Before I start, I would like to point out that I DO believe that technology DOES have a place in modern society; however we should be mindful of the effect that technologies have us personally, the affect on our communities and the affect on the planet. We so often embrace new technologies without a full understanding of the impact they ultimately have, further more we also have a tendency to become so ‘dependant’ on these technologies that we don’t realise what they are doing to us, our communities and the planet.
In Back to The Basics (in case you haven’t read the posts), I did away with as much tech as possible, to see what affect it had on me and my life style. The overall affect has been to make me more conscious of the technologies that I use and the way that I use them.
What really prompted this post was an interview in ‘The Scientist’ with Kirkpatrick Sale a gentleman who describes himself as a Neo-Luddite. So I’ve done a little researched into the Luddite philosophy.
Who Were The Luddites
The Luddites were a social movement of the early 19th Century in England. They destroyed the new automated machinery, as a protest against the advancement of the Industrial Revolution and mechanisation of the textile industry, from where they rose. Their objections were primarily that the automation of the woollen mills was having an adverse effect on both them as individuals and their communities as a whole.
The Neo-Luddites and Reform Luddites
The Luddite movement is still around today in the form of the Neo-Luddites and the more moderate Reform-Luddites. The Neo-Luddites are pretty much the modern day equivalent of the original Luddite movement (with less technology smashing). The Reform-Luddites recognise the many benefits and inevitable advancement of technology, however they are opposed to the adoption of new, seemingly useful innovations that have unanticipated consequences, or even known consequences. The Reform-Luddites are also very much of the thought that it’s up to the individual to either embrace technology or reject it, to make the choice to ‘turn it on’ or ‘turn it off’, but to do so with the full knowledge of the consequences and affects.
I am NOT advocating that we should start smashing up all Tech! What I am saying is that we should be more conscious of the affect that these technologies have on us.
A prime example is genetically modified crops, an advancement that would, on the surface, seem to be generally positive one (disease resistance, increased yields); HOWEVER they have been introduced with little consideration of the affect that they have on the population and the planet as a whole (I plan to discuss GM foods at some point in the future). This is an advancement that has been foisted upon us without giving us the choice to accept or reject it.
Another example would be the mobile telephone; an advancement in technology that undoubtedly has its place in modern society, however the way we chose to use this technology does come into question. The mobile phone is partly to blame (so I believe) in the erosion of common courtesy and good manners.
Social Media web-sites, another example, this one for me is a double edged sword. On one hand it erodes the local communities and face to face interaction. Then on the other hand it builds whole new communities that transcend country boarders.
Technology For Technologies Sake
I know many people who upgrade or embrace new technologies for no other reason than it’s there, with no consideration of the affect that it will have on them.
All I am advocating is that we embrace the technologies consciously, with the full knowledge of all the consequences that come with them, not just for us but also our communities and the planet. Just because a new technology seems to replace an older process doesn’t mean that that process is redundant or useless, nor does it mean that we must embrace this new technology.
We have a choice so chose wisely with a conscious mind, just because it’s new doesn’t mean its better.