Giving up Technology for Lent

There are quite a few people who have given up Facebook for Lent this year. I believe that I’ve done them one better. Tired of the oppressive toll in stress, human contact, and spiritual well-being that the omnipresence of technology in our world today brings, I have decided to give up all technology for Lent.

Things are going pretty well. I really feel a revitalized connection to the natural world and the human condition.

I was originally going to camp out in the shrubbery next to my townhouse — houses are made from trees cruelly ripped apart by steel blades and pierced by iron nails, after all — when I realized that even the shrubbery was a product of genetic engineering and was kept trimmed by power tools. Luckily there is a nice chunk of wild space in the middle of my city, so I was able to find a nice clump of bushes that keeps out the worst of the wind. Since most of the city is below sea level, protected by dykes constructed by petroleum-gulping machines, I chose the marshiest spot I could, in order to simulate the experience of living without the dykes. The skin on my feet will no doubt grow back after Easter.

I used to wear glasses, but having had laser eye surgery a couple of years ago I simulate the experience of giving up my glasses by tying a strip of clear plastic around my head to make everything look fuzzy. It’s a bit harder avoiding the use of my front teeth — they are made of a ceramic material similar to the tiles on the space shuttle — but I find that I can manage to skin and eat the rabbits and birds I catch bare-handed with the teeth on the sides of my mouth. (I know that rabbits don’t have enough fat to make a complete diet, but it’s only for a few more weeks, and I can stand to lose a bit of weight, anyway.)

I was conflicted about gathering leaves and branches to make a bit of a shelter, but considering that many animals make nests for themselves, I felt that I would be OK collecting a bit of natural material to keep warm at night. I can’t think of any animals that wear clothing, though, so I have discarded the rabbit pelts I’ve been collecting. I’ve had some near-misses with the unfortunately techno-philic Royal Canadian Mounted Police, no doubt incited by ignorant townspeople who have no appreciation for the free and easy lifestyle that is possible when you give up the trappings of modernity. It’s been around the freezing point for the past couple of weeks anyway, so any offending personal attributes have become practically invisible from a distance.

I haven’t quite achieved the level of authentic human contact I was aiming at in giving up the alienating interference of technological media — for some reason people tend to edge away slowly when I approach them. My wife got tired of carrying our toddler back and forth to see me — using a car would be completely artificial, after all — and the little one tends to … let loose … when she gets a chill. Luckily I was able to hold her over a nearby ditch the last time it happened. But for now I am enjoying the human warmth and geniune connection of my community of one.

I thought work might have been a problem, since I am a computer programmer, but things have worked out. I can make it cross-country to the office in a couple of hours — luckily it’s the Equinox right now, so I just work sunrise-to-sunset. I can’t go into the office, of course, or even the parking lot, so I have hired a teenager to sit at my computer and yell out the window whatever is on my screen. Then I yell back from the bushes what I want to change. Works pretty well, although for some reason I have caught a bit of a cold despite my natural lifestyle, so I’m getting a little hoarse. Anti-technological phlegm has a nice green colour, much more pleasing than the regular old stuff.

I can’t remember any Bible verses or anything from the prayerbook, and my teeth are chattering too much to really pray or anything, but I think that the spiritual side of this experience is starting to get going. Last night even though there was a bit of a frost I started feeling this nice warm toasty feeling, and I felt like I was making a voyage out into the heavens because the moon kept getting larger and larger, especially after I ate those mushrooms that I’d been saving.

Anyway, I think that this experience is a hugely valuable one. I’m really feeling in touch with my humanness — although I haven’t been able to feel my fingers and toes for the last week — and my ultimate place in the universe. I would recommend this type of discipline to all who wish to undergo a meaningful discipline for Lent.

There are some issues it’s not OK to disagree on.

That poor misguided dear Suzanne McCarthy has got her bloomers in a twist again, insisting that the girls should be able to play in the treehouse. Luckily we have the likes of Michael Heiser and John Hobbins to slap her down. Hobbins writes:

Said [“complementarian“, ptui] churches motivate their position with care and acumen, as anyone familiar with the debate knows.

The slave-owners of the antebellum south likewise motivated their position “with care and acumen”, basing their position — that persons of African descent were fit only to slaves — on the carefully exegeted Biblical principle of the curse on Ham’s children.

The sin of “complementarians” is the greater in that they condemn not merely a significant fraction of the human race, but precisely one half, to a lifetime of slavery.

Absolute literal slavery. For one human being to be subordinate to another in every aspect of behavior and dependent upon his merest whim for her status before God Almighty is to be worse than a slave.

There are some issues where it is NOT all right to agree to disagree.

To argue that those men who abuse their wives are misusing their God-given authority and do not represent the ideal is like arguing that Stalin and Mao do not represent the ideal socialist. That may be true, but it is irrelevant. By their fruit you shall know them, and those who espouse and transmit an ideology are responsible for the fruits of their teaching.

Hobbins makes much of the Christian-sounding ideal of “tolerating” complementarians. Just like we need to tolerate slavers. And the priests of Huitzilopochtli‘s quaint custom of disencardiacizing a couple dozen peons before breakfast.

He also makes much of the desire of complementarians to follow “tradition”. Much like the church before William Wilberforce followed tradition.

There are no words vile enough to express my disgust.

Thinking Without a License is Prohibited

This story pretty much epitomizes the end result of statism. When you allow, and then expect, the government to take care of you, the government will inevitably criminalize taking care of yourself (emphasis mine):

David N. Cox says he was merely exercising his right to petition the government, but a state Department of Transportation official has raised allegations that Cox committed a misdemeanor: practicing engineering without a license.

David N. Cox and his North Raleigh neighbors are lobbying city and state officials to add traffic signals at two intersections as part of a planned widening of Falls of Neuse Road.

After an engineering consultant hired by the city said that the signals were not needed, Cox and the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners’ Associations responded with a sophisticated analysis of their own.

Cox has not been accused of claiming that he is an engineer. But [chief traffic engineer] Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report “appears to be engineering-level work” by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer.

We’re from the government, and we know better than you.

Anti-Vaccination = Pure Fraud

Hopefully this will be the final nail in the coffin of the anti-vaxxers. Turns out that the original study linking vaccinations to autism was not merely shoddy or erroneous, but out and out fraud:

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.

“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors,” Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, told CNN. “But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”