The Ideas Of Technopoly By Neil Postman

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I have read a few books that have significantly shifted my view of the world. Some of these books are prestigious--like Plato’s The Republic and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird--and some less so--for example, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. In the past few months, I have added Technopoly by Neil Postman to that list. While this text may not be the most well-known of Postman’s novels, the ideas and arguments he presents within it are in some ways more disturbing than those in the more famous Amusing Ourselves to Death. In short, Postman (1992) argues that “We are currently surrounded by throngs of . . . one-eyed prophets who see only what new technologies can do and are incapable of imagining what they will undo” (p. 5). Though …show more content…
However, the information we have and the means by which we attain itsaid information is slowly but clearly altering the way we think. In his landmark book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman focuses on how a culture rich in the media of television actively prevents us from engaging in meaningful conversations with each other and with the theorists of the past. When our culture shifted from a primarily print-based culture to an image-based culture, the demands placed upon