From The Guardian:
Once, when I was staying in Houston, Texas, my host was showing me round her house. It included a mighty fireplace.
“How often does it get cold enough to light a fire?” I asked, as what little I knew about the city included the fact that it is mostly hot and humid. Maybe once or twice a year, she replied, but her husband came from Wisconsin. He liked a log fire. So they would turn up the air conditioning and light one.
Reading this reminded me of a poem by Wendell Berry in which he encourages people to:
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
These issues are always enormously complex, of course, and it’d be foolish to deny the ways in which conditioned air has improved human life. But there are always trade offs with these developments as well as ways that technology can be abused. To use technology well, of course, requires certain virtues. If we lack those virtues, the technology that blesses can just as easily curse.