by Rowena Ricalde (ninth entry)
I made this book summary on "Better Off" by Eric Brende for our Law and Environment elective. Eric Brende is an MIT graduate who was inspired by his university professors and an encounter with an Amish man to go "off the grid" for 18 months and try to live a life less technology.
He spent his days with Mennonites, much like the Amish people in shying off electricity but made use of other simple machines in making makeshift running water, oven and refrigerators. At first, Brende and his wife wanted to rough it up and do as much hard-labor as they could but, as they were amusingly made fun off by the community itself, they learned that it was not about getting the technology off of their lives but getting the right amount of technology for your lifestyle.
One thing he noticed was that with less technology in his hands, he became more adept in using his social skills - in communicating with his wife, with the neighbors and his friends. Before, he knew he could just turn off this switch button and afford not to talk to anyone. However, with less technology, he surely needed the help of others in doing simple things such as setting up running water, plowing the land and getting the supplies he needs. With less technology, people are forced to interact with each other.
After the 18 months in the Mennonite Community, his family still decided to setlle in a city but they learned to curb their technology use. They made use of bicycles instead of cars as far as practicable. They do not have television and he only checks his email when needed.
I guess one thing I learned here is that indeed there is trade off in using today's technology.