“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
— Henry David Thoreau, in Walden
Ah, the simple life …
Waking up before dawn. Growing, hunting, and foraging for food. Living in the peace and tranquility of nature — unencumbered by the rapid pace and complexity that accompanies modern technology.
There’s something uniquely satisfying — to some — about being able to rely solely on your own abilities to provide the basic necessities of life.
That appeal, in recent years, has carried over in many ways into popular culture as well, evidenced by the catalogues of “simple life” reality television shows — the programs that take us deep into the wilderness to unlock the life lessons taught by those living in a bygone era.
The appeal only goes so far, though. For most of us, it’s pure entertainment, not a way of life.
Admittedly, I’m a little biased. I’m far more of a prepp-y than a prepp-er. But I don’t buy it. I’m convinced Thoreau would have felt differently if he’d had an iPhone. Today, discovering that you “had not lived” likely means that you’re a week into your new Netflix subscription.
Often, we’ll misappropriate the term “off-the-grid” to the lifestyle of the subjects of these shows. We assume the term means “autonomy from electricity.”
While they may in fact be living “off-grid,” most are providing for their electrical needs through stand-alone systems or other (often highly intuitive) methods of generation. Even in their self-reliance, they rely in some part on electricity.
There’s no escaping the role that electricity has played and continues to play in society, culture, and innovation. It’s not an overstatement to say that it has revolutionized the world. Availability of electricity remains among the chief criteria in determining the socioeconomic classification of nations.
And if you haven’t noticed, it’s pretty important to us in this industry as well.
So this month, as Wind Systems looks at “electrical” segments of the industry, I urge you take a few moments to reflect on just how far the advent of electricity has brought us. It’s pretty amazing.
But it’s nothing compared to the potential that lies in the decades and centuries to come.
Thanks for reading,