Why I Will Not Buy Berry’s Argument

Wendell Berry’s Why I Will Not Buy A Computer states plainly all of his reasons for distancing himself from new technologies.  I am glad that Berry encourages his readers to disagree with his ideas because I find them quite hard to agree with.

Berry refuses to buy a computer because he knows it will not make him any better of a writer.  He says that “when somebody has used a computer to write work that is demonstrably better than Dante’s… Then [he] will speak of computers with a more respectful tone of voice.”  While he is absolutely correct in the fact that a computer is no piece of magic that can improve one’s writing, it can, however, make writing a whole lot easier.  With computers and other kinds of technology, the physical act of writing can be faster and simpler.  Computers have every advantage over typewriters.  Today, the Internet provides us with incredibly quick communication and an infinite amount of knowledge.  These tools give us unique opportunities unavailable in years past, leading to  quicker, more efficient writing.

Berry values his wife’s part in his writing, as she types his essays and edits along the way.  In another example of his stubborn views, he would not give up this ritual for a computer, as he believes he would have to sacrifice his wife’s role in his writing process.  However, replacing a typewriter with a computer would not disrupt any “family and community relationships.”  A computer can perform the same tasks as a typewriter.  Essentially, his views on technology all reside around the idea that it is “yet another way to make people pay dearly for what they already have.”  He does not see a need for new technology when we are already managing fine without it.  He does not see how things can be not disrupted or destroyed, but improved by change.  For a man so keen on changing American’s views and economy, he does not easily adapt to the changing world around him.


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