Tag Archives: Luddites

A Luddite Wanna Be?


For years that has been what I have been claiming.  I may need to rethink that statement.  Perhaps a little context . . .

Luddites were a loosely based organization of English textile workers in the 19th century who protested against the use of machines.  They were afraid of losing their jobs.  Sound familiar? Protests turned violent, property and people were destroyed.

As so often happens, the movement was co-opted decades later to serve another purpose.  People have used it as a rallying cry against all technology.  It is this cry that forecasts the evils of technology and the demise of modern society.  I beg to differ.

We live longer than we did in the 1800’s. We have cured diseases that once decimated entire communities. We have explored our world and beyond.  Life is good.  Or it could be.  We have unleashed rampart greed and cynicism.  We have generations of lazy users who only want more and someone else to pay for it.  People are dying from diseases we have cured simply because of apathy and avarice.

We are all connected because of technology but that same connectivity is forcing an isolation on us.  We would rather speak into a box than talk openly to a real person. We have lost so much.  Cyber-crimes are common place and picnics are not. The only place you seem to find a large group of people talking to each other is in protests which far too often turn violent.

I remember the days when I would go camping in the wilderness. There was no shower, no bathroom, no convenience store nearby. If you were cold, light a fire. If you wanted light, light a fire. If you were hungry, you guessed it, light a fire. There were no cell phones or Wi-Fi or big screen TVs. We carried snake bite kit’s, just in case. We did have battery operated flashlights for those midnight jaunts to relieve one’s bladder. You did not want to squat down without first checking that there was no poison oak nearby or a hungry rattlesnake out for snack. Yes, it was that kind of camping. And I loved it.

I also love flush toilets and heating and air conditioning and my computer. Well, I loved being in circumstances with no technology but I also recognized that I cannot live that way anymore. I need technology. But it also frightens me. We rely so much on it that we don’t think anymore. A quip I wrote a few years ago: “Kids today don’t have to think, there’s an app for that.” In some ways is not really that funny, it’s true.

I live in a technologically savvy world. I’m not savvy but I do require the technology. I will live with it but I will not forget that it is a tool. Tools need to be used responsibly and then put away. The real world is just outside your front door. No, I do not want to be a Luddite. However . . .