Far contemporary science and also innovation has fallen short of their integral opportunities. They have educated humanity at the very least one lesson: Nothing is impossible.
Destruction of the inner life
Today, the destruction of the inner life is represented by the reality that the only area sacred from interruption is the private bathroom. With his success in creating laboursaving gadgets, the modern-day guy has made an abyss of dullness that only the privileged courses in earlier civilizations have ever understood. For most Americans, progress implies accepting what is brand new because it is new, and discarding what is old since it is old.
I would die delighted if I knew my tombstone could be composed of these words. “This male was an absolute fool. None of the tragic things that he hesitantly expected ever before came to pass!”
Lewis Mumford (1895-1990).
Wonderful characters of the 20th century
We begin our series on wonderful characters of the 20th century with Lewis Mumford. This is just a justification for developing our ideas. Those that have an interest in the suggestions of “our” characters can go to the nearest bookshop and read straight from the water fountain. Anyhow, for those that are not acquainted with Mumford, I will certainly attract a short bio.
Lewis Mumford was born in 1895 (the same year X-rays were uncovered by Roentgen and the Dreyfus event was one more substantial “success”). Mumford started his job in the United States Patent Workplace (managing “concrete and concrete”), which offered him a first-person understanding of technological technology processes. Later on, he reached his late master, Patrick Geddes (and various other terrific thinkers like Victor Branford). These experiences transformed him right into a generalist. His writing job extended over 6 years, in which he made considerable contributions to the literature of background, ideology, art, and also architectural objection. Possibly best recognized for his work with urban planning and the study of innovation, Mumford was co-founder of the Regional Preparation Association of America and also, for 32 years, created the “Skies Line” column on style for the New Yorker. He served as a professor at many organizations, including Stanford college, the College of Pennsylvania, and MIT, as well as was assigned to the New York City Board of College. He got several awards, such as the National Medal for Literature and The National Medal for the Arts.
His very first composition was “The Story of Utopias”, which progressed one of the major motifs of his life: the utopian (technical) literary works and their influence on human development. After some other minor jobs (that included an attractive book on Herman Melville, 1929), he released his first excellent opus, “Technics and also People (1934 )”, one of the first historic works on technology. It was also incorporated into the educational program of technological institutes, like Cal technology, the first technological university to have a historic program. This book was, though with some doubts, highly oriented. After the battle, his viewpoint, concerning this as well as other matters, changed rather. 1938, he provided “The Culture of Cities”, the very first work relating to the other leitmotif of his life: urbanism and also design. the forties and also fifties, Mumford produced several services for the “human condition”, peace of mind, city growth, and also arts. In 1961 appeared one more major work of his, “The city in Background”, a complete survey of the city and also its cycles.
In the “crucial years”, throughout the sixties, Mumford wrote, in our simple point of view, his major work: “The Myth of the Equipment”. It was partly based upon the concepts of Oswald Spengler as improved by Alfred Toynbee, as well as, distilling nearly sixty years of examination, Lewis Mumford offers a head his extreme modifications of the stagnant prominent conceptions of human and technological progress. “The Misconception” is a completely developed historical explanation of the irrationalities that have threatened the greatest achievements of modern-day innovation – speed, mass production, automation, instant communication, and push-button control. These have undoubtedly caused pollution, waste, environmental disturbance, and also human elimination. And also he makes a comparison – component historic and also part imaginative – between the state maker of the Pyramid Age and the worldwide cybernetic As the generalist work of Mumford covers almost all areas of knowledge, I suggest you focus our dialogue on the problem of modern technology and also life (with some affiliation to his other major area: urbanism). Without a doubt, this is a warm subject nowadays (the “crazy cow illness” problem).
Emphasizes of this style are.
Mumford’s conversation of cybernetics and the “automation of automation” (Wiener).
Mumford’s polemics with McLuhan and also the audio-visual tribe – a humbug, in LM words.
As well as specifically, his proposal to transform the real mega-technology right into the life plenitude of organic poly technology – preparing for the eco-friendly sights these days.
As you are interested in technical media (i.e. your essay on the Internet), right here is a descent on politeness, Mr. Mumford.
” … It is to replace human freedom in every type with an updated digital version of the mega-machine. The mass media, he shows, are ‘produce before they are thought out. ‘they are being produced often terminates the possibility of their being thought out in all”. Precisely. Right here, McLuhan offers the entire show away. Because every technical device extends a male’s physical organs, including his brain, this outer framework, by McLuhan’s analysis, must, by its actual mass and universality, change all independent needs or wishes: because now for us ‘innovation belongs to our bodies’, no detachment or divorce is workable. ‘ and also ears and nerves, we put on ´ t have any rights (read freedom) left’ “.
