I just came across this very interesting article on how the Amish use technology, written for Wired by Howard Rheingold. Howard is hard to describe: academic, visionary, artisan, eccentric. He loves technology and and examines it from unorthodox angles. This particular article falls into the topic I have been thinking about lately: the effects of technology on our faith and relationships. In it, he explores exactly how the Amish determine which technology they will allow into their communities and which they will not. While we all think that the Amish never use any technology, in fact they do. But they do not want to be controlled by it or allow it to change who they are – a quite healthy point of view that maybe we could use as well. As the article explains:
While the say of the bishops is binding, the Amish come to their decisions quite consensually. New things are not outright forbidden, nor is there a rush to judgment. Rather, technologies filter in when one of the more daring members of the community starts to use, or even purchases, something new. Then others try it. Then reports circulate about the results. What happens with daily use? Does it bring people together? Or have the opposite effect?
Read the article and let me know your thoughts. What criteria should we use when adopting a technology for our personal use? Do you know anyone who has refused to own a cellphone or own a television for this reason?