I’ve not the citations in front of me, but I remember the stories. One is about the time that the elders of the Taos Pueblo talked over the possibility of bringing electricity into the heart of the pueblo, there on the plaza with the flowing stream between the two big houses.
The Taos council decided not to allow electricity to be brought into the heart of the pueblo. Outside of the plaza, electricity could be brought into homes.
The reasoning of the elders was that electricity brings with it appliances: refrigerators, toasters, radios and other machines. And, with those machines and gadgets, people would have to go to work, earn a living to buy those things to plug into electrical current. Introducing new technology would upset the balance within the community, taking people away from daily activities within the pueblo. Ceremonies would be forsaken–or, less important– because of the pressure to work to pay for machines to plug into electricity. Much would be lost and little gained. A simpler life would be complicated. A way would be lost, all by the introduction of electricity.
And, so, electricity never came to the plaza. The plaza still remains the old way.
The other narrative is somewhere in the Henry David Thoreau journals or maybe it was Walden. Thoreau proposed a distance race and a puzzle to his readers. Thoreau wrote that he could walk across Massachusetts faster than someone could take a train across the state. He could start walking immediately, live off the land, do an odd chore and meet people as he walked across the state. If one took the train, one had to buy a ticket. To buy a ticket, one had to have money and to get money, one had to work. So, before one could even board the train a whole sequence of things had to happen. And, then, you had to travel on the train’s schedule. To walk was faster, to travel the train was slower. Race over, walking won, Thoreau wrote.
These two stories illustrate the dependency and attachments that occur when technology enters our lives.