Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cooking With a Toddler Part 1

Part 2 will have more to do with the title. I need to preface it with this post.

I've been reading a good portion of Wendell Berry lately. Berry is a farmer, a poet, an environmentalist, a novelist, and a speaker. Back in 1987 Berry wrote an essay titled Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer (that's right, I just embed a link to an essay called Why I am Not Going to Buy a Computer). It's a fascinating read and a bit impractical. However, Berry makes some good points about technological innovation.

Here they are:
1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.

Berry is the first to admit that "like almost everybody else, I am hooked to the energy corporations, which I do not admire." His stance on not buying a computer comes out of his hope "to become less hooked to them." Again, the stance is not necessarily practical (yet) but it is needed.

This is not a politically driven blog. I am not looking for a debate regarding energy or corporations or computers (obviously, I'm typing this on a computer). This blog and its sequel are about point number 9 on Berry's list of requirements for technological innovation. I will end with one question. In an attempt to save time and money, how often do we do things that either circumvent or blatantly disrupt community?

That's all for now. The toddler part will come into play next week.


dgerm said...

Very often.

You know your readership better than I do... but seems like you are apologizing a lot for Berry not being practical... I think that is his point, don't you? -That the gospel itself, and our lives when we are living into the gospel, are anything but practical?

dgerm said...

That sounded much sassier when I re-read it than it did in my head as I typed. what I meant to say was, "Great, thoughtful post. Keep it up." seriously.

Coby said...


mandi said...

Not only as an attempt to save time or money, but what about technology as a way to fill voids? It hurts my heart to see parents at the park with their children, texting. Or checking facebook. I want to throw up on their phones. I use this example because this is my sphere at this time. So yes, I see Berry's point with this one. Also, the way the computer creates a false community. Where you think you have 876 'friends' and desperately need to keep tabs on all of them and thereby neglect the actual true relationships around you.

I think I *may* have some issues with facebook.

However, what I have found in my own life is not that the computer is the evil I allow in my home. It is the time I pour into it. How easy and passive aggressive it is to blame the computer for my inability to have self-control. Get what i mean? Anytime I want to throw the computer out the window, I realize that I am not spending my time wisely and I fast from it, to re-prioritize things. And it works. So is it truly technology, or our emotional dependence on it that is the problem?