Mander (1991). Fantasy And Reality. (In the absence of the sacred.)

Mander, J. (1991). Fantasy And Reality. In In the absence of the sacred: The failure of technology and the survival of the Indian Nations (pp. 25–36). San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.

“People who celebrate technology say it has brought us an improved standard of living, which means greater speed (people can travel faster and obtain more objects and information sooner), greater choice (often equated with freedom of choice, which usually refers to the ability to choose among jobs and commodities), greater leisure (because technology has supposedly eased the burden and time involved in work), and greater luxury (more commodities and increased material comfort). None of these benefits informs us about human satisfaction, happiness, security, or the ability to sustain life on Earth.” (p 26)

“… people such as Ivan Illich have said that if you include the time needed to earn money to pay for and repair all the expensive ‘time-saving’ gadgets in our lives, modern technology actually _deprives_ us of time.” (p 26)

[Boo. A hyperbolic claim without any metrics or support. Reduces credibility of other statements in this chapter/book, esp vis-a-vis claims regarding human health. — oki …]

“By separating people from traditional holistic self-care practices, and by dubious medical interventions with drugs and surgery, modern medicine may cause as much disease as it cures.” (p 27)

[a) It’s not a perfect world, b) compared to what other period in history? I think Mander missed a chance to identify/isolate the key flaw. — oki …]

“I believe an objective observer — an anthropologist from Mars, perhaps — would conclude that our society is not functioning very well. Considering the violence, self-destruction, drug abuse, insanity, unequal distribution of wealth, and failure to provide freedom from fear, an observer would surely label the whole situation a failure.” (p 28)

“Lewis Mumford said that the ‘horn of plenty,’ i.e., the unlimited material goods that technological society promises, qualifies as a ‘magnificent bribe’ meant to get us to overlook what has been lost in the bargain.” (p 29)

[“Ingredients Of The Pro-Technology Paradigm” (p 30) …]

[“Dominance of Best-Case Scenarios” (p 30) …]

“The first waves of description are invariably optimistic, even utopian. This is because in capitalist societies all early descriptions of new technologies come from their inventors and the people who stand to gain from their acceptance.” (p 30)

[“Technology’s Pervasiveness and Invisibility” (p 31) …]

“Marshall McLuhan told us to think of all technology in environmental terms because of the way it envelops us and becomes difficult to perceive. From morning to night we walk through a world that is totally manufactured, a creation of human invention.” (p 31)

“Workers on an assembly line, for example, must function at the speed of the line, submitting to its repetitive physical and mental demands. When we drive a car, we are forced to focus our minds and bodily reactions on being at one with the road and the machine: following the curves, moving through the landscape at appropriate speeds. The more we spend our lives in this manner, the more these interactions define the perimeters of our experience and vision. They become the framework of our awareness.” (p 31)

“Living constantly inside an environment of our own invention, reacting solely to things we ourselves have created, we are essentially living _inside our own minds_. Where evolution was once an interactive process between human beings and a natural, unmediated world, evolution is now an interaction between human beings and our own artifacts.” (p 32)

[“Limitations of the Personal View” (p 32) …]

“Failing to see how machines connect, we are like the blind man seeking to describe the elephant by feeling its ankle. Unable to see the whole creature, we tend to define technology on a scale we can manage.” (p 32)

“While watching television, we don’t think about the impact upon the tens of millions of people around the world who are absorbing the same images at the same time, nor about how TV homogenizes minds and cultures.” (p 33)

[“The Inherent Appeal of the Machine” (p 33) …]

“The edited, re-created, re-enacted, sped-up, slowed-down, manufactured imagery we see on television or in film is _not_ in the same category of imagery as birds we see in the sky. Failing to make that distinction, we believe what we see in the media is as true and reliable as the unmediated information from nature, which offers great opportunities to advertisers, program directors, and politicians.” (p 34)

[“The Assumption That Technology Is Neutral” (p 35) …]

“No notion more completely confirms our technological somnambulism than the idea that technology contains no inherent political bias.” (p 35)

“Each new technology invariably steers society in _some_ social and political direction, by its very nature. Each new technology is compatible with certain political outcomes, and most technology is invented by people who have some specific outcome in mind.” (p 36)

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