This is a bit of a segue from my last post. I ran across an article about Elton John's interview, Why we Must Close the Net. It started me thinking about all the people I've known who passionately avoid some form of technology.

I've known a couple of folks who refused to own a phone. A friend from high school has refused to watch television all of her adult life. She wouldn't have one in the house, except that she was overruled by her husband & kids. At this point in my life, I know several people who refuse to own or use a computer. I even have to include myself in this. I and several of my friends and acquaintances refuse to have a microwave oven (see How I Inadvertently Came to Fear my Microwave).

Although there seems to be a general assumption that technology is integral to everyone's life, it actually isn't. For a lot of people, it isn't even welcome. I once had to read Future Shock by Alvin Toffler for a sociology class. It's interesting to me that after 30 years, the popular suspicion and dread of technology has almost complete disappeared, except for these isolated idiosyncracies. Yet, at the same time, we seem to be just beginning to wake up to the consequences of unbridled consumption.

I wouldn't begin to consider giving up my TV, much less my phone or computer. On the other hand, I gladly gave away my microwave. Now I hardly ever miss it. It's just very rarely that I wish I could nuke a bowl of soup when I'm really tired.

This past spring, in the interests of environmentalism, I stopped using my dryer and put up a clothesline. I actually really enjoyed going outside and hanging clothes when the weather was pleasant. I haven't done that since June, though, when it got into the 90's. I suppose I could continue doing it on the occasional nights when it cools off a little, if I had some light out there.

When I think about what else I might be able to live without, I imagine that I probably could adjust to giving up my TV. I might even be able to give up my computer {gasp!}. I'm not giving up my phone, or my air conditioning, but there are a lot of technological things that aren't really essential to my well-being or happiness.

One of my happiest memories is of spending a week in a cabin with no electricity. Although it can be nice to have some conveniences (like a refrigerator), it isn't really necessary to have all the things we feel that we have to have in the modern world. We've just gotten used to them. If global warming and oil shortages become more pressing, we may all have a chance to see what we can give up.

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