I’m thinking of becoming a Luddite. We are being over-teched to death. Soon, I won’t be able to use cash, check, credit card, or debit card at 7-Eleven. I saw it online so it must be true! How in the world am I going to pay for my Diet Dr. Pepper?
Seriously, I do think technology is overrated. Sometimes we embrace technology for the sake of technology. I think it was my brother, the computer systems analyst, that labeled me a Luddite. I had to look it up. The fact that I had to look it up must make me a Luddite. People make fun of me, too. Maybe I’m not a Luddite; perhaps I’m just a grumpy old man. I used to be an early adopter, but it got to be too expensive. You’ll probably need to look up what an early adopter is. I offer this as evidence. I once paid $4,000 each for the first two HP LaserJet IIs in Salt Lake City. You can now buy virtually the same capability at Walmart or on Amazon for around $100 if you’re curious.
So, What Is A Luddite?
A Luddite is a person who is opposed to new technology or ways of working. That’s me! A good Luddite synonym would probably be a technophobe. But technophobe doesn’t convey the same sense of irrational hostility as Luddite does. A Luddite is against technology for the sake of technology. Just because a computer programmer or system analyst says “we can do it” doesn’t mean that it needs to be done.
How did the Luddites get their name?
The name Luddite is of uncertain origin. That figures. No one will take responsibility for it. The movement was said to be named after Ned Ludd, an apprentice who allegedly smashed two stocking frames in 1779 and whose name had become emblematic of machine destroyers. Historically, the Luddites were a secret oath-based organization of English textile workers in the 19th century, where a radical faction destroyed textile machinery as a form of protest. The group was protesting the use of machinery in a “fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labor practices according to Wikipedia. Things got pretty serious for a while in the early 1800s.
In 1812, machine-breaking became a crime punishable by death and 17 men were executed the following year. The Luddites were very effective, and some of their biggest actions involved as many as a hundred men, but there were relatively few arrests.
Neo-Luddism is a leaderless movement of non-affiliated groups who resist modern technologies and dictate a return of some or all technologies to a more primitive level. Neo-Luddites are characterized by one or more of the following practices: passively abandoning the use of technology, harming those who produce technology, advocating simple living, or sabotaging technology. The modern neo-Luddite movement has connections with the anti-globalization movement, anti-science movement, anarcho-primitivism, radical environmentalism, and deep ecology. Wow! That’s a lot of big words. Who knew?
Neo-Luddism is based on the concern of the technological impact on individuals, their communities, and/or the environment, Neo-Luddism stipulates the use of the precautionary principle for all new technologies, insisting that technologies be proven safe before adoption, due to the unknown effects that new technologies might inspire.
Just between you and me, that all sounds like a bunch of gobbledygook. I’m sure I’m not a neo-Luddite.
Too much tech
I’m one who happens to think that we are over teched. How did I transition from early adopter to Luddite? Do I really need to have more computing power than the Sperry Univac in the palm of my hand? Probably not. There is more wattage in my stereo system than there was in the first radio station I ever ran. Seems like overkill. If I don’t need such high tech in my golden years, I’m pretty sure my 4-year-old great-grandson doesn’t need it either. Just go outside and play. Eat worms! Do something non-electric! Do I really need 200 channels of content streaming into my smart TV? I still just watch three or four channels like we did when we only had three or four channels.
It seems to me that high touch (or actual people-oriented customer service) and hi-tech are mutually exclusive. Personally, I prefer the high touch scenario. I like high quality, involved customer service no matter what the product is. In the pell-mell rush to technology, I’m afraid something very important is being lost.
So, perhaps I’m a Luddite. I haven’t broken up a loom in ages. I don’t know if I qualify. What do you think? Are you a Luddite? Leave a comment below.
By the way, the best news is that there aren’t any meetings to attend.
At least that’s the way I see it!
The Senior Observer