Get Your Luddite On

Luddites going to work.

Luddites doing work.

The rise of all things digital has allowed for some great things, including cellphones, Yelp restaurant reviews and this magazine. It has given us access to an unprecedented amount of knowledge at a moment’s notice through the internet (though it could be argued that we are less likely to actually learn the thing we look up because it is so easily accessible).

Yet, as with any good thing, too much of it can lead to some serious problems.

For instance, officials in New York City have recently found the need to stencil in “Look!” onto the crosswalks of the city’s most dangerous intersections. The need arose because pedestrians apparently are more concerned with what is happening on their smart phones than with their own safety. In fact, over 9,000 pedestrians were injured and 41 killed in a New York City crosswalk in 2010 alone.

Seriously, people? You need to be told, “Hey! You’re walking into an area where a car could hit you, so you might want to pay attention.”

Aside from the more obvious “looking at your phone instead of seeing if a car is about to hit you” type of problem, technology is also leading to a slew of other issues that weren’t around before. Too much technology may be causing developmental problems in teens, communication issues within families, and obesity in people of all ages. The list goes on and on.

Although the title and image used in this article suggest a response to these technological problems akin to the Luddites, a group of 19th-century English textile artisans who opposed the development of new technology and responded by violently destroying said technology, I do so only in jest. I’m not advocating that you run over to your neighbor’s house or local Best Buy and start smashing computers. Nor am I even endorsing the modern understanding of the term, which is someone who opposes industrialization or, even more generally, any new technology.

What I am suggesting, though, is that you take some time to unplug every now and then. These days, the majority of “updates” you get on your phone or the emails sent to you can wait. Go ahead and answer the pressing ones, but you really can wait a day or so to comment on your cousin’s photo of his toddler’s Easter parade at school. Trust me, they’ll still see your, “Oh, how adorable!” a few days later.

Take a step back and find some time to interact with the real world. Go out to dinner with friends, take your dog for a walk, or read a book outside. Yes, you’ve heard this spiel before, but how often have you actually put it into practice?

Whether or not you decide to do so is, in the end, up to you. But, please, don’t be the guy that reads “Look!” written in a crosswalk right before a car hits you.

Then you just prove the Luddites right. Nobody wants to do that.

______________________________________________________________________________

CharlieCharlie Crespo (@Little_Utopia) is the editor-in-chief of Little Utopia.

Previously from Charlie Crespo:
Is Canelo Alvarez Boxing’s Next Superstar?
NBA Playoff Predictions: Western Conference Quarterfinals
NBA Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Talking About Madonna is Just Talking About Ourselves
Bubba Watson’s Hovercraft, More Like Bubba Watson’s Borecraft

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