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Why Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy

March 11, 2011

[Another guest post from Thomas Siebert, VP at Digitaria]

Man, let’s hope my panel picking gets better.

“Why Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy,” might have been a very funny and mildly insightful comedy routine by Louis CK, but the panel that swiped its name for SXSWi was neither.  In fact, it pretty much betrayed the central point of CK’s bit, which (if I understand him correctly) is that technology has spoiled us and you’re never going to find happiness through material objects.

Instead, the two-man bland who tried to connect with the SRO meeting room–as it experienced a sustained exodus that left it roughly half full–mostly tried to get audience members to suggest technologies that made them happy, made them better people.

There were backhanded acknowledgments of technological impatience and superficiality, but the core question that the panel title suggests was never seriously broached.  Nobody even suggested that maybe there’s a difference between lasting happiness and superficial pleasure, that technology mostly speeds us up to ADD levels, and that perhaps everyone at their core understands that technology isn’t going to save us from the deeper, unsettling problems that aren’t being addressed–massive worldwide debt, global warming, increased discrepancies of haves and have nots, etc.–and, in fact, may be making them worse.

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