Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Secret Society

I was talking on the phone with Gearhead the other day and we were talking about communicating with certain people who never embrace technology. We compared notes where we have both experienced this scenario with several people and it goes the exact same way every time. You ask someone for their e-mail address and they announce that they don’t use computers, they sit back and then the put on a big bold defiant smile.

Gearhead and I both come across this often. A lot of our work is done with tech savvy people in agriculture. We deal with people who have self piloting GPS tractors. We deal with people who trade commodities via wireless internet from hand held devices while they are in their fields. We deal with people who save time and money if not make time and money with technology. Then there are those who resist and are damn proud of it.

Personally, I think it is a secret cult that has roots similar to Scottish Rite Masons. I have named them “The Members of The Church of Ludditeism.” They are an offshoot of any various bands of workers in England (1811–16) organized to destroy manufacturing machinery, under the belief that its use diminished employment. Their smug smiles are their secret handshakes.

It has to be because they all have the same reaction; they announce, they sit back and then they smile. It’s always in that exact order.

Gearhead told me about someone who took it ever further one day. He was in a meeting and he passed around a short article for his staff to read and one guy pushed the article away, announced, “I don’t read!”, he sat back and smiled. Gearhead said ,” I couldn’t believe it!” I thought about it for a while and realized that this guy must have been a high priest of the Luddites. He didn't even accept print.


Blogger Beth said...

And what's to be so smug about? They're falling behind in communications technology and proud of it? Maybe it's a defense mechanism - out of fear and an inability to embrace something new and challenging.
I'm quite happy to write old-fashioned letters to my 85 year old aunt but know many others in their 80's who have become computer savvy.

6:25 AM  
Blogger loopymamain06 said...

I wonder if it was a joke.....but ther'es a difference between "I don't, and I'm not to able to" or i choose not to read, and I can't.
this is coming from a mom who thinks spell checking programs are cheating,
loopysandqueen the evil editor of 5th grade papers( that was a rough year!)

7:41 AM  
Blogger weese said...

(tho i am intrigued by the thought of a farmer conducting international trade from his tractor somewhere out in the middle of a field... chewing on switchgrass)

11:30 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, they are proud of their ignorance.

Loopy, I agree the basics should be learned in conjunction with the tech version, but keep in mind that I have learned a lot about grammar from the green lines left in the wake of my writing.

Weese, you wouldn't believe the technology that is used by the farmers I've worked with. Most have things that scan bar codes or read ID chips or implants. Their computers know just how much irrigation or fertilizers are needed on each acre, and they can vary the supply to one-foot increments. These folks need maximum efficiency or they start losing money. I'm happy technology is there for them. I'm happy they embrace it.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

My closest friend here lives in a cabin with his dog. No tv, PC, just radio. He reads a lot though. Just doesn't think those things are necessities in his life. His long-time lady friend lives in town and is a bank exec. Go figure.

Another friend is like a lot of folks around here, completely off the grid and no satellite or phone access either. He's the owner of a security software company and comes here if he needs to connect via PC to his company. The hills, woods, and mountains make for quiet living, drives some touristy visitors nutz when they find out their lakeside cabin has no tv, phone, or PC access. hehehe Call us Luddites too I guess, at least some of us are. Off to enjoy the quiet now:)

12:46 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Forgot to mention that the wife & I spend a night a week each teaching adults how to read one on one. Amazing how far some have come without reading skills.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous g said...

Perfect candidates for open source Linux products. Just think, someone who thinks windows are for letting air in.

Knowledge is indeed bliss.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinkety Boxes!

An accountant once said he can do my taxes faster with pen and paper. I suppose so. I know that I stand to loose all of my contact information whenever my cel phone is lost or gets wet. I dont use the phones to store anything important. How someone elderly can even use some of the recent cell phones is a small mirracle in itself.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my computer is down, I work on projects that almost always pan out nicely. Gave my cell to one of the kids. Electronica is fun but so addictive-time consuming. Love your blog though, just takes a minute. Keep it up.

12:52 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I'm not saying everyone needs to be involved in technology. I just don't think it's a good idea to be smug if one is not. Like I couldn't imagine my mother on a computer or a cell phone. I see her talking to me on her old bakolite dial phone.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you carefully researched the subject you would find that it was the Industrial Age that actually ushered in our current mayhem of mass greed and uber-consumerism. Which, by the way, is also eating up the planet. It would be nice to replace the "I'll never have enough" gene with the "I have enough" gene.

4:26 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Totally cultural. Here's to hoping the Joneses move away.

7:39 AM  

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