Contemp Culture, Technology

I am a luddite, I am a hypocrite

I am typing this a few hours after Apple’s “big event” in which they announced their new tablet device.  I would be lying if I tried to pretend I hadn’t been watching with some interest preceding the event, or if I tried to pretend I didn’t watch some of the live streaming updates from the event as it happened.  This post is less about any specific device, technology, hype, etc. and more about two confessions that I felt like writing about after the event transpired.

I am a luddite.  During the Industrial Revolution, a band of people opposed to the technological and industrial changes based largely on the threat to the job security of working class individuals moved about factories and destroyed mechanical looms and other machines.  I always laughed at the thought of this, but have come to think and reflect on the negative and unhealthy effects of technology on our world.  I love post-industrial dystopian young adult literature (such as The Giver and Feed) that paint pictures of what technology, at its worst, does to society and culture.  The thought of the money, fascination, and worship we afford technology (particularly technology aimed at providing/creating entertainment media) in our culture while billions of people struggle with basic human needs makes me uneasy.  Is it okay to have so many resources devoted to providing for the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy while much of the global population struggles to reach the very basic level?

I am a hypocrite.  I have always loved technology, and been fascinated by gadgets.  I am writing this from a coffee shop, drinking a drink that I did not need (and one that does not really benefit me nutritionally).  I am using a laptop computer, made by the same company that triggered these feelings, and am connected to an elite, wealthy, discriminatory global club we call the internet.  My cell phone “only” allows me to call anyone I want for free, take pictures on a “crappy” camera the size of a dime, and send text messages to anyone I want.

But there’s a tension between these two, and it’s one I don’t always know how to resolve.  Anyone else feel the same?  Am I the only one who feels like breaking all of my crap in the hopes that it might help me feel more connected and more human?

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3 thoughts on “I am a luddite, I am a hypocrite

  1. I really resonate with your feelings. I have recently noticed my own hypocrisy when I complain about the entertainment industry and then reorient my weekly schedule around watching sporting events.

    But don’t break all of your crap. Offer it to me first!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Technology is a Vampire (or Why Facebook Will Eat Your Soul) | can't catch my breath

  3. Sheila says:

    Thank you for putting this out there (here), Dave. I’m in northern Vermont, teach HS Environmental Science, and do my best to practice what I preach but every day- since I was 14 years old, I have not been able to reconcile the tension I feel in the human experience. I spend time in the woods, but not without my techie gear. When I see roadkill I am angry that the automobile and oil companies hijacked rail and trolley systems, and say a prayer for the roadkill- as I drive by…….
    Today I googled Luddite hypocrisy to see if anyone else is stuck in this muck, wondering, do I operate within an ethical system of convenience over principle?

    Like

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