Today’s industrialized society can not only make you sick, but make it impossible to be sick.

No, this isn’t going to be a rant on healthcare or the horrors wreaked on our health by the industrialization of food production, although that’s some of the causes of how living in the modern world can make one literally ill. This is going to be a rant on how it’s almost impossible to be sick in today’s world.

Today I’m home, cruelly waylaid by a bout of food poisoning. (It’s all the more shameful because it’s from a veggie wrap I congratulated myself on eating as a late dinner.)

I certainly suffered from a few bouts of this growing up, but all the times I’ve been poisoned from food in South Africa over twenty-plus years (involving such notables as partially cooked crayfish, improperly cleaned prawns and old curry), are about equal to the number of times *per year* I get waylaid in New York.

And they call this the developed world?

But worst of all, it’s nigh impossile for me to actually let myself be sick. You know, the sick day that you spend in close proximity to your bathroom and during which you basically want to sip soothing drinks, sleep and maybe rouse yourself enough to read or watch TV?

Well, modern technology simply doesn’t allow it.

Today, a sick day, I’ve managed to work a number of hours.

There were the morning e-mails re-routed to my personal account. (Checkable from the bathroom thanks to wireless connectivity.)
…the consultative phone calls on my cellphone…
…the 30 minute teleconference call that I could patch into from the comfort of my bed…
…the video samples to check via a protected web location…

Really, I initiated none of this save my call in to say I wouldn’t be in today because I was sick. I’m the one trying to honour my corpus’ call to take it easy.
And I am not alone in seeking time to be offline.

‘Connectivity Addicts Should Hang Up’, advocates e-Week’s Scott Petersen. Here, here.
He cites a column in the Wall Street Journal’s online edition by columnist Jared Sandberg that takes a look at “how much work can contaminate leisure.” Even this month’s issue of Shape magazine is enouraging its readers to boost their productivity by… leaving work on time and taking a total break until the next business day.

What will it take for us to avoid this latest psychosis of over-eating, over-working, under-loving? It won’t take an asteroid, climate change or other catastrophe to drive humanity to extinction, we’re well on the way to executing that ourselves.



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