The HISTORY Club starts at 7.30 pm ( repeated due to previous tube closure)
The next meeting TBA " Luddism – another look for today ?”
Entrance FREE Location: King's Cross (very near tube)
“ REFORM LUDDISM” --Thomas Pynchon (Sci-fi writer/ “philosopher” ).
If our world survives, the next great challenge to watch out for will come -- you heard it here first -- when the curves of research and development in artificial intelligence, molecular biology and robotics all converge. Oboy. It will be amazing and unpredictable, and even the biggest of brass, let us devoutly hope, are going to be caught flat-footed. It is certainly something for all good Luddites to look forward to if, God willing, we should live so long. Meantime, as Americans, we can take comfort, however minimal and cold, from Lord Byron's mischievously improvised song, in which he, like other observers of the time, saw clear identification between the first Luddites and our own revolutionary origins. It begins:
As the Liberty lads o'er the sea
Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
So we, boys, we
Will die fighting, or live free,
And down with all kings but King Ludd!
Opposition to the adoption of technology and challenges to the notion of supposed technological progress are sentiments that are echoed across history. In Gulliver's Travels (1726) Jonathan Swift ridiculed the Royal Society, the oldest scientific society in Britain,
Henry David Thoreau (Walden ) “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. “
and Ralph Waldo Emerson extolled the virtue of unaltered nature. "What lies behind us & what lies before us are small matters to what lies within us"
Neo-Luddism conjures pre-technological life "a return to nature and what are imagined as more natural communities"…… "The industrial revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in 'advanced' countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilled, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world." (Theodore Kaczynski – the convicted criminal & psychologically disturbed “unabomber” )The more moderate Reform Luddism recognizes the many benefits of the evolving industrial society and embraces the inevitability of change while recognizing that change does not compel the uncritical adoption of new, seemingly useful innovations which may have unanticipated consequences. The balance of benefit and burden for acceptance of new technologies must be arrived at individually. The Reform Luddite movement resists the trend toward industrialization but does not reject and seeks to ensure that change does truly produce a net benefit overall