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Low Tech Living in a High Tech World

Low Tech Living in a High Tech World

j0438332It’s so easy to get caught up in the technological marvels of the 21st century. High-speed internet access and wi-fi at every corner. Cordless telephones and cellphones to keep in touch everywhere we go. Computers and email have far eclipsed fax machines and typewriters. We can bring our entire music collection with us in our pockets so we always have something to listen to, and more and more we can bring our libraries as well. Even cooking is high-speed, with microwaves and prepared convenience foods.

Still … there are lessons to be learned.

Let’s wax nostalgic for a moment, shall we? Let’s all think of those golden days of yore when people lounged on their front porches drinking lemonade; when children played ball in the street. Let’s remember a time when…

  • We put letters in the mail and were happy to wait one or two weeks before we got a response.
  • We did not expect answers to be instantaneous.
  • We were happy visiting the library for books to read or to reference.
  • We regularly met with our friends in person, and even dropped into each others’ houses regularly.
  • We understood that travel could be an adventure to be savored, not a hassle to be rushed through.
  • We wrote long, thoughtful, descriptive letters to friends, family, and even near-strangers, just as a way of keeping in touch and sharing our lives.
  • We wrote them by hand, usually in ink, while sitting at a desk and relishing the feel of the pen in our hand and the texture of the paper under the nib. (Oh, and we had the penmanship to match.)
  • We had telephones that stayed in one place, so that we couldn’t walk all over the house while on a call–instead, we stayed in one place and focused on the conversation.
  • We took the time to do things well and thoroughly, without worrying about tight deadlines or the need to get on to the next thing.
  • We understood that the world was wide and relished the communities we built close to home.
  • We went to school to learn to think, not just to get passing grades, and then we took that ability to think to create the world we wanted to live in.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the urgent forward movement of progress. The desire to discover the “next new thing,” and to play with all the new gadgets is tempting to say the least. Because, let’s admit it, they’re fun.

As much as I always wanted to go back and really see what history was like, I would not want to give up any of my modern conveniences. I love email and twitter to connecting to my friends. I can’t imagine life without internet access any more than I could imagine not having light (or air conditioning). And I really, really like my indoor plumbing, thank you.

It’s important, though, to remember how far we’ve come. To look back to acknowledge the progress we’ve made, the changes that have occured … and to note the little grace notes of life that may have been drowned out in technology’s hum.

Even with my appreciation for the past, I wouldn’t want to live there. It was hot without air conditioning, and I’m not fond of growing my own food. But, still, some things were valuable, and some skills should be saved. I cook from scratch, and bake my own bread. I spin yarn and knit it into sweaters and socks. I like these things but I’m not going to give up my jeans or the convenience of a grocery store.

And the internet. I say we definitely keep that. Or how would you leave me comments?

11 thoughts on “Low Tech Living in a High Tech World

  1. --Deb

    Kelvin–Yes, if you could do that, that would be great … then we just need the addresses of all the other commenters so I can forward it on, but think what fun! Love it…

    Elizabeth–I actually got a letter yesterday, the first hand-written letter I’ve received in AGES, and it’s incredible how happy it made me. The real drawback? If I send a hand-written letter BACK, the poor fellow’s not going to be able to read it, my handwriting’s gotten so bad. Typed into Word, printed, then mailed in an envelope is close, right? What if I use a handwriting font?

  2. Melissa Donovan

    I can’t tell you how much I love the Internet. So, I’m definitely not willing to give that up. Or my iPod or iPhone. I shudder at the thought of records, tapes, and CDs or being tethered to a wall when I’m on the phone. Hmph. Technology can’t keep up fast enough for me! Hehee.

    But I would love to grow my own food. I dream of having fruit trees and a vegetable garden and time to tend them. And I love to cook from scratch too. Some of our advancements may be convenient, but they aren’t all so healthy.
    .-= Melissa Donovan´s last blog ..Writing Resources for Naming Your Characters =-.

  3. --Deb

    In terms of food, I think the more technology that’s involved, the worse it is. Overly processed foods, unhealthy cooking methods, no time for proper meals … all of that is bad, bad, bad. Instant information around the world? Wonderful. Trekking food items thousands of miles instead of just eating something grown locally? Bad. I admit, I don’t have a garden and get most of my food at the local grocery store, but I try to get it as little-processed as possible. I like to cook!

  4. Walter

    We are creature of habit Deb. Having been in a world full of conveniences, we would not want to trade this for the old ways. I wouldn’t! Let us leave the past to the past, we belong to the present, and let’s make the best of it. 🙂

  5. --Deb

    Walter, it’s true–the past is the past, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have valuable lessons to teach. Things that basic survival depends on aren’t always reliable. You never know what old, almost-forgotten skills are going to be needed, desperately. You can’t live in the past (and shouldn’t), but retrospective visits are healthy.
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..Low Tech Living in a High Tech World =-.

  6. Pat

    I have been in Technology for the past 15 years,. and if there is nothing else that i have learned,. it’s that Technology gets us fat, stupid and lazy. We turned off the cable 2 years ago, My kids know what Maps and Phonebooks are,. and who Mr. Rogers was. I am sickened by all these people that can’t get by without their iPhone, it’s absurd. I am not striving to be a homesteader (at least not at this point),… but I want to get things back to a much simpler time. My family is uncommon is this day,. as all 6 of us actually eat dinner together average 6 nights a week. I am looking for help in getting back to the way things were when I was a kid. PLease let me know of any updates you have!!