My own prompt – The Modern Luddites

Here is an extract from my new dystopian WIP about the modern luddites. Did you know there were modern luddites? Let me know in the comments.

From the handwritten notes of Lisa Robinson

After the talk, David wanted to stay for a while and talk to other attendees and Nelson Ferguson about the development of a Modern Luddite manifesto. I had never heard of Chellis Glendinning and the Neo-Luddite Manifesto he developed in 1990 which contained additional points the Modern Luddites planned to include in their document.

“Chellis Glendinning philosophised that the impact of new technologies on society, economies and politics should be fully considered and critiqued before their implementation, including what will be gained through its introduction, and what will be lost, and by whom. His view was holistic and he advocated that the impact of new technologies on natural systems, the environment and all living beings, not just humans, should be assessed,” said a young man with thick glasses and an intense look who David introduced as Jack Fitchett.

“That’s interesting,” I said, “and it sounds like a sensible way of approaching the use of technology.”

“Yeah, I agree. His manifesto had four main points which many of us in this group are striving to have incorporated in some way into our new manifesto. I am in favour of the preservation of jobs too,” he smiled and nodded his head, “but jobs won’t be much good to any of us if we destroy the planet, will they?”

“No, they won’t,” I agreed. What are the four points you referred to?”

“Firstly, the Neo-Luddites favoured the dismantling of destructive technologies, in particular, nuclear, chemical, genetic engineering and electromagnetic technologies, the production of which pose significant health risks to humans. I am pro the inclusion of this principle in our manifesto. The original document also called for the dismantling of television and computer technologies as they claimed these result in a centralized mind-controlling force, enhanced centralized political power, a disruption of community life and the removal of people from a direct experience of life.  I don’t support Chellis Glendinning’s point of view of those two technologies as I believe that, used correctly, television and computers offer many benefits to humanity.”

“I agree with you about television and computers. They are a great source of entertainment and I can’t imagine my life without them. They are also good sources of news and education. I always check the weather and the news so that I know what’s going out around me.”

“The second point relates to the creation of technologies by people directly involved in their use instead of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs who gain financially from the mass production and distribution of the technologies they develop. The reasoning behind this point is that the current producers of technologies don’t have an understanding of their usage in society and the affect they have on the people who use them. Chellis Glendinning called for the creation of technologies with a high degree of flexibility and which favour independence from technological addiction and promise political freedom, economic justice and ecological balance.”

“That sounds good. I know that my mother was always on at me when I was growing up about not spending too much time on my iphone, ipad and computer. She was always harping on about balance. I am not sure how achievable that objective is though. I don’t think ordinary people have the knowledge and skills to create advanced technology. There are lots of benefits to digitalisation like being able to communicate with family and friends all over the world instantly. I wouldn’t want to give that up.”

“I’m not sure how that would work either but the principle is sound if it can be achieved. The third point is excellent as it advocates the creation of technologies which are for the good of all life on earth. That means it supports technologies facilitating community-based energy sources utilizing clean energy like solar, wind and water; organic and biological technologies based on natural models and systems for use in agriculture, engineering, art, medicine, transportation and defence; conflict resolution technologies and social technologies that encourage participation, responsibility and empowerment.”

“That is a good point. I do think it conflicts with the second point though as it takes great expertise and knowledge to develop that sort of technology. I know because that is what my bosses are trying to do.”

“Is that so, where do you work?”

“I work for a professor at the Department of Technological Development in London. We used to work for the UK government, but now we work for the new world government and are part of their global strategy,” I said with pride.

Jack pulled a face and said: “I’d be surprised if your bosses are really interested in the welfare of people. I’ve yet to meet anyone from any government organisation who is.”

I bit back an angry remark at his self-righteousness, “What is the last point on the manifesto?”

“Chellis Glendinning motivated for the development of a life-enhancing worldview through the use of technologies. The idea is to redirect technology towards the creation of digital platforms that integrate the human need for creative expression, spiritual experience and community with the capacity for rational thought and functionality in a balance way so that both human dignity and nature’s wholeness can be fostered and conserved.”

“That is another wonderful idea.”




19 thoughts on “My own prompt – The Modern Luddites

  1. That was intriguing, Robbie. Is the book you’ve been researching climate change for?

    I also wonder if the Amish might be considered luddites today. Not for destruction of anything industrial, but for embracing a way of life that does not include technology or industry. I find it so amazing they are able to maintain their cultural beliefs and way of life, separate from the world around them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This new book, which is likely to be a series, rebuilds society to address climate crisis and fourth industrial revolution fall out. Of course, there is always an ethical conflict to achieve a working society which is the theme of this first book. I am racing through this one and am at 30 000 words already.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I knew there were modern Luddites. I know one, a long time friend of the family. Her down time is filled with creating giant works of art and reading lots of books. She’s the only friend I have left that exchanges pen-and-paper letters with me all year round.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the link, Doug, and for visiting and commenting. I think they are attempting to get technology to develop in a more people and environmentally friendly way. As opposed to mankind conflicting with nature all the time and even with ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

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