There is a growing movement hoping to extinguish human reliance on digital resources.
Society has been knee-deep in the digital ages for many years now, and computer usage has become part of daily life. People are now used to accessing information at their fingertips, which contributes to the need for instant gratification. Despite the widespread use of online resources, however, there is a movement ignited by Neo-Luddites that wants to put a stop to all of this. The motive? To reverse the perceived negative effects of digitization, including increased mental health struggles, a “me” generation with a lack of patience, and overall dependence on machines.
Elements of this movement have been around for a long time, even outside the focus on computers. Hippy types have warned us about consuming a modern diet featuring processed foods, a diet lacking many of the natural ingredients that our bodies are designed to use for fuel. Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, who lived in the 19th century, wrote about the evils of artificial light in Saint Petersburg, the Russian city that self-identified as ‘Western’. There are now those who oppose the ‘woke’ generation, criticizing it for negatively influencing youth, lacking motivation to work, and not understanding how to have fun in the outdoors.
Modernity has been the bogeyman for a long time. But the critics of our current mode of modernity, who are calling themselves Neo-Luddites, believe that they are onto something real this go-round. Neo-Luddites, old and new, are named after Ned Ludd, an 18th Century Englishman who protested the new technological advance of his time; weaving machines. The Luddites sprang forth and made it their goal to eliminate these supposed ‘monstrosities’ of modernism. They were ultimately unsuccessful, of course, as technology has only become more invasive and prevalent in every facet of life.
Now, the most recent generation of Luddites want to eliminate the evils of the modern digital age, and they have some good reasons. This digital age has brought some significant problems, including governments spying on their citizens, digital conglomerates censoring information, and businesses collecting private data from consumers and selling it for profit. Moreover, a sedentary lifestyle is causing numerous health problems, particularly among children and adolescents.
What are the solutions to these very real problems? The New Luddites think they have the answers According to A Neo-Luddite’s Guide To Surviving the 21st Century, there are several ways one can mitigate the influence of omnipresent digital devices and the prevalence of machines in everyday life. One way is to simply turn off devices at certain times and give one’s brain time to refocus on the reality of the here and now. And when a device is turned on, it’s important to stop notifications and allow the brain to relax and unwind a bit.
Another suggestion is to read real books, full of heavy paper and ink, and take them everywhere, especially on long flights where there’s time to kill. These books should replace tablets and smartphones.
The group is also suggesting that more time needs to be spent in nature and they promote buying all-natural foods. Sticking with what’s available in nature and avoiding processed foods can help ward off disease and help one look and feel healthier overall.
Are the Luddites onto something? Perhaps. However, it’s going to take the buy-in from others in order to set the movement into motion. If their advice gains traction, these things could make a world of difference.