Wendell Berry — Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer

Plutôt qu’un ordinateur, Wendell Berry utilise une ordinatrice, qui n’est autre que son épouse. Étrillé — à juste titre — pour son argumentaire un rien hypocrite, cet auteur indubitablement conservateur se défend dans le second texte composant cet opuscule dont les pages tombaient avant même la fin de la première lecture, d’une manière fort peu convaincante mais souvent fulgurante.

Notes

Les standards pour l’innovation technologique, p. 4-5 :

To make myself as plain as I can, I should give my standards for technological innovation in my own work. They are as follows:

  1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
  2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
  3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
  4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
  5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
  6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
  7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
  8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
  9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.

Écriture mécanisée, écriture industrialisée, p. 36 :

But a computer, l am told, offers a kind of help that you can’t get from other humans: a computer will help you to write faster, easier, and more. For a while, it seemed to me that every university professor I met told me this. Do I, then, want to write faster, easier, and more? No. My standards are not speed, ease, and quantity. I have already left behind too much evidence that, writing with a pencil, I have written too fast, too easily, and too much. I would like to be a better writer, and for that I need help from other humans, not a machine.

Le corps, intolérable déchet organique, p. 37 :

The danger most immediately to be feared in technological progress is the degradation and obsolescence of the body. Implicit in the technological revolution from the beginning has been a new version of an old dualism, one always destructive, and now more destructive than ever. For many centuries there have been people who looked upon the body as upon the natural world, as an encumbrance of the soul, and so have hated the body, as they have hated the natural world, and longed to be free of it, They have seen the body as intolerably imperfect by spiritual standards. More recently, since the beginning of the technological revolution, more and more people have looked upon the body, along with the rest of the natural creation, as intolerably imperfect by mechanical standards. They see the body as an encumbrance of the mind — the mind, that is, as reduced to a set of mechanical ideas that can be implemented in machines — and so they hate it and long to be free of it. The body has limits that the machine does not have; therefore, remove the body from the machine so that the machine can continue as an unlimited idea.

J’aime toujours autant retrouver mes réflexions chez d’autres… vingt ans plus tôt, p. 42 :

Much is made of the ease of correction in computer work, owing to the insubstantiality of the light-image on the screen, one presses a button and the old version disappears, to be replaced by the new. But because of the substantiality of paper and the consequent difficulty involved, one does not handwrite or typewrite a new page every time a correction is made. À handwritten or typewritten page therefore is usually to some degree a palimpsest; it contains parts and relics of its own history — erasures, passages crossed out, interlineations — suggesting that there is something to go back to as well as something to go forward to. The light-text on the computer screen, by contrast, is an artifact typical of what can only be called the industrial present, a present absolute. A computer destroys the sense of historical succession, just as do other forms of mechanization.