Friday, May 28, 2021

Review of "The Way Home: Tales from Life Without Technology" by Mark Boyle

Mixed feelings about this. Sometimes I can't help being engaged by his honesty, and by the single-mindedness with which he really does renounce the damaging, corrosive ways of the world as it is...and sometimes I'm a bit appalled. Rejection of technology doesn't seem to make for a simpler life, just a different set of dilemmas, and there isn't all that much consistency in the way that he deals with them. 

And there's something just a tiny bit fascist in the way that he seems to celebrate traditional life - I don't buy that people in C19th rural life had happier, healthier lives at all. Yeah, there were some aspects of that life that might have been worth preserving, but maybe they couldn't even exist without the life as a whole, and that was miserable, painful, priest-ridden, abusive, poor...

Sometimes when he's talking about the practicalities it's fascinating - I love the detail. And sometimes I can't but admire either his agonising over choices, or the choices that he ends up making. But I'm not sure that he and I would end up on the same side of the barricades, were there ever to be barricades.

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