Advanced glossary of synonyms for crucial terms to know when you are critically reading.

rare words | mistaken words | variable words | using words | obscure words

B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

acumen, means to have an ability to make effective decisions quickly, effectively responsive without delay. From a Latin word, meaning - sharp, acute.

alternative technology, the clever attempt to "damn with faint praise," those forms of technology not fueled by coal, oil, gas or other "fossil fuels." Alternative meaning as another choice, a replacement of fossil fuels by wind, water, solar heat or solar electric or geothermal propelled devices to operate machinery or heavy equipment. The implication is that these are alternates for the use "normal" oil or coal fueled machines. renewable resources, appropriate technology, green tools.

Argument, dialectical argumentation, or debate is a means of stating and refuting a premise through examining the evidence for opposite statements called a thesis and an antithesis. This is done for the purposes of seeing the merits of an issue from opposing sides by posing one side of a question in opposition to another. The intent is to understand more than a single side of a proposition. dialectical method.

atavistic, the reappearance in the distant offspring of diseases or of peculiar traits, behavior or likeness found in a distant ancestor, a reversion to ancestral behavior or conditions in an existing descendant. A throwback, or regression, reversion.

bias, see this linked page.

brainwash, to have one's beliefs and views altered by undue persuasive force. Noam Chomsky says manufacturing consent is old style propaganda in a guise of objectivity, reductionism, certainty, & fragmentation. Some call this overt & covert aspects of thought control. Chomsky feels that we are isolated -- atomized victims of disjointed, modern imagery, language, & media see his book the Manufacture of Consent. indoctrinate.

commodification , commercialization, or the selling of things; The notion that any item, person, or place can be interchangeably valued, exchanged, or purchased for some price. These beliefs are enhanced due to mass production which has fed the growth of advertising, marketing, and public relations. materialism.

, an ability of the mind to connect related ideas, images and knowledge coherently.

conspicuous consumption is the ostentatious display of wealth in order to gain recognition, increase one's status, intimidate others, or dispel reality. status seeking.

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

culture, from the Latin word cultus, to cultivate (raise crops) or to form a cult. Culture has many interpretations, but refers to the inherited ethnic identity of all peoples derived from language, nutrition, surroundings, religious beliefs, social institutions, and material artifacts. As such any culture disturbs, reinforces and often refabricates new views about nature, the world and the universe, because ideas embodied in all cultures shape the way we choose to live. rituals, tradition or custom.

delusional intelligence, refers to some distortion inherent in our sensory perceptions that reinforce our prejudices. The tendency is exaggerated by technology because tools or instruments enhanced by our ignorance lead us astray. That delusion in based on a lack of aesthetic judgment, moral certitude, and common decency -- but it is further and needlessly mystified if we do not understand the rationale, synergy, timing, or varied aspects of technology. pseudoscience, false witness.

dialectical argument, go to here.

dialogue the importance of, see this page.

ecology, is derived from the GREEK word "eko" for household: oikos -- residence of the family: natural history oikumene -- structures & buildings, oikios topos -- the nest or place that best suits a specific plant. range

Logos is the study of a body of ideas -- as expressed in particular words and phrases that comprise the language & viewpoint of ecolacy. The science of environmental awareness.

can be an example of a manufactured view point by leaving out or deleting significant details and including tangential details that crowd out the focus of an issue, event, or problem. Treat trivially, over simplify, mask, obscure.

electricity an inherent facet of nature due to the weak force; one of four fundamental, universal; forces found in matter. see this page.

ethical, see this page.

ethnic, see this page.

evidence, see this page.

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

literally to make by hand, create or bring an idea into concrete existence. Figuratively to make up as in making up the illusion that every new product is a signal of or harbinger of progress because it is an improvement over original, or preceding designs. ballyhoo, hype, make-up.

fabricating consensus
is based on our widespread ignorance of media uses, the influence of electronic technology in shaping our reality, and the reporting of superficial agreement as if it were substantive, false assertions.

fictions are accepted explanations for otherwise complicated events or even unreal circumstances. Fictions refer to unexamined descriptions or meaningless metaphors; for example: "national security," "friendly fire," "necessity is the mother of invention," "perpetual motion," downsized, side effects, passed away, or "the common good." myths, beliefs, ideology, imaginative inventions, creative accounting, misleading evidence.

function, to operate in order to achieve some end, purpose, or intended design. process, means, mode; purpose, operation, or use.

