Why Tyler Brûlé and I are luddites



1. Any of a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment.

2. One who opposes technical or technological change.

A few days ago, on the Eurostar from London to Paris, for the first time in months, I had the pleasure of reading the print version of the FT weekend. My eyes were filled  with tears of joy when I saw the black ink on my fingers (and I feared on my face) which had rubbed off as I slowly made my way through the paper during the 2,5 h ride. I had forgotten how much I love the feeling of holding the actual (tastefully pink) paper in my hands, flickering through the over-sized pages, and hearing that particular rustle of the thin paper as I struggle to turn them.

I am extremely grateful for the online versions of papers which allow me to get news from all over the world regardless of the quality of the closest news stand, but  when I can choose, I choose the print over the online version any day.

Does this make me “One who opposes technical or technological change'”. Perhaps. What I can say with certainty however is that technological advancements do change our experience of things. And some of those experiences which technological advancement offers an alternative to, I just prefer to keep. Such as the sound and ink of a newspaper, heating the milk for my coffee in a tiny pot on the stove rather than  heating it in the microwave, reading ‘real books’ rather than e-books, receiving long letters from my friends rather than long e-mails, and after an article in the FT last weekend, I am contemplating whether I like black cabs more than Addison Lee cabs, keeping my photographs in ‘real’ photo albums rather than on Facebook – both for my sake and for future generations.

Why Tyler Brûlé is a luddite too, you can read in his latest column where he with more emotion than usual asks things like:

What’s going to jog our memories in the future? What will bring back warm fragments from experiences and journeys past? I ask this because proper card boarding passes are disappearing, replaced by receipts on thermal paper. And worse still, who’s seriously printing all those nice photos stored in digital cameras that shoot awful pictures that suck the blood out of all subjects they capture?

Happy Sunday!


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