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Modern technology can produce more inconvenience than convenience

Share via Email Mark Boyle: Nor will I get to read comments about my personal hygiene, or suggesting that a luddite like me needs to embrace industrialism. And that is no bad thing, for the moment writing becomes a popularity contest — rewarding sensationalism, groupthink and deceit over honest exploration of complex matters — people and places lose, and those who need to be held to account win.

  1. What we also know is that some choices of action are more convenient than others.
  2. Would he have been offended or appreciative?
  3. Living free is not convenient.

Win, that is, for a shortsighted moment. That means no laptop, no internet, no phone, no washing machine, no tapped water, no gas, no fridge, no television or electronic music; no anything requiring the copper-mining, oil-rigging, plastics-manufacturing essential to the production of a single toaster or solar photovoltaic system.

Having already rejected these industrial-scale, complex technologies, I intend to move fully towards what is pejoratively called primitive technology. That was my experience of living without money for three fine years. I already miss not being able to pick up the phone and talk to my parents.

Writing is different, my pencil unaided by both copy-and-paste and the easy delete, two word-processing functions reflective of a generic, transient and whimsical culture; and it has been a while since the media and publishing worlds worked by snail mail. I decided to eschew complex technology for two reasons.

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The first was that I found myself happier away from screens and the relentless communication they generate, and instead living intimately with my locale. The second, more important, was the realisation that technology destroys, in more ways than one. It destroys our relationship with the natural world. It first separates us from nature, while simultaneously converting life into the cash that oils consumerist society. Not only does it enable us to destroy habitat efficiently, over time this separation has led us to valuing the natural world less, meaning we protect and care for it less.

By way of this vicious technological cycle, we are consciously causing the sixth mass extinction of species.

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Aside from the oceans, rivers, topsoil, forests, mountains and meadows, it helps us massacre and pollute with ever-improving precision and speed, its complex set of cogs quickly spreads us out all over the world, safe in the knowledge that we can stay in touch with loved ones via technologies that offer what is really only a toxic substitute for real connection and time together.

When I walk to the spring to collect water in the morning I meet neighbours and we talk. Yes, it takes time, something I found frustrating at first, but slowness only became a bad thing when time became money.

Walking four miles to the post office to send my letters takes time too, but it ties me to people and place in a way that sitting in my bedroom on my own, writing endless emails, could never do. And look at the state of us.

The convenience and problems of modern technology.

Our toxic, sedentary lifestyles are causing industrial-scale afflictions of cancer, mental illness, obesity, heart disease, auto-immune disorders and food intolerances, along with those slow killers, loneliness, clock-watching and meaninglessness. We seem to spend more time watching porn than we do making love, relationships are breaking down because we stare into screens instead of eyes, while social media are making us antisocial.

Living without complex technology has its own difficulties, especially for people like me who were never initiated into those ways. But already I much prefer it.

Instead of making a living to pay bills, I make living my life.

  1. By way of this vicious technological cycle, we are consciously causing the sixth mass extinction of species. I recall one day he had asked me to come by his home and help him hook up a piece of electronic equipment he had purchased.
  2. That was my experience of living without money for three fine years. How about the materials necessary to produce the device in the first place?
  3. Credit card companies show the check writer slowing down the process but they do not show the consumer who happened to have exact change on hand, or even better, the person who decided they simply didn't require the shopping experience or the items being purchased. Once we understand and grasp the level of control that these temptations place on us with their conditional love, we can begin to assess the importance of the things we think we require for us to be happy.
  4. That means no laptop, no internet, no phone, no washing machine, no tapped water, no gas, no fridge, no television or electronic music; no anything requiring the copper-mining, oil-rigging, plastics-manufacturing essential to the production of a single toaster or solar photovoltaic system. I am talking about living free in terms of being free from any requirement in our lives that is based on the external influences of American Commercialism and its relentless temptations all in the name of convenience.
  5. And you might think that I am implying that our computers like the one I am using to write this article deliver both convenience and satisfy our accountability for our actions, but that would be a mistake. Writing is different, my pencil unaided by both copy-and-paste and the easy delete, two word-processing functions reflective of a generic, transient and whimsical culture; and it has been a while since the media and publishing worlds worked by snail mail.

Of course hand-washing your clothes can be a pain sometimes, but that minor inconvenience is hardly worth destroying the natural world over. Well-intentioned friends often try to convince me to go off-grid, but in using batteries, electrical cables and photovoltaic panels as I once didI would still be connected, by a peculiar sort of invisible cable, to the global network of quarries, factories, courtrooms, mines, financial institutions, bureaucracies, armies, transport networks and workers needed to produce such things.

No fridge, no TV: Despite originally writing these words a technology with a pencil a technology in a hand-crafted cabin a technologythe irony of this being an online blog is not lost on me.

The Inconvenience of Convenience

That is my compromise for now, for if you want to contribute to a healthier society, compromise can be a healthy thing if you know your boundaries. We know that, at the very least, some technologies are harming our natural world, our societies and, ultimately, ourselves. Therefore we can recognise the need to reject some technologies.