witness whole regions of villages with no running water and no electricity. I see people smiling and walking together, enjoying each others company or simply sitting and enjoying the view. It is as if they are oblivious to their own problems.
This past weekend I witnessed people completely lost! Unsure how to even charge a cell phone or do their laundry, even though we still had running water. Sure it was inconvenient, but the way we all reacted was fascinating.
For me, I caught up on work using an increasingly slower cell phone data connection and kept going until my batteries died. For others, they went with friends in vehicles to see if anywhere else had electricity. Sadly, most people were thinking the same thing and line ups at gas stations became increasingly long and tensions increased. Most restaurants and stores were closed as the province struggled to keep it’s grid powered.
Why, when a storm hits town and is predicted to last for only a day, people feel the need to line up and fill their car up with gas is beyond me. Same for Tim Hortons. It was as if the world were coming to an end. Hurry up and get your last coffee now.
It reminds me of a story I heard about someone who asked a very wise man if he could teach him how to be successful. 
The wise man led the student into the middle of the river and said “Are you sure you want to know the secret of success?” “Yes,” replied the student at which point the wise man grabbed his head and thrust it below the water.
The student was completely taken aback. He was already short of breath and his teacher had a very strong grip. He was surely going to die!
As time went on, seconds turned in to a minute and the student realized he was close to his last breath. He had been fighting the teachers grip all the time but mustered all the energy he could for one big attack. 
Finally he broke free and thrust his head into the clean fresh mountain air and gasped large volumes of air in an attempt to recover.
He couldn’t help himself, he was scared. He lashed out verbally at his new teacher accusing him of trying to kill him.
The teacher looked him in the eye and said “You wanted to know the secret of success”. “I did said the student, but you tried to kill me”. “Nonsense” said the teacher. “Do you remember how desperately you wanted that air? How you would have done anything to get to the surface?” “Yes,” replied the student. “Well, when you want success that badly, you will be ready.”
This past weekend, I saw many people including me, who wanted electricity, power and entertainment so badly that they were willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get it. 
In reality, it was an amazing experience to witness the power of a remnant hurricane moving in to Canadian territory with incredible force. Many communities are still waiting for power today.
Strangely, I still feel more comfortable with forest fires!

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About the Author

For the past twenty years Mark has been involved in real estate development and consulting and is currently a REALTOR with Sage Executive Group in Kelowna.

His column, brings a unique perspective on what may be important to us in the future as we come to grips with fast paced change in a world that few people barely recognize.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an Adventurer, Philanthropist and Keynote Speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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