Justin, I think it’s a deeper philosophical question. There was this video of John Mayer I watched once where he went into this spiel about how he thought relationships, money, fame, or just vacation would bring some semblance of what he’s looking for. Before he launched into his song, he made the statement, “I guess I still haven’t found what I’ve been looking for and this song’s about that.”
In my own life, I’ve noticed trinkets, clothes, and new things can actually make you feel better about yourself. Yesterday I got a new pair of jeans. Today I legitimately feel I look better. Six months from now, I might hate those jeans and think they suck. The new car I bought in 2009 now sucks too, but when I first bought it, it was the bomb. Everything you own is the stuff of future garage sales and thrift stores or on it’s way to the trash heap.
All this to say, whether it’s power, prestige, helping others (which can become emotionally draining after a while), or relationships, it all loses it’s luster eventually. And it’s not due to technology or the culture’s speed, though they definitely play their part in exacerbating it. This is something we’ve been dealing with trying to fix/figure out since the beginning.
Plato and much of Greek philosophy blamed the body and its passions. Rousseau and Romanticism blamed culture in distinction from nature. Psychodynamic psychology would say it’s authority figures in society, whereas someone like Karl Marx would say it’s economic forces at work. The newest blame, of course, is technology and management and has already been explored by men like Martin Heidegger and the existentialists.
For myself, I see it as an eternal longing which can only be fulfilled by an eternal being and which has brought me the greatest amount of peace and fulfillment I’ve ever known. This doesn’t mean that I don’t swing back and forth between looking to temporal things for gratification, but as to meaning and purpose, that’s where I’ve found my answer. I think a big reason why people blame technology or the speed of our society is because it’s easy to see that you’re drinking sand from the same well, and you expect someone to fix the well instead of finally just heading to one that actually has water.