Me, the Luddite
One day at work a co-worker said to me, “You’re kind of a luddite, aren’t you?” He didn’t mean to be rude, and I did not take him that way. But his understanding is that I am not a fan of many modern technologies, my proficiency with them is limited (largely by choice), and this prefaced his decision to begin a conversation intending to recommend some technology favorably to me with the luddite remark as a means of broaching the topic of the technology in a round about way. It’s pretty strange round about-ness, though.
I have often commented that I prefer books to computers and electro-magnetically programmed discs, because books are real and lasting whereas the computer technologies are “virtual”(and, therefore, not “real”) and grossly limited by the (quickly outdated by accelerating technological development in accordance with Moore’s Law - the proposition that the computing power of computers doubles every 18-months). I did not have a computer at home until 2001. Even now I still do not have a cellular telephone. In a similar vein, I prefer cash to credit card, because cash is “real,” and legal tender. Also, because I prefer immediacy. Purchasing goods in cash means that the goods are mine outright and immediately, with no delayed payment or equivocal ownership.
I am a film camera guy. Although I recently acquired a digital camera for the first time, I still depend on my old film camera and prefer it. This will change, of course, as I learn to use the digital camera. But my film camera cost a lot of money, and it still works really well with good results. Even though it is a few years old already, I want to continue using it to feel that I get all my money’s worth out of it. I have noted before my observation that the people around me often rave about their digital cameras. But I am always the one with the pictures when they have nothing to show for all their boasting about digital cameras. The problem is that they are easily stymied incompatibility between their cameras’ programming and the programming in the computers that they want to print up their photos on. While they are talking about and fooling around with CD drives, operating systems, etc. I go out to a shop and have my film developed. Then I can scan the prints into the computer. With my old film camera I am still faster, more efficient and comprehensive than those technology slobs.
I admit that I am conservative. But I am not a luddite, by which I mean, I am certainly not antagonistic to modern technologies and do not want to toss my sabots into them. Truly, much of what is available now on home computers, on the internet, miniaturized in cellular telephones, etc. are a truly fantastic array of intrusions into our lives disguised as “convenience.” I think people are too rash to praise this convenience by overlooking or disregarding the intrusions that they represent. But still, I feel no antipathy towards them and I certainly do not advocate destruction of technology and devolution to a past condition of simpler, more mechanical means. Rather, I am more apathetic towards the technologies and just do not care about many of them, which is why I routinely ignore them for so long. I do not have a cell phone because I do not care about cell phones. That is all. So it seems that people interpret/confuse my air of passive uninterest and apathy with active belligerence. I will put it on my list of common confusions in society: for example, the confusions of sex with love; money with success; schooling with education; religion with faith; law with justice; wit with intelligence; yes with no; vice with virtue; selfishness with altruism; lies with truth; etc.