I’m no Luddite

I’ve been having a conversation with someone over email about what it is that I’m hoping to accomplish by hating technology. This will follow a bit of a rant, but I want this out first.

These are some of the ideas I’m planning for the cabin, but I’m not going to fall apart if they don’t happen. First step is building the bloody thing, so everything else will naturally come later, if at all. If this doesn’t make people realize what I’ve been saying all along about technology is tongue-in-cheek, I don’t know what will.

If I have microcontrollers and such governing everything from light and heat to detecting whether it’s time for my shower and pre-heating the water and starting the bathroom fan; I want it to just work as if my home knows me. I want it to unlock the front door when it detects I’m near via RFID or via the Bluetooth on my phone. I want it to call me when it’s running low on fuel for heat, there’s lightning nearby and it needs to shut of all electrical power or if someone is trying to break in.

If none of these come to fruition, guess what, I’ll go about as normal.

These are just ideas floating around my head, but note: All have a purpose.

I’m not anti-technology. I’m anti having my life consumed by it.

The whole point of simplifying my life and moving to a cabin isn’t so I can go “to hell with technology”. It’s “to hell with having to crave it so much all the time without reason or purpose”.

This is something I’ve been criticized for by several readers by email in the past and I don’t think it’s really fair to call me a Luddite in any sense of the term. The only reason I responded to this email is because it was one of the more calmly composed ones; the rest, I just ignore.

Although I’ve repeatedly stated that I hate technology, what I really hate is having to look at it and, even more than that, having to tend to it as if my life revolves around it. I’ve said this all these years and it’s been on my About page for just as long:

I believe the best kind of technology stays out of your way when not needed.
Appears and does it’s job with minimal input when needed.
Upon completion of its task, quietly disappears into the background.

When technology serves its purpose well, we don’t even know it’s there.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

– Arthur C. Clarke

We’re living in a culture of seeking technology for the sake of its existence and this to me is completely pointless. Technology works for us and not the other way around and I don’t see how drooling over the latest gadget/toy/e-placebo will make me any happier.

In fact, we have definite proof that things can’t make you happy and not having these pointless cravings satiated have the exact same effect.

Lovely, eh?

Tell me how my aversion to flashy technology and all things new because they’re new is in any way worse than this.


5 thoughts on “I’m no Luddite

  1. Pingback: Heating the Cabin | This page intentionally left ugly

  2. “Other than a camaro and an iPad this Christmas sucks.” Holy shit sticks, Batman.

    Even moreso than technology vanishing into the background once its task is done: I think it should be invisible all the time, except when it absolutely requires input to perform its function. I know I spend entirely too much of every day tooling around on my smartphone for absolutely no constructive reason; it bugs the crap out of me whenever I’m not using it, but when I am, it’s like it’s fulfilling some addiction center in my brain and I just can’t put it down.

    Ugh. I hate it. I absolutely hate it.

    • Ah, I went into remission from that disease when I spent some time in West Virginia at a meditation center. It was only for a couple of days, but there are literally no luxuries and no cell reception. Despite the urge to dive into my phone, it’s quite a bit hard when I can’t plug in a charger. I loved it!

      There is one app that I’m addicted to, called Pulse, and it’s available on the iPhone now too. I usually make the excuse that I’m not really “playing” on the phone so much as catching up on my favorite reads.

      Sometimes I have to drop the phone, walk out to the balcony and yell “BLAST YE VILE HARLOT! WHY DO YOU TEMPT ME WITH THY JELLY BEAN?!”.

      And then I go back inside when the neighbors start staring.

  3. Jeesh. That Christmas Shopping Section was pretty scary, E. I seriously doubt you’re a Luddite of any description. *I* am a Luddite, having just returned an Ipad after armed struggle with Verizon. Don’t need it, don’t want it, thank you,and yes it IS lovely. There is a strange dynamic going on now with all this digital/technological STUFF. Because that’s what it is, STUFF. Not all that important in the final analysis. It takes a bit of withdrawal time but is well worth it to realize you actually will not die if you don’t connect with tech 24/7. So. Carry on! I’ll be following your cabin development eagerly.

    • Ah, the iPad will only bring productivity with an internet connection. Without a stable latter, the former is just eye-candy, I’m afraid. Very nice eye-candy, but eye-candy nonetheless.

      Verizon is a unique species. Connecticus Urbanicas is notorious for its selective unreliability. If you live in a city environment, the reliability is quite steady. Move away from that comfort zone, even just a bit, and suddenly it refuses to show that bright red plume.

      Stuff is the reason we’re driving ourselves mad for no reason, really. That temporary withdrawal is a small pain in the side in the grand scheme of things.

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