Why does getting older seem to be marked by an irrational fear of all things modern and technological? It is hard to imagine, but I’m sure at some “later” point in my life I will probably hear myself saying — “Anti-gravity boots! That’s footwear of the Devil!” At what age exactly does technology lose its status as, harmless tools of convenience, and become instead, a demonic entity that occupies seemingly benign electronics?
My grandmother never owned a VCR, answering machine, coffee pot or air conditioner. She said she didn’t believe in them…like they were an “untruth” — an urban myth like the yeti or chupracabra.
I tried to show her that they do indeed exist — you see them everywhere. “We’re not talking about the tooth fairy grandma, these things can be found in catalogs.” She would get fairly pissy about it too, if you brought up how she lived like prairie folk. To her, appliances represented a conspiracy of evil — where unsuspecting innocents would become mindless drones, controlled by highly evolved and sentient devices.
What about when my grandmother was a little girl — Did her grandmother warn of the coming ‘End Days’ that the butter churn and weaving loom would bring forth? Were the Neanderthals equally alarmed by a crudely crafted arrowhead? When did this growing paranoia over technology and its link to Armageddon begin? Maybe I’m too much of an idealist but I happen to think that a lot of good has come from technology. Of course, you have the loons that can’t wait to see what they can blow up or disembowel — but overall, I’m thankful that I don’t have to worry about watching my family starve because my ox died and I can’t harvest my corn. I think as a society we have to admit that the invention of “motorized buggies,” despite the traffic we live with, was still a pretty good idea. And not many people are falling prey to consumption, scarlet fever, or the plague these days either. No — I will take my chances with those that would abuse technology in order to have indoor plumbing — that’s just where my priorities are.
I try to imagine my golden years — filled with fear and uncertainty at the prospect of my digital camera forever trapping my soul on a 2 gigabyte microchip. Will I relinquish my calculator for an abacus, my ipod for a phonograph? I may be singing the praises of my Wii system now but how will I feel in 30 or 40 years? And here’s a thought…what if Steve Jobs was the Devil… throwing his head back and laughing because once again we have taken a bite of the forbidden fruit?
(Hellooooo, Dan Brown…you might want to write that last one down).
Originally published at www.gunsanddonuts.com.