by Neil Postman
Marx “hand-loom gives feudal lord"
But which technology gave us a technocrat ?
C.S. Pierce 19th c. = Railway Age
dangers that lie ahead are seen more clearly with a taxon of three ages:
spears and cooking utensils – water mills and coal and horsepower – wheeled plow
mechanical clock --
“tools did not attach the dignity and integrity of the culture into which they were introduced.”
dictated the invention of tools and the limited uses to which they were (purposes) put.”
Innocent II condemned the use of the crossbow when in 12th century it was preferred in Europe.
the character of a tool using culture is not defined by the quantity of available technologies (the way tools fit together to accomplish tasks).
“tool-using cultures may be surprisingly sophisticated.”
Biblical admonition against graven images – idols -- idolatry
“relationship in a given culture between tools and the belief system or ideology.”
“a high degree of integration between its tools and its worldview (Euro-Medieval)
Theology formed the controlling ideology
“tools have a way of intruding” stirrups—cavalry—land-holding => Feudalism
Transformation of the mechanical clock
Grinding mills – prostitution, matches and sexual habits of an African tribe.”
If the introduction of matches changed sexual acts related to privacy (going to a neighbor’s hut to get the fire starting coals) – the rifle is of enormous consequence to accepted modes of behavior.
“In a technocracy, tools play a central role in the thought –world of a culture.”
Technocracy -- roots of which lie in Medieval Europe where “tools” began “attack the culture.”
Tradition, mores, myth, politics, ritual and religion” all fight -- succumb
Three great inventions: clock – typography – telescope – some devices are more important than most others.
Galileo, Milton, Kepler, etc.
Galileo’s, Kepler’s, or Copernicus' intentions were not to disarm their culture
May 24, 1543 death of Copernicus.
“a fool who went against Holy Writ” Martin Luther wrote of Nicholas Copernicus.
Kepler held a similar view to Nicholas Copernicus conception of the solar system
Kepler took the first significant step toward measuring time and it unintentionally, but inevitably, led to technocracy
Kepler was Lutheran—a man of sincere religious conviction in spite of excommunication from the Church
“Galileo did not invent the telescope.” also was of extreme religious convictions
transformed it “into an instrument of science”
G. disqualified theologians from being judges of nature based on scripture alone
1642 death and birth G – Newton
Newton lit the fuse of the Copernican, Keplerian & Galilean explosives; rocked Europe
Newton – “his faith in scripture being unshaken.” Calc 2d Coming 2060
“Although he saw the universes as mechanistic”
“give me matter and motion” and “I will construct the world.” I.N.
“All clung to the theology of their age.”
“a late sixteenth century passion for exactitude”
October 23, 4004 BC as the day God “created the Heavens and the Earth.”
“…laid the foundation for the emergence of technocracies”
Francis Bacon born in 1561, “first saw pure and serene the connection”
“…between science and the improvement of the human condition.”
Bacon was no real scientist and a poor investigator – but a brilliant publicist
Progress & Power was the name of his structure that promoted the utilitarian view of knowledge
Experimental science was not but – Novum Organum was his great success.
“observe the force and effect and consequences of discoveries” [inventions].
“Places technological development at the center of the reader’s attention” (Progress & Power)
182 aphorisms & it is in this work that “he denounces the famous four idols”
Idols deceit comes from
Cave deluded by nature (shadows & mirages)
Tribe deluded by heredity (ethnic prejudice)
Marketplace deluded by words (testimonials, advertising)
Theatre deluded by dogma -- philosophers (Aristotle)
“Read Bacon today” “be constantly surprised at his modernity.”
Called for “a College of Inventors” in The Advancement of Learning”
“impoverished and powerless peasants” – too poor to think
C. P. Snow, --in The Two Cultures– believed correctly that:
“the industrial revolution of the 19th century was the only hope for the poor”
In spite of the correctness of
Thomas Carlyle who said “true Deity became mechanism” the vast majority
“would not have traded their earthly existence for life in a godly-integrated tool using culture.”
“The western world had become a technocracy.”
Ω Postman’s last remark:
Say neither in their way
“It is deadly magic and accursed
Nor “It is blest,” only “ It is here.”
John Brown’s Body, Stephen Vincent Benet
Postman's book's key parts:
Page 3 of 3
|Tools of Toil: what to read.|
|Tools are historical building blocks of technology.|