Technopoly By Postman Essay Research Paper TechnopolyNeil

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Technopoly By Postman Essay, Research Paper Technopoly Neil Postman takes a pessimistic view of technology and its future in his book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. Upon first reading of the title, I was prepared for yet another example of meaningless technology bashing. Context-free sentiments such as ?Kill your TV? seem to flow unimpeded from every angle, especially from university faculty/writers. While Postman?s delivery is certainly not the Kaopectate required for this problem, it does attempt to provide context and explanation for why society must keep at least one eye open when accepting new technologies. The main point of this book is that society is becoming much too dependent on new technologies. Consequently, Postman argues, technological

development has reached a plateau previously reserved for such cornerstones of truth like God and ideals of morality. We have become slaves to our inventions. This is the definition of a technopoly. Postman thoroughly points out all of the negative consequences and implications of this. The quantification of everything, loss of moral authorities, and the devaluation of meaningful symbols are just a sample of the many problems that Postman attributes to the rise of technology. The one important aspect left out in this book is something that Postman claims to be important in his preface: We may learn from this that it is a mistake to suppose that any technological innovation has a one-sided effect. Every technology is both a burden and a blessing, not either or, but this and that.

(Postman, 5) I realize that it is important to have a dissenting voice in a predominantly pro-technology society. However, to argue an issue in need of a cost-benefit analysis by only presenting costs and negative aspects is silly and misleading. The tone of Technopoly is consequently a little paranoid, and at times leads to premature conclusions. The first part of this book begins by dividing cultures into three groups. Tool using cultures did have inventions, but these inventions ?did not attack the dignity and integrity of the culture into which they were introduced? (Postman, 23). These cultures were all unified by some metaphysical theory that was rarely, if ever, disturbed by technology. Postman claims that the progression from this initial state to technocracy was

facilitated by the ideas of Francis Bacon in the 17th century. Bacon is credited as being the first to see the connection between science and the improvement of the human condition. It is also at this point that ?resignation was cast out and God assigned to a special room. The name of the building was Progress and Power? (Postman, 36). In 18th century technocratic capitalism took hold not only as a good idea, but as a reality that could not be reversed. Religion and tradition still existed at this point, although they were more threatened by technology than they had been previously. With the aggressive progress of new invention, technological and traditional world-views collide and produce the problem of a developing technopoly. With the rise of Technopoly, one of those

thought-worlds disappears. Technopoly eliminates alternatives to itself in precisely the way Aldous Huxley outlined in Brave New World. It does not make them illegal. It does not make them immoral. It does not even make them unpopular. It makes them invisible and therefore irrelevant. And it does so by redefining what we mean by religion, by art, by family, by politics, by history, by truth, by privacy, by intelligence, so that our definitions fits its new requirements. Technopoly, in other words, is totalitarian technocracy. (Postman, 48) Postman speaks with a fanatic romanticism of the past when describing these world-views, but I?m still left with no understanding of what advantages of tool-using cultures held. Indeed, it is very hard to say what kind of advantages something