12 February 2009

The Amish

Jason Kottke points to a fascinating article about the Amish and their relationship to/with technology. I remember my grandpa Orville telling me about an encounter he had with an Amish man while he was working for the telephone cooperative.

This man had requested a phone installation for his farm. When Orville arrived and asked where the man would like his phone, he indicated a location on the outside of his house, near the front door.

Don’t you want it inside? It’ll be more convenient,” Orville asked. The man replied, “I don’t mind going outside when I need to use the phone. And I don’t want it using me.”

I love technology, especially when it makes my life easier. But sometimes I wonder how much we’ve lost by always chasing after the latest shiny object. Do we control our toys, or do our toys control us?

(Comments are coming—honest!—but in the meantime if you have something you want to share about this topic, try using Twitter to respond; please include #amishebv in your tweet, so we can follow the thread.)

This is the archive for commonplace book entries that I published in February 2009.