The Luddite's Guide to Technology
c/o Amazon Digital Publishing
ASIN: B008GKWNHY $2.99 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008GKWNHY
CreateSpace (hard copy)
9781478184911 $24.99 https://www.createspace.com/3927883
The Luddite's Guide to Technology represents the collected works of CJS Hayward, and is especially recommended for any who have either not read Hayward before, or have had singular or limited access to his writings. It's a gathering of reflections on how technology and science can not only intrigue and involve people, but absorb them to the point that the barriers between humanity and technology become blurred.
There are numerous essays here, from a reflection on technology and faith in 'Religion and Science Is Not Just Intelligent Design vs. Evolution' to 'Plato: The Allegory of...the Flickering Screen', which connects ancient philosophy to modern screen-oriented approaches to life.
Essay titles are contemporary and catchy ('Veni, Vidi, Vomi: A Look at, "Do You Want to Date My Avatar"?' and the title piece 'The Luddite's Guide to Technology') and invite readers to understand the fine line between Biblical and spiritual approaches and technological perspectives.
The author is himself an IT pro, so his approach isn't anti-science; but rather represents a modified view of the perils and potentials of technology and the user's role and experience in handling it: "...I haven't laid the reins on the horse's neck. I only use a well-chosen fragment of my iPhone's capabilities, and I try not to use it too much: I like to be able to use the web without speed being much of an issue, but I'm not on the web all the time. And I have never thought 'My wheels are my freedom;' I try to drive insofar as it advances some particular goal."
As the essays unfold, readers comes to realize that the author is in fact advocating a kind of detachment - and stepping back - from the potentials of technology in order to regain social and spiritual perspectives and values that don't always lie on screen.
From amassing wealth in the face of poverty to what happens when the desire for technology's benefits supersedes and changes the structure and beliefs of religion itself, The Luddite's Guide to Technology identifies widespread and dangerous trends in the worship of technology - and offers Hayward's own clues on how to effect personal, spiritual and social change to counter these trends.
What keeps these writings engrossing and charged is Hayward's vivid language and descriptive choices: "The marketing proposition of texting is an intravenous drip of noise. IM's are similar, if not always as mobile as cell phones, and email is a weaker form of the drug that youth are abandoning for a stronger version."
There are solid political insights as well: "But for all of these things, GPSes, as well as cell phones in general, provide one more means for Big Brother (and possibly more than one Big Brother) to know exactly where you go, when you go there, what the patterns are, and other things where Big Brother will keep closer tabs on your whereabouts and activities than your spouse or parent."
And lest you think these reflections to be solely intellectual or spiritual in nature, the topics offer a surprising range of applications; from surveys of the changing hospitality industry and heating and air conditioning world to business ("There are a number of technologies whose marketing proposition is as a noise delivery system.")
Expect a wide-ranging series of discussions that link technology to values, social and spiritual issues, politics and business, and the changing value in everyday life. Also expect an incredibly lively read, drawing on Orthodoxy and spiced with Hayward's astute observations of worlds modern and past and his own interconnectedness with technology and religious values.
[The Midwest Book Review]
Socrates: And now, let me give an illustration to show how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened:—Behold! a human being in a darkened den, who has a slack jaw towards only source of light in the den; this is where he has gravitated since his childhood, and though his legs and neck are not chained or restrained any way, yet he scarcely turns round his head. In front of him are images from faroff, projected onto a flickering screen. And others whom he cannot see, from behind their walls, control the images like marionette players manipulating puppets. And there are many people in such dens, some isolated one way, some another.
Glaucon: I see.
Socrates: And do you see, I said, the flickering screen showing men, and all sorts of vessels, and statues and collectible animals made of wood and stone and various materials, and all sorts of commercial products which appear on the screen? Some of them are talking, and there is rarely silence.
Glaucon: You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.
This collection of Orthodox mystical theology contains a number of works, drawing spiritual treasure from the Philokalia and the Sermon on the Mount in many different ways:
Preface, an introduction to the many worlds touched in the book.
Religion and Science Is Not Just Intelligent Design Vs. Evolution, a work that pushes past that issue as a decoy, to address some of the more serious religion-science boundary issues.
Technonomicon: Technology, Nature, Ascesis, a meditation on the spiritual life and spiritual use of technology.
Veni, Vidi, Vomi: A Look at "Do You Want to Date My Avatar?", a look at a viral music video in all its horror.
Plato: The Allegory of the... Flickering Screen?, a remix of Plato's "Allegory of the Cave."
Religion Within the Bounds of Amusement, which is not worried about religion becoming the content of television but is worried, with Neil Postman, about television becoming the content of religion.
The Damned Backswing, about another curious effect in our world and in our economy.
The Luddite's Guide to Technology: Fasting from Technologies, an ironically named title that looks at use of technology with detachment in light of the immemorial practice of fasting periods and days.
C.J.S. Hayward wears many hats: author, philosopher, theologian, artist, poet, wayfarer, philologist, inventor, social commentator, satirist, novelist, web guru, teacher. He is an Eastern Orthodox Christian, has lived in the U.S., Malaysia, England, and France, and holds master's degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC), and philosophy and theology (Cambridge). He has an official website at JonathansCorner.com.