From Tools to Technocracy in

bookTechnopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology

by Neil Postman

His argument, simple;

his question.

pp. 21-39

 

 

24 ¶

Marx “hand-loom gives feudal lord"

But which technology gave us a technocrat ?

21

connecting technological conditions to symbolic life                Symbols of power and transformation

C.S. Pierce 19th c. = Railway Age

22

dangers that lie ahead are seen more clearly with a taxon of three ages:

 

  1. Tools                        pre-and16th cent                     hands & eyes
  2. Technocracy                     17-18th cent                 machinery & mechanism
  3. Technopoly                       20th cent                       electronic automation

22-23

spears and cooking utensils – water mills and coal and horsepower – wheeled plow

 

mechanical clock --

23

“tools did not attach the dignity and integrity of the culture into which they were introduced.”

23

dictated the invention of tools and the limited uses to which they were (purposes) put.”

 

evidence

Innocent II condemned the use of the crossbow when in 12th century it was preferred in Europe.

23

the character of a tool using culture is not defined by the quantity of available technologies (the way tools fit together to accomplish tasks).

24

“tool-using cultures may be surprisingly sophisticated.”

Biblical admonition against graven images – idols -- idolatry

25

“relationship in a given culture between tools and the belief system or ideology.”

25

“a high degree of integration between its tools and its worldview (Euro-Medieval)

25

Theology formed the controlling ideology

26

“tools have a way of intruding”  stirrups—cavalry—land-holding => Feudalism

26

Transformation of the mechanical clock

 

27

Grinding mills – prostitution, matches and sexual habits of an African tribe.”

27

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.

27-28.

“In a technocracy, tools play a central role in the thought –world of a culture.”

28

Technocracy -- roots of which lie in Medieval Europe where “tools” began “attack the culture.”

                 Tradition, mores, myth, politics, ritual and religion” all fight -- succumb

28

Three great inventions: clock – typography – telescope – some devices are more important than most others.

                                  Galileo, Milton, Kepler, etc.

29

Galileo’s, Kepler’s, or Copernicus' intentions were not to disarm their culture

29-30

                 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

30

Kepler took the first significant step toward measuring time and it unintentionally, but inevitably, led to technocracy

31

Kepler was Lutheran—a man of sincere religious conviction in spite of excommunication from the Church

32

“Galileo did not invent the telescope.” also was of extreme religious convictions

                 transformed it “into an instrument of science”

32

                 G. disqualified theologians from being judges of nature based on scripture alone

 

32-33

Galileo’s heresy trial of 1633 – telescope, printing, and vernacular language (me) was his great undoing – he had no permission to “tell” people what tools were available and did!

33

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

34

                 “Although he saw the universes as mechanistic”

“give me matter and motion” and “I will construct the world.” I.N.

34-35

“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

35

Francis Bacon born in 1561, “first saw pure and serene the connection”

“…between science and the improvement of the human condition.”

35-36

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

36

Bacon

Experimental science was not but – Novum Organum was his great success.

“observe the force and effect and consequences of discoveries” [inventions].

36

“Places technological development at the center of the reader’s attention” (Progress & Power)

37

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)

37

“Read Bacon today”  “be constantly surprised at his modernity.”

                 Called for “a College of Inventors” in The Advancement of Learning”

38

                

Postman’s concluding remarks:

 

“impoverished and powerless peasants” – too poor to think

C. P. Snow, --in The Two Culturesbelieved 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.”

38-39

 

“The western world had become a technocracy.”

39

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

 

line

Postman's book's key parts:

 

Tools to Technocracy

From Technocracy to Technopoly

An improbable world

Broken Defenses

Scientism

Thesis

Page 3 of 3

book
tulips
Tools of Toil: what to read.
Tools are historical building blocks of technology.

Pursell | Pacey–World | Postman | Tenner |Pacey–meaning| Eberhart | Snow | Kaku

 

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