” This latter factor may well be taken as a warning to disengage ourselves, immediately, from the power system so menacingly described: for McLuhan, it leads, rather, to a need for unconditional surrender. ‘Under electrical innovation’, he observes, ‘the whole service of man ends up being understanding and recognizing’. Aside from the fact that this is a pathetically scholastic picture of the potentialities of a guy, the kind of discovering and also understanding that McLuhan comes to be enraptured over is exactly that which can be set on a computer: ‘We are currently in position …’, he observes, ‘to transfer the whole program to the memory of a computer. No better formula could be located for apprehending and ultimately subduing human development …”.
Well, this is my opening activity, Your turn, Mr. Vaknin.
Good to renew our discussions. I will certainly get straight to the point, or, instead, to the points. I mean to handle each one of them extensively, yet, as is our routine, I am simply mapping the territory.
Technology differs from life
- Is it purposeful to talk about technology different from life, rather than life, or compared to life? Is it not the inevitable item of life, a component of life, and part of its definition? Francis Bacon and also, centuries later, the visionary Ernst Kapp, the idea of technology to dominate and also master nature – an expression of the timeless duality between the onlooker and observed. Yet there could be other methods of looking at it (consider, for instance, the seminal job of Friedrich Dessauer). Knapp was the first to talk of modern technology as a “body organ estimate” (coming before McLuhan by greater than a century). Freud wrote in “World and its Discontents”: “Guy has become a kind of prosthetic god. When he puts on all his auxiliary organs, he is magnificent, but those organs have not grown on him and they still provide him a lot of difficulties sometimes.”.
- Overall, has technology contributed to human advancement or jailed it?
- Even if we accept that modern technology is alien to life, a foreign implant, and a potential menace – what context can accommodate the new merging between life and innovation (medical technology and also biotechnology)? What are cyborgs – life or modern technology? What regarding duplicates? Man-made implants? Life maintaining devices (like heart-kidney makers)? Future implants of chips in human minds? Designer infants, tailored to specs by genetic engineering? What regarding ARTIFICIAL intelligence?
- Is technology IN-human or A-human? To put it simply, are the major, unalterable, and also dominant qualities of modern technology alien to people, to the human spirit, or to the human brain? Is this workable in any way? Is such non-human technology likely to be developed by artificial intelligence devices in the future? Ultimately, is this kind of innovation automatically ANTI-human also? Mumford’s category of all modern technologies to polytechnic (human-friendly), as well as mono technical (human averse), occur.
- Is the effect technology has on the person always similar and even similar to the effect it has on human collectives and also cultures? Think Web – the answer in this situation is NEGATIVE.
Is it workable to specify what is modern technology at all?
If we adopt Monsta’s meaning of innovation (1986) as “the methodical therapy of an art” – is an art to be dealt with as a variant of modern technology? Robert Merton’s definition is a non-definition because it is so wide it incorporates all teleological human activities: “any facility of standardized ways for achieving a predetermined outcome”.. Lasswell (whose job is mainly media-related) proffered a personnel interpretation: “the set of methods through which one uses offered sources to attain specific valued ends”. It is clear how vague and also indefensible these definitions are.
Does innovation enhance our capacity to exercise free choice – or does it interfere with it?
- Making use of modern technology involves choices and the exercise of free choice. Does innovation enhance our capacity to exercise free choice – or does it interfere with it? Exists an integral and insolvable contradiction between innovation and also honest and also ethical percepts? Place a lot more simply: is modern technology inherently dishonest and also immoral or a-moral? If so, is it pessimistic, or deterministic, as Thorstein Veblen recommended (in “Designers and the Rate System”)? To put the question; does modern technology DETERMINE our options and actions? Does it CONSTRAIN our possibilities and restrict our possibilities? We are all acquainted with paradises (and also dystopias) based upon technological breakthroughs (simply remember the millenarian fervor with which electrical power, the telegraph, railways, the radio, tv, and also the Internet were greeted). Innovation appears to form societies, cultures, perfects, and also assumptions. It is an ACTIVE participant in social dynamics. This is the significance of Mumford’s “mega-machine”, the “stiff, hierarchical social organization”. Contrast this with Dessauer’s sight of modern technology as a type of moral and a visual statement or doing, a direct method of engaging with things in themselves. The latter’s sights put modern technology nicely in the Kantian structure of categorical imperatives.
- Is innovation by itself neutral? Can the undeniable damage triggered by modern technology be caused, as McLuhan put it, by personal misuse and also misuse:” [It] is not that there is anything excellent or poor concerning [innovation] but that unfamiliarity of the impact of any type of pressure is a catastrophe, particularly a force that we have made ourselves”. If so, why blame innovation as well as exonerate ourselves? Displacing the blame is a classic mental defense mechanism, but it causes fatal behavioral strengths and pathological thinking.