"human ecology
cannot be limited strictly to biological concepts, but it cannot ignore them. It cannot even transcend them. It emerges from the fact of interconnection as a general principal of life. It must take a long view of human life and nature as they form a mesh or pattern going beyond historical time and beyond the conceptual bounds of other humane disciplines." Or "man is in the world & his ecology is the nature of that 'inness' " according to ecologist, Paul Shepard, 1969. social ecology, cultural biology, social psychology.
human ecology

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

idea, the conceptual manifestation in the conscious mind of either tangible or intangible images that represent a concise, related set of beliefs, opinions or creations. See ideal.

imagery revolution,
[1850 - 1998] Since the purpose of much advertising is to deceive the motive of much entertainment, broadcasting, and even news coverage, or commentary is to dull peoples 'brains and sell them a perspective of the sponsors,
producers, writers, or anchor persons. The institutions that partake in this are: mass media, newspapers & magazines, photography, movies, radio, television, computers, Internet, & political. See, Daniel Boorstin's, The Image.


requires that the images we see on film, videotape, or in print be "honest" portrayals since images and symbols have the capacity to distract us from the reality of the world. For example since most of the country's population is urban, media advertising emphasizes the rural and wild setting over urban scenes. Are these images truthful portrayals of our experience? How is imagination manipulated? propaganda, appearance, fantasia

Landscape, land, countryside, country and terrain are related and important concepts that suggest geography is both a risk and an opportunity that are tied to, if not dependent, on the carrying capacity of the land's resources and the assimilative capacity of the organisms, air and water to adapt to conditions that alter the capacity of an area to maintain, nourish and invest in life. See environmental conservation as a principal to protect resources of the water and land.

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

machine, A device operated to achieve some desired end, usually fueled or propelled by an outside force. A complicated arrangement of gears, pulleys and other moving tools that serve a purpose or function. The inorganic functioning of a complicated device with moving parts. Descartes argued that people were machines, and Le Courbusier, later in the Twentieth century suggest that the "home" was a "machine for living." From the Greek word maxina, machina, a device. Deus ex machina, "The God in the Machine", a theatrical stage device used literally to resolve an outcome in an ancient play's plot, hence figuratively speaking, we derive the modern means of devising a "happy ending."

machine, model of

Manufactured sense of freedom, A complicated argument that says we do not comprehend real liberty, because by the arrangement of images, or the repetition of constant phrases (deceits), even in the absence of proof, or in the absence of sufficient evidence people assume they are free when they are not so, because of psychologically powerful reinforcement. Such psychological syndromes as that of compliance with authority, the necessity for perfection, and the identification of captives with their captors can with the capacity for humans to suspend disbelief, play into this concept. Freedom also, according to social psychologist Eric Fromm, places a burden on individuals to think for themselves and that my lead to a rejection of "free will" and the mind's willingness to accept an image or an ideal without regard for the substance, hence the idea of "sense" in an artificial and fabricated or crafted (manipulated) sense of well being, when the observer is actually in peril.

mechanical, Men are grown mechanical in head and in heart, as well as in hand,” said Thomas Carlyle, in 1829.

mechanistic means the comparison between organic materials and inorganic machinery, implying that the natural, or biological world is best, or better understood in terms of defining living processes as a sort of mechanical, meaning machine like means of functioning. The belief since Copernicus and Newton, that the universe is a vast machine, of which the stars and planets are cogs in a vast mechanical device. At type of philosophy or belief that machinery is an appropriate analogy for living systems. motorized, robotic, mindless, unforgiving, relentlessly practical.

metaphor, see this page.

misplaced sentiment: is the inability to distinguish true feelings from less sincere nostalgic yearnings for allegedly simpler times in the past. Sentiments that are seriously inappropriate include childish fantasies & wish fulfillment instead of realistic feelings about our accomplishments and failures. The expression of feelings so as to hide from view the deeper complexities of human emotions. See also: fictions (above). sentimentality, maudlin.

natality is another word for fertility, the number of children born during a given time period. Measured in terms of when the births occur, the health of the newborn, and the total number of children born in any family during the reproductive years of the mother.

nature, varied meanings are here, and related concepts are here .

neoteny is the retention childlike features in the adult form. The concept explains several divergent patterns in the natural selection of species such as how human and chimpanzee infants are more alike and the adult form of humans is more like a newly born chimpanzee. A related word is pedomorphosis.

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

oikumene, In the ancient Greek tradition oikumene is the concept of "the inhabited world," although it had six other meanings. Community or an occupied place. The collection of households, fields, orchards, improved landscapes. "A peopled place known to sustain life." Peoples in their surroundings or a habitation; landscape and architecture of places. Cultural landscape, topography, sensibilité, genii loci, built environment.

politics of tools, by failing to critically analyze the influence of our media or machinery, or organizational equipment (all are examples of tools) on policies, laws, trials, and livelihoods we are prone to manipulation because deception is so widespread as a part of advertising. Any technology exerts an influence on politics either overtly in the form of debates over traditional norms because new technology makes possible a redefining of censorship, abortion, and ownership, or the right to self defense and privacy. Because tools are owned by corporations which are recognized as persons under law, the constitution enables technology to compete with human interests. Another example of how new inventions are shaping our behavior, work, homes and past-times by gadgets, machines and equipment. technocracy, rule by technicians.

reification (from reify) means treating anything fictional or abstract as though it were actually existing or real. Considering an abstraction or some ideal as actual or substantially real. The mass production of images feeds the reification of misplaced sentiment because we do not critically examine the content of these metaphors and icons that become the dominant symbols of an age, such as the steam locomotive, the bomb, or the laser. Examples of this include: "the masses," "baby boomers," "the economy," "generation X". idolatry, false concreteness.

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

science is our word for knowledge and is derived from the Indo-European word to cut or divide SKEI{from scire: to cut} [GREEK] meaning to separate (/) divide or split. The word has a general and specific meaning that depends on the context in which the word is used. Science is the knowledge we amass about the physical universe's predictable periodicity. Science is really a method, or way of knowing about our existence. epistemology, knowledge.

science as a story | defining science | science contrasted with technology

somnambulistic, sleep walking, to behave as if one were sleeping through an otherwise conscious set of behaviors, hence unconscious of the world around you. remote, disconnected, unconscious..

sybaritic, means -- wantonly indulgent, luxurious display of behavior to avoid work, a pleasure seeker. Eschewing good taste & ignoring moderation. An excessive reliance on pleasure to mold behavior. An extremely Epicurean perspective on life in that human purpose is to enjoy ourselves. Thomas Hobbes (17th Century) argued we were motivated by the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. epicurean, indulgent, excessive sensuality.

symbiotic go here.

synergy, synergetic, synergistic, two or more forces acting in tandem have an impact that is greater than the mere sum of the combined effects. This idea leads to the notion of the multiplier effect to measure the relative strength of combined influences of technology on the economy, politics, and organizations of societies. Two harmless depressants when taken independently have a mortal synergy: Alcohol + Barbiturates = death. The impact of two or more causes is greater than the sum of their combined impacts. There can be positive as well as negative synergistic combinations. convergence.

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

technological autism a form of automated technical virtuosity in media, electronics, electrical machinery and transportation that has either fostered or at least encouraged people to become both less proficient while growing dependent upon machinery and out of touch with the actual processes that technological and living things depend on for their survival and emotional security. This self-indulgent behavior is somnambulistic, and encourages us to be contented consumers of superficial messages designed to deaden our feelings. An extreme withdrawal from life based on emotional detachment. unresponsive, aloof, out of touch.

technology, is the systematic application of knowledge to expressive, manufacturing, mechanical, industrial, or chemical arts to solve problems. The applied use of knowledge to enhance and accumulate efficient changes in the human use of tools, devices, instruments, utensils, or artifacts in the creation of material culture while assuring survival. Technology refers to the related series of inventive steps, procedures, tools, and artifacts to make products that have a market or meet some demand from the population. Technical inventions act to speed up, influence, & accelerate power over time. practicality, instrumentalism, utilitarianism.

technical changes refers to five related influences of the capacity of technology change our milieu.

This is because

  1. Technology alters or raises the carrying capacity of a place to house a greater density of population.
  2. Technology compensates for human frailty.
  3. It redefines reality and the boundaries of our knowledge.
  4. Technical change accounts for the differences in people's material culture.
  5. Technology conditions us to behave differently in the absence or presence of mechanical appliances. industrial revolution.

Trivialize, to make trivial; the skillful ability to divert attention from serious or weighty issues and focus mass attention on so many inconsequential details that most observers lose track of the heart of an issue. The irreverent use or deliberate manipulation of meaningful ideas, beliefs, symbols, or customs in such a way as to diminish the importance of, or actually lose, the comprehensive narrative that gives coherence to a culture undergoing rapid social change. To make unimportant, manqué, faux, fool or overly simplify.

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V

utilitarian, the
belief from the Seventeenth Century that the role of public policies should be judged on a criteria that became widely adopted in the Nineteenth Century due in part to the popularity of John Stuart Mill. This was a criteria based on "the greatest good for the greatest number of people"influenced by the decisions of administratively powerful agencies. The ideas rest on the notion that the good of anything is based on its function, practice or capacity to bring about the greatest good for the largest number. Practical, pragmatic. See utility, & utilitarianism/

virtuosity, the expression of a sophisticated level of workmanship or artistry based on the mastery of materials, means of display, or ways of knowing how to perform difficult procedures. Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, or Rosalind Franklin all displayed virtuosity in their professions. professional, artistry.

World view, see worldview

X-chromosome the expression of female traits in the human animal is to some extent governed by the possession of two "X" chromosomes.

A, B, C, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, S, T, U, V



More words

rare words | mistaken words | variable words | using words | obscure words

Terms | Glossary | Word webs | Basic vocabulary | Advanced Vocabulary | Antonyms | Synonyms

These buttons below work as navigational aids.
Technology's impact on words.

Authors | Pursell | Pacey–Meaning | Pacey | Tenner | Postman–Tech | Postman–Television | Eberhart | Snow | Kaku