Daily Mind-ful 14 May 2017 (Luddite)
It ain’t easy being married to an angry and reluctant Luddite: the husband insists on using checks, can’t understand why computers don’t come with manuals and it takes him ages to complete online forms because he never learned to type; I try be sympathetic because a grey tsunami will inundate the UK soon and many older people will be helpless when confronted with today’s online, self-service economy; one of the benefits of being a Luddite, if such a thing can exist, is being able to watch something grow over a very long span of time, say, ten years, in the garden, something a young person cannot relate to at all these days; since we’re on the topic of housekeeping, I wanted to clarify my objection to cleaning and housekeeping. It is a philosophical and ethical one. Cleaning is a form of continuous reinstatement of the past. There is a major opportunity cost to such an activity. If you devote all your time and energy to constantly putting your house back in order — to the way it was before (clean versus dirty), you don’t very well have any time left over with which to learn and discover new things and experiences; in a related observation: have you ever noticed that there are only two kinds of people – people who trot out experiences and anecdotes from the past and people who never do that (preferring to keep their eyes and mind on what’s ahead of them)? I book my favorite restaurant in London, the Greenhouse, despite the fact that they were guilty of a hygiene infraction last year; like a good wife, I plan my itinerary in London tomorrow based on John’s preferences instead of my own, meaning that our day will be devoted to traditional, not contemporary, culture and exhibitions; that’s not to say that I don’t love old things. But that I’m always seeking out new experiences and objects which ill expand my mind. Old paintings don’t pass that test 98% of the time; similarly, and to cite another binary character typology: have you noticed that there are only two kinds of people, the first kind will seek to return to a favorite place again and again, whereas the opposite types avoids visiting the same place twice, even if he or she likes it a lot; while there’s no doubt that technology increases the quantum of our output, does it actually enhance brain function — or diminish it? Don’t buy Green & Black ice cream, it’s too aerated without any scrumptious, enlivening sparks of flavor; John sees me posting my negative comments about the ice cream and we have an altercation, with him saying that British people will never like me because I’m too confrontational and obnoxious; I ignore him completely; that’s the thing about Brits, they prefer to put up and shut up in public while fuming and seething about it in private. I’ll never understand, let alone condone, that.