Can you be a luddite and still use a computer, phone, CD player, and all the tech you like? What tech are you against?
The Luddites were a group of exhausted and poverty stricken English workers in the early 19th century. Their susbsistence had been cut off by the enclosure of public lands, and they were forced into the cities to work in the factories. Shortly thereafter, the factory owners began using "new technologies" such as mechanical looms, that left them unemployed. Starving and hopeless, they attacked the technology that put them out of work . . . and were brutally put down by the English authorities. Hanged or deported for their breaking of the looms, they were branded "technology haters" and “anti-progress” and the word Luddite has come down to us today as an epithet.Since I see all tools as technologies, I am not against technology per se. I am against the thoughtless acceptance of every new technology that comes along, especially those developed for profit and war. I think we must carefully consider applications and consequences before we accept new technologies, and not blindly go along for the ride as if every increase of speed and complexity was inevitable. We should ask: what are the human costs of this technology? Are the benefits worth the human price?The issue of which technologies to use personally and which to reject have to be made against the tangled background of the time and culture in which we live. Consciously choosing instead of blindly accepting makes me a Luddite. Scattered apart from our friends by the transience of our times, for example, I am not able to sit down with you at my kitchen table and chat over coffee. I would much prefer that to this, but I value our conversation, so I will use the means at my disposal to do so. Yours is a good question, one that I ask myself every day as I choose which technologies to use and which to reject. I would love to hear from others who struggle with this same issue.For more about the Luddites, and some considered answers to your question, check out:http://science.uniserve.edu.au/newsletter/vol6/bodner.htmlhttp://nhs.needham.k12.ma.us//cur/Baker_00/baker_1800_soc/baker_br_rb_p4/luddites.htmhttp://www.mhhe.com/mayfieldpub/lawhead/chapter1/luddites.htmhttp://greenfield.fortunecity.com/crawdad/213/neolud.html
Thanks for the explanation. I had to look up "luddite" in the dictionary yesterday. Now that I understand I can say I'm probably a luddite, too. We are always the last among our acquaintances to acquire the latest "gadget" - only after much consideration - and some we will never buy! It has to have a positive purpose. Right now I am just amazed at the tech that allows Peter to call home from Singapore and sound like he's next door. And now he's flying home from the other side of the world in 24 hours. I think that's a miracle!
Right now I am reading "The Ecology of Everyday Life," by Chaia Heller. It is challenging in some ways as it calls me out on my own patriarchal tendencies toward separating nature from human, thereby objectifying "nature." But it does include some interesting thoughts on the technologies and other issues related to this blog.
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