I really like Amish people. It's not just the happenin' beards and the really tasty ice cream, though. As a non-practicing Luddite with pronounced technophobic proclivities, it makes me happy to know there are people out there who willingly choose to use less technology than is available to them. I wish, oh how I wish that I could live more au natural, like the Amish.
My troubles start when I think of all the technological advances and processes I rely on, just to stay alive. The industrial and technological revolutions have stripped me of any real, basic survival skills. To get to work, I drive a car I didn't make and don't know how to maintain on roads derived from petrochemicals sucked from the ground an ocean away, and then use the green paper rectangles they give me to buy food from God-knows-where out of a gaudy, overly-lit box store. The list goes on and on.
I can't go back, though, and it's not just because I am lazy, selfish, and under-motivated. It is also because of that pesky truism about change, that it is the only constant we can count on. Stasis is a myth. There was never a time when people were not changing the way they did things, and even in the idyllic, agrarian societies of the past, folks were perpetually coming up with new ways to do things. Faced by a world where entropy rules the day, humans have long since acknowledged that to stay the same is to die – that life demands adaptation.
The problem, as I see it, is not change. Change is inevitable, and it is foolish to yearn for a past that cannot be reclaimed. The problem is that the changes wrought by technology and industry long ago attained a sort of critical mass, where exponential growth became an end unto itself, based on the amoral criterion of the bottom line. As the Almighty Greenback became our Divinity, humans and their best interests gradually disappeared from the equation. It became more important to ask, "Can we do this (and how much money will it make us)?" than "Is this right (and will it make us better, healthier people)?"