Luddites! Oh You Never Heard Of Them? They Had The Answer

History records Luddites simply as 19th C English textile workers who objected to having machinery on the job. Crazy, huh? I mean, everyone knows technology is good. Makes things go faster and easier. But wait, it’s this word “faster” that makes hearts like mine lament the poor Luddites.

Everything today IS faster. So much faster we should have time on our hands. And yet we don’t. People complain they’re working harder not easier than ever. What’s wrong with this equation? I’ll tell you what! And if at first you don’t agree, give it a second thought.

When modern technology makes everything faster [and, yes, in some cases easier], at what cost? The more fast there is, the less slow there is. In other words with the stunning new technological speed in our lives, the cost has to be some of that original slowness in our lives. There simply isn’t as much time anymore to be slow…to be relaxed…to take life more gently.

If that sounds counter-intutive, well it is. So let me illustrate my case.

Before email, skype, and texting, waiting for a reply from someone in your life could actually be an anxious pleasure. A joy of anticipation. A personally crafted message worth waiting to read and perhaps even cherish. Think GI’s like me during the Korean War waiting to hear from their beloved.

Before Toys-R-Us, shopping networks, and E-Bay, waiting for Christmas gifts was a breathless kind of agony we really loved. It made every little token seem so much grander. Seems we’ve forgotten that in today’s technological hurry to start, to do. and to finish Christmas faster and faster.

I was always charmed by the poet who saluted memory as “God’s way to let us have roses in the winter.” Now? Winter be damned, we can rush in roses and strawberries and pretty much anything we want, anytime anywhere. When everything’s that easy and that fast, what’s left that’s special…?

These modest musings about the-way-we-were will not slow down the world. But do me a favor. If — big if! — you can find the time in your hectic schedule, give my lament for the Luddites a moment.

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