I'm thinking again about tools as I read of Apple and Samsung releasing new products. I spent an hour this afternoon typing on a 1938 Corona Sterling which is still the most beautiful and wondrous machine I've ever seen. All this has me thinking of Wendell Berry's rules for new tools which, rather than summarizing, I quote here in full:
- The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
- It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
- It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
- It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
- If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
- It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
- It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
- It should come from a small, privately-owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance or repair.
- It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.
If I live my life by those rules, I'm living well.