Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jayber Crow

I just finished a novel by Wendell Berry entitled, Jayber Crow. I loved it. I don't read much fiction (I really should read more), so it was extremely refreshing.

I was deeply affected by his agrarian, small town sensibilities. The idea of the slow, patient, life, entirely lacking ambition or competitiveness, is a balm to a modern soul. At times, and perhaps still, it was difficult to understand, given the saturation of my mind with TV and high-speed internet, fast-food and microwave ovens.

I had a conversation today with a friend who virtually balked at my suggestion that some technological advancements have not been good for humans. It seems that we are no more likely to stop and consider the acceptance of newer and faster machines and computers than we are to stop and consider the acceptance of the lottery jackpot if we were to win. When we are presented with something that will allegedly increase pleasure, convenience, or efficiency, there is no hesitation. Our arms and mouths are open wide.

It has been said that the devil's doctrine is this: whatever can be done, should be done.

I'm no Ted Kaczynski, but I think it should at least be an open question whether technology is helping or harming our humanity.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jill Pole said...

I have aften wondered if air conditioning was a good thing. (as I duck from the things flying at my head...) Air conditioning has moved us inside. I don't want to idealize the past, but I truly think that air conditioning is the primary reason that I don't know my neighbors. People used to sit out on the front porch or lawn to catch a breeze. One of the main ways to stay cool was to be outside in the evening. This led to chatting between the neighbors. I wish we still had that. (Another factor - backyard fences...why do we isolate ourselves so much??)

10:54 AM  
Blogger chris said...

I think that's an excellent example. The question that haunts me is, "what do we do?"

4:43 PM  

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