OK, I confess: I’m a Luddite.
What’s a Luddite? For those who have smartphones, you can look it up. For those who don’t, I’ll tell you.
Luddites (purportedly named after a Mr. Ludd) were a loosely organized English saboteur group in the early 1800s who objected to the increasing use of manufacturing machinery on the grounds that it would put many artisans out of work. They went around smashing the offensive machines in hopes that people would understand the economic impact of mechanization on cottage industries.
In modern parlance, Luddites are those who resist embracing the latest whiz-bang technology and long for the old-fashioned way of doing things. Urban Dictionary rather sardonically defines a Luddite as “One who fears technology (or new technology, as they seem pleased with how things currently are … why can’t everything just be the same?).”
Now please don’t get me wrong. Modern technological developments in medicine, industry and personal electronics are a marvel. I love my laptop and the Internet. I appreciate modern medicine more than I can say. Our home purrs along with running water and electric lighting (though we heat with a woodstove).
But for all the new whiz-bang electronic marvels that connect us, doesn’t it seem to you that something is missing? People are less informed, not more. They are less able to form real (rather than virtual) relationships. The impact is especially disturbing on children. Studies are just beginning to confirm what anecdotal evidence has suggested for a long time: that children are becoming dumber and more antisocial thanks to smart technology.
New technology was supposed to be good. I grew up when “The Jetsons” was popular on television. Ditto with “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space.” Technology was valuable, it was noble, it was … The Future.
Well, the future is here, and what do we have? A bunch of tech-addicted zombies walking off cliffs and into walls because they’re too dumb to look up from their tiny little screens. People text their friends not just when they’re in the same room, but even when they’re sitting across the table from each other. This is progress?
We are drowning in information, yet our young people cannot think, reason, or make logical conclusions. Indeed many can hardly write or even speak coherently. But they can text in abbreviations at lightning speed. Wheeee.
Children become wired at such an early age – television, iPads, computer games, cell phones, texting, social media, etc. – that they never learn to look within themselves to harvest the richness of their imagination. If a child does nothing but stare at screens all day, how will he ever figure out how to build a city out of blocks, or construct a car out of Legos, or build a go-cart? How will she ever have a chance to climb a tree and let her imagination turn it into a medieval castle?
Children who grow up with their eyes constantly glued to a screen do not develop the communication skills necessary to look people in the eye, hold meaningful and coherent conversations, and speak clearly in their native language. Now we have toddlers with tablets who become addicted so quickly they are unable to play with building blocks because they lack sufficient motor skills. The horrifying thing is electronic addiction is the single-most preventable barrier to intelligence. Children who never develop motor, verbal, or relationship skills do not develop the synaptic connections in the brain that play a critical role in intelligence.
While I believe it’s necessary for children to have some technology exposure – they’re going to have to get along in this world, after all – it’s important to consider what will benefit them versus what may harm them.
And it’s not just children. Adults are just as addicted to technology, and I have yet to hear a coherent argument as to why this addiction is beneficial, either to our culture or to the individual. All I hear is that it’s fun and lets people “connect” with others (in every way except face-to-face). And now addicted parents are engaged in turning their own children into zombies. Wheee!
It seems technology is invading everything and we are expected to succumb without a whisper of resistance. This leads me to ask: What possible advantages could electronic addictions provide? I can only come up with one conclusion: It’s beneficial to have a population of dumb, incoherent, addicted citizens. It’s so helpful when people drug themselves rather than having someone hogtie them to administer a dosage.
You see, dumb addicted people don’t question things. They’re too busy being dumb and addicted.
Dumb addicted people don’t question Obamacare’s economic impossibility. They just believe what they’re told.
Dumb addicted people don’t question the notions that taxes lead to prosperity, entitlements help people escape poverty, and regulations lead to business success. They just believe what they’re told.
Dumb addicted people believe a $17 trillion debt level is perfectly sustainable and can’t possibly have any future economic repercussions. They just believe what they’re told.
Dumb addicted people believe we should decide national policy on emotional arguments rather than logical and factual assessment.
If I were conspiracy-minded – and I’m not – I might start postulating that all this smart technology’s end result is to dumb us down to the point of utter dependency. After all, a population that can’t glance up from a miniature screen long enough to notice political scandals or the erosion of our constitutional rights won’t even notice when they’ve transitioned from free American citizen into zombie drone. They’ll vote for whatever politician promises them their next electronic fix.
In other words, while I don’t believe our government intentionally caused electronic addiction, it certainly benefits from it. And as anyone with a brain not buried in a smartphone knows, when something is beneficial to government, we get more of it (whether it’s good for us or not). This, if nothing else, encourages me to stay a Luddite and resist the lure of spending my life with my head in the Cloud and my eyes glued to a screen.
The government doesn’t want smart people. It wants dumb slaves. Just something to think about next time you GPS your car into a lake because you didn’t use a road map – or your eyeballs.
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