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Is There a Technology Resistance? PDF Print E-mail
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by Peter Crabb   
13 November 2009
The driving force behind the anthropogenic destruction of Planet Earth is locked inside our skulls. Neuroscientists are just beginning to identify the neural networks of the Technological Mind, but one thing is certain: the irresistible impulse to use tools is the product of natural selection over the last 1.5 million years, and so it is probably more deeply ingrained than even our impulse to use language. Our most tool-savvy ancestors were the ones who best survived the daily threat of predators and who were able to exploit food resources that were out of reach for their hapless untooled neighbors. A feedback loop between tool use, survival, and reproduction drove the evolution of the species in the direction of complete dependence on technology. As descendants of those clever animals, our evolved brains find it difficult even to imagine life without technology.

And so our Technological Minds drive us daily to use tools to do virtually everything we want to do, often to the point of pathological compulsion and environmental devastation. When a large proportion of 7 billion Technological Minds has access to vast tool kits of energy-guzzling, polluting, and dangerous technologies, it is entirely predictable that the nest will sooner or later become fouled. That fouling is abundantly evident today in the form of global warming and climate change, habitat loss, species extinction, and the poisoning of the soil, water, and air—all products of the technological way of life.

An interesting thing about the human mind, though, is that it is capable of astonishing flexibility. Even the relentless Technological Mind must have some room for alternative decision-making and action. This raises the question of whether there are people who intentionally resist the tidal wave of technotoys that floods our lives, or whether just about everyone is mesmerized by the junk technology of our times.

While web sites like Culture Change and Primitivism (primitivism.com) provide wonderful countercultural perspectives on the disastrous technological society, there does not seem to be an organized technology resistance. Perhaps that is because technology is presently the main organizing mechanism for all social movements (Culture Change postings aren’t sent by smoke signals!), and technology resistors (naturally) would tend to decline to be so organized.

Culture Change readers, though, seem to be folks who would be technology resistors to some degree. Perhaps as an electronic community we can put our minds together to collectively think about how to overcome the problems our technologies have created for ourselves, our communities, and the planet.

If you are someone who intentionally refuses to use any of the modern technologies now at our disposal, I would like to hear from you. Please email me (pbcrabb [at] verizon [dot] net) your stories about technologies you avoid using, why you don’t use them, and alternative low-tech solutions that you have discovered. The technologies that you might resist include those involved in:

Transportation
Communication
Work
Gardening, farming
Food preparation and preservation
Landscaping
Construction
Education
Entertainment
And anything else you can think of
To get a rough idea about the demographics of technology resistors, it would be helpful if you would kindly include your age and occupation.

An article summarizing readers’ tales about their technology resistance will appear in a future edition of Culture Change. Hopefully, these stories will confirm that a critical mass of people isn’t going along with the technoflow. And hopefully we can encourage others to resist, too.

EDITOR'S NOTE: the survey took place and was compiled. See the write-up at The Technology Resisters: A Reader Survey.


Peter Crabb is a social psychologist who pursues a low-tech life in rural northeastern Pennsylvania. He can be reached at pbcrabb [at] verizon [dot] net.

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Readings

“Technology Traps”, by Peter Crabb. Culture Change, Nov. 10, 2008: culturechange.org

"Fall of the Technological World", by Jan Lundberg. Culture Change Letter #204, Oct. 7, 2008: culturechange.org

Comments (5)Add Comment
i dont like technology or the direction in which it is taking us - and as of today i intend to resist technology as much as possible - although at the same time it feels impossible as we are forever chained to technology - but everyday i intend to try and lead the resistance
Aj
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you resist technology by using technology...interesting ;)
LeoFromClass
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You people are always saying the same thing without ever thinking, so I'll do the thinking for you: it's called fighting fire with fire. For example, Ted Kaczynski is against technology but made bombs using technology in order to get his message out; he's fighting fire with fire to get his point across about how seriously threatening large-scale technology is. How else do you expect to get the word out in this day and age, especially when everything is infested with technology? I can't even go to an anti-technology rally in another state without driving a car or taking the bus! So instead of compromising, why not just use technology to destroy technology, since it's already there and makes things easier? Of course, simpletons like you only see the "hypocrisy," yet always fail to see the primary purpose and goal of the "big picture," which is to get rid of large-scale technology (not small-scale like the bow and arrow) BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. But I can't fault you because people like you with simple minds can't think too much. :)

And besides, using technology to destroy technology is rather poetic, don't you think? :)
AC
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@AC you sound like a terrorist. Only extremists like yourself have such an ignorant mentality, you are the simple minded!. Be very careful with what you post online for the public to read.
A
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I resist purchasing the latest version of electronic gadgets, including iphones or whatever. At school, I teach math. The square root of 4 is still 2, regardless of whether I draw a picture, memorize it, or use a scientific calculator (which is what has become the expensive and environmentally destructive "norm."). In my personal life, I still use a flip phone and email on my once "new" desktop computer. I don't text. Am I a luddite? So be it. In other words, if there is a true need for technology, okay. But just because something is new and available doesn't mean I should be expected to rush out to buy it. But that's today's mindset for many people. I like turning off the computer and read a book.
Bill
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