Thursday, January 04, 2007

Efficiency


I'm all for efficiency. I like to get things done, and get 'em done well, without too much hassle.

Yet, I had to pause at this quote from Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things...

In a world dominated by efficiency...beauty, creativity, fantasy, enjoyment, and poetry would fall by the wayside, creating an unappealing world indeed. Imagine a fully efficient world: an Italian dinner would be a red pill and a glass of water with an artificial aroma..." (p.65)

In fact, in a fully-efficient world, no one would even need to read or think anymore. And I could put away my pen and my keyboard— except maybe if I were a copywriter for the We Will Tell You Exactly What to Think Bureau.

"World News" drawing by Stefani M. Rossi Used with permission.

12 Comments:

Blogger Andrea said...

As a mother to 4, I am always thinking, "what is most efficient"?

But I don't want that to substitute that for "what is it that *God* wants to get done?"

I guess that kind of relates to what you are saying here.

Good thoughts.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Michelle Gregory said...

What kind of world would this be if there were no beauty, creativity and enjoyment? I'm so glad that God put those things into our lives. And who wants an Italian dinner that consists of a red pill and water? No thank you!

9:43 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I had to stop by and thank you for what you left on my last post. It made me smile and feel really good. Sometimes I feel so alone in my passion for animals and how we treat them. I'm the girl who will see animals caged up and cry on my way out because I can't take them all with me. I may have to check into that book :)

10:01 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

And what's sad is how the North American church has adopted the whole efficiency thing.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Craver VII said...

We must not sneer at efficiency, for it is a useful tool. An efficient worker makes the boss smile, right?

The problem is that we are sinful creatures and since the time of Adam, we have a way of ruining a good thing. We misprioritize. We sacrifice beauty or charity for our own brand of efficiency.

But then, we go to the opposite extreme as well. We do not finish what we should because we get lost or derailed from the work we ought to do.

Oh, how we need the Holy Spirit!

11:05 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andrea... absolutely... efficiency is helpful. Yet I know that I can sacrifice others in an effort to achieve it, and that, I'm thinking, is not really what God "wants to get done."

Michelle... a boring world indeed. Yet, I fear we move towards this reality more than we suspect.

Stephanie... you are welcome. And, you are the girl God has gifted with a special passion. Don't ever be afraid of that, nor deny it.

Heather... I would really like to hear more on this. In what sense are you thinking? (I know you've got some fascinating idea going on in there. Show me! Show me! :)

Craver... yes, efficiency is good... like when I want to actually eat lunch the day I set out to fix it... but I agree that we can sacrifice others in the process of looking for what is "most efficient." And, in this case, maybe we've got to consider "eating lunch" a little later. :)

3:08 PM  
Blogger Charity Singleton said...

Just read this today from Wendell Berry in his essay "The Unsettling of America":

"The standard of the exploiter is efficiency; the standard of the nurturer is care. . . .The exploiter wishes to earn as much as possible by as little work as possible; the nurturer expects, certainly, to have a decent living from his work, but his characteristic wish is to work as well as possible."

"Efficiency" strikes me as a very modern concept, one that says the end justifies the means. Nurture and care seem to me to be ancient, biblical concepts that take joy in the process.

I think the good things about efficiency are still wrapped up in caring about our work. It just levels off the cold, hard edges.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

My husband (a techno-lover) is constantly trying to convince me to use some new time-saving gizmo. While I'm not phobic about technology, there is something simple and sweet about jotting my grocery list on a scrap of paper rather than using a stylus and Palm Pilot. And I find it more efficient to rely on the skills I already learned in 1st grade (printing) rather than trying to juggle a hand-held device and all my children while I push the cart down the frozen food aisle.

Sometimes, efficiency is in the eye of the beholder.

And in our efforts to become more efficient, we often end up going backwards.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Yes. I wonder if our "efficiency" often gets in the way of God's working. I think we need to slow down and sometimes rethink what we're doing. Is it prioritized and done according to God's revelation in Scripture and in Jesus, and especially in dependence on the Spirit's leading, and in communion with God's people?

I think creativity from God as well as hearing his voice, is often squelched by the designs and agendas that are already set in place. We need some freedom along with tradition, and to slow down. I think to be less full has helped me. End result keeps me busy enough. But with more time to reflect.

Thanks L.L. And I appreciate all the commenters; but especially the point, you, Charity, make. Good point. Does seem to strongly resonate with modernism and the industrial revolution.

5:59 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

Oi - that would be not a good thing at all. No more thinking - no more creativity - no more poems???? No way - I rather have the imperfect world...with beauty around us that was created for our enjoyment...

8:16 PM  
Blogger A Musing Mom said...

I think I tend to get caught up in the efficiency thing. For me, sometimes life is a list of projects to get done instead of a journey to experience. Kind of like what planes have done for travel - they make it a point of getting from point A to point B instead of seeing what's in between. Sigh...I'd like to spend more time in life seeing the sights.

10:13 AM  
Blogger A Musing Mom said...

I think I tend to get caught up in the efficiency thing. For me, sometimes life is a list of projects to get done instead of a journey to experience. Kind of like what planes have done for travel - they make it a point of getting from point A to point B instead of seeing what's in between. Sigh...I'd like to spend more time in life seeing the sights.

10:13 AM  

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