Do you agree with Neil Postman that:

"I mean the world we live in is very nearly incomprehensible to most of us."

p. 58

Is it?



options | themes | conclusions

Personal question

Humans, having altered the face of the earth, the recent change in the chemistry of the oceans is a clear indicator of damaging alterations of the atmosphere. The immensity of these persistent, prolonged and pernicious impacts will linger for centuries. In reshaping the planet to better meet the consuming habits of seven billion inhabitants our use of powerful technologies has brought humankind to a crossroads.

We have a brief window of opportunity within which to decide to reduce pollution, waste, and inefficiencies because we are inexorably passing a threshold or point of no return. The imprecise character of this threshold suggests caution.

Because the threshold indicates the capacity of the physical and chemical conditions to satisfy our wants and the earth's life simultaneously without diminishing the the planet's functional resilience to sustain future population growth and biological diversity, it is important now to reduce our adverse impacts and adjust to a volatile new globe.

"By looking at the origins of technology one finds the origin of the human race. The two are inseparable.... But if being human means anything, it is difficult to imagine it separate from technology."

Carroll Pursell, White Heat, p. 14.


options | themes | conclusions


Themes in Postman's argument that we are capable, but losing our grip on the mental capacity to guide further technological change.Six chapters in Technopoly Postman:

From Technocracy to Technopoly

An Improbable World,

information glut | timing of events | change in stories | graphical revolution

Some themes in Broken Defenses,

information revolutions | cultural transmission | technical alterations.

Invisible Technologies,Nihilism,

Critics of mechanization are one origin of techno-phobic responses.

Laws of technology:

Technopoly defined



options | themes | conclusions


Think with a wiser, circumspect, and incisive use of evidence.

"As the power of traditional social institutions to organize perceptions and judgment declines, bureaucracies, expertise, and technical machinery become the principle means by which Technopoly hopes to control information and thereby provide itself with intelligibility and order."

pp. 90-91.

The book's key parts:

  Tools to Technocracy

From Technocracy to Technopoly Broken Defenses

An improbable world




options | themes | conclusions

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