I read a comment that someone made once about electricity and how we have come to know it in our lives. He/she referred to electricity as society's "central nervous system". Meaning, that in those rare instances when the grid fails, our collective central nervous systems are hopelessly impaired, to the point where we barely know up from down. For much of history, societies have not known this level of dependency. In fact, energy use as we've come to know it (appliances like washing machines and entertainment devices like televisions) did not really come into fruition until the year 1953, approximately.
There are many converging events that should lead to a discussion on our use of energy, like peak oil and the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. And some people, as evidenced by this Energy Bulletin article, are already pursuing a "non-electric" lifestyle, not by merely living without electricity, but by creating inventions that are variations of appliances that have come to be associated with electricity. A doctor of engineering in Japan has created a refrigerator and a coffee roaster that do not require electricity.