The hard strip of pulverized rock and chemicals I drive on allows me to work over 65 miles from where I live. The machine I drive serves the same purpose. If it weren't for these two structures, my employment options would be severely limited. I would have to choose between working locally or living off what I could grow or hunt.
The machines on the pulverized rock also bring food from all over the world to a nearby building where I can trade my time and labor (represented by paper) to get this food. The machines also bring things I buy on the internet with my work paper directly to my house. Mainly, they bring entertainment for when I'm not working, but also tools to make working on other things I bought easier and quicker. These tools save me time so I can either make more work paper (repeat purchase options above) or spend more time being entertained with what I have purchased. Sometimes I buy books which are both entertaining and educational so my life can be even more entertaining, efficient, and fulfilling in the long term (whatever that means). I also stockpile my labor in assets which give me a sense of long-term security and improve my day-to-day feelings and attitude.
In short, the machines we have created compile to create a much different system of living than has existed in the past. We recognize this complexity, particularly through comparison to past decades, but often we fail to realize how optional it all is. There are now more machines and technology, more options and systems, more paperwork than ever, but our needs have not changes. If managed incorrectly, the benefits of the new life are lost on us. We have so more information and experience available to us through options and technology, through co-dependence and specialization, but if we take on too much and unable to manage this "new life" we are unable to realize these benefits. We may as well go back to a way of living that requires making everything for oneself directly with limited resources.
The more you have, the more you are dependent on others to maintain it. The more you have, the harder you have to work and the less time you have to enjoy what you have. One can dedicate decades to becoming fairly wealthy only to find oneself caught up in a nightmare of maintenance, paperwork, and assaults on all sides-- the insurance, taxes, car repairs, lawn maintenance, hair cuts, restaurant menus, schools, interior decorations, pets, motorcycles, boats, vacation houses, rentals, and oh so much paperwork. Is it worth it?
I want to see where all these machines take us as a collective-- but are we happier? If we could get the government to spray seeds from helicopters instead of bug spray, I'd be content to roam the earth, hiking in the woods, playing on a swing-set, having long discussions with other roamers. But this contentment is only possible now that I know what I know as a result of our machines. Would I really want to revert? I think not.