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EMF Studies

03 January 2017

Technology Destroys People and Places. I'm Rejecting It

Mark Boyle:  'Technology separates us from nature, while
simultaneously converting life into the cash that oils
consumerist society.'  
Photo:  Sam Frost
"I decided to eschew complex technology for two reasons. 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."

Technology destroys people and places. I’m rejecting it
by Mark Boyle, The Guardian, 
19 December 2016

From Wednesday, I’m going to live without my laptop, internet, phone, washing machine or television. I want my life back. I want my soul back

I’ll never know how many people liked this article, shared it or found it irrelevant, anti-progressive or ironic. 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. Win, that is, for a shortsighted moment.

The reason I won’t see any web reaction is because I live in a cabin – built with spruce, oak, hands, straw, Douglas fir, stubbornness, earth and knees – without electricity or so-called modern conveniences (I’ve never found doing the work to buy and maintain them particularly convenient).

From Wednesday, I’m rejecting the world of complex technology entirely. 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. Insofar as engaging with civilisation allows, I’m also trying to resist the modern domination of what Jay Griffiths, in Pip Pip, calls clock time – and failing daily.

That probably sounds like I’ve given up a lot of stuff. But while I intend to be clear and honest about the difficulties involved over the coming months, especially in the digital age, I’m just as fascinated in exploring what lessons about life – myself, society, the natural world – I might learn; perhaps things my cyborg-mind cannot yet imagine. That was my experience of living without money for three fine years.

Rejecting technologies that my generation considers to be the basic necessities of life wasn’t done on a thoughtless whim. 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. 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.

Continue reading:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/19/life-without-technology-rejecting-technology

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