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The Philosophy of Low-Tech: A Conversation with Kris De Decker

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  1. reese
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    I'd be good with mirroring at least 60% of this guy's lifestyle in my own. I love what he's doing with his website, too. But he lost me when he said: But the complexity existed prior to modernity....

    I'd be good with mirroring at least 60% of this guy's lifestyle in my own. I love what he's doing with his website, too. But he lost me when he said:

    The car is creating problems, so we make electric cars. We add layers and layers of complexity, by making it self-driving, putting even more infrastructure around it… that’s not going to solve the problem. It’s only going to make the problem worse. You introduce more complexities, you need to repair more afterwards.

    But the complexity existed prior to modernity. Ancient humans were nomads whose natural inclination for self-preservation demanded travel. That is exactly how we varied our diet to maintain proper nutrition. Today, we still travel for various resources: money, leisure, medical care, etc. The car simplified travel such that human beings need not embark on inland treks spanning weeks or even months, risking dysentery and injury in the process.

    In spite of the car (and everything else I need not enumerate), effective travel is still a strain on human cognition. To illustrate this, just go drive and watch some asshole cut across four lanes of traffic, endangering everyone between him and the exit he MUST TAKE RIGHT NOW OR ELSE. Arguably with self-driving cars we are shifting the bulk of complexity (cognition) onto the car, and away from the driver. This is called distributed cognition, and it frees us from complexity by distributing cognitive load.

    Not to mention, self-driving cars will end up saving tens of thousands of lives per year. So, I'll trade technological complexity for human flourishing any day of the week. I agree with Kris in that there are a number of things that are needlessly complex, but I happen to think he picked a bad example. I'm all for a self-sustaining abode because it enables the independence of those who live there, and it reduces waste.

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