Druidry and technology

I’m not the sort of Druid who believes that ‘back to nature’ is the answer to everything. There’s a rather charming quote from Good Omens about a young woman who has to spend a while living in a field before she figures out exactly why her human ancestors went to such efforts to stop doing that sort of thing! Creatures adapt their surroundings as best they can for their own comfort, it’s not an unnatural thing to do.

For me, Druidry has always meant standing with one foot in the realm of human culture, and one foot in the wilds. We have to know both, and mediate between them.

I’m all for simplifying, for reducing what we think we need to get down to a more sustainable, and more enjoyable way of life. The right technology, used in the right way, is an absolute blessing to the modern Druid. So, what features should a Druid be looking for when it comes to technology?

Endurance and life expectancy. We don’t want things that are going to break, fall apart or are otherwise contrived for obsolescence.

Minimal resources. It’s better to have a small efficient thing, and ideally a thing where bits can be repaired or replaced at need, or recycled when dead. If there’s a re-use aspect to the technology, even better.

There are things machines do a better job of than people with hand tools – getting dust out of carpets for example. Check the value of doing it by hand, sometimes there is more pleasure in doing it yourself. If doing it feels like drudgery, causes you discomfort or is too difficult for your body, clearly this is a good time to get a machine to do it instead.

Some machines make work – because they change our expectations. Many people spend as much time on laundry as their handwashing ancestors did because they feel everything must be immaculate at all times. I don’t think that’s progress. Check how the machine is going to affect your thinking, and whether it will make more work for you. Consider the empty social exchange of staring at a phone versus spending time actually doing stuff with another person.

Take your time. Adverts encourage us to feel rushed and pressured and like we have to have this thing right now. Pause. Ponder. Look at your life, your home, your transport and all your other needs and think about the things that would give you most benefit. Pick the technology that will serve you, not the technology that will enslave you.

The right tool can be a great life improver. For me, a crock pot was an absolute win on this score. For others, an electric bike might be the perfect solution to numerous problems. It might be a more efficient device, or one that can use rainwater…

Things that we buy because they are all the rage, because we are afraid of being left out, because we wanted to cheer ourselves up, or compensate for a feeling of lack or inadequacy… these are the things to avoid. Shopping is one of those things we do emotionally, when we’d be far better off making more logical and informed choices.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

7 responses to “Druidry and technology

  • Siobhan Johnson

    I’m loving making a rag rug by hand watching art and cultural programmes on Netflix/YouTube. I mean, I could sit by candle light and stare into space and be more ‘authentic’ but I’m really enjoying the spiritual lessons about food in ‘Cooked’, soooo :p Totally agree with you on this. Tech isn’t bad, some of the ways we use and create tech is bad. The Internet is exactly the same as a knife – you can cut bread with it, or you can stab someone. The effect is in the intent of the user.

  • quietlydruid

    As thoughtful and pragmatic as ever!
    (There really should be a blog just for Druids with Crockpots)

  • syrbal-labrys

    Always a balance the “betwixt and between” so many pagans talk about — but as usual, you bring it right down to reality!

  • Ryan C.

    Very thoughtful post as always. But when you say: “Consider the empty social exchange of staring at a phone versus spending time actually doing stuff with another person”, it is also worth considering those people who have friends on other countries who can only keep in contact via phones, or people who are ill and cannot leave their home, or introverts, or people with social anxiety who prefer social interaction to be digital rather than in loud groups, or…well, you get the idea. Different tools for different folks, as you suggest.

    • Nimue Brown

      This is invariably the problem with blogs, that to keep them readable I end up saying something briefly that, as you rightly point out, is far more nuanced and deserved a better ponder.

  • Talis

    Where’s the thumbs up function? Great principles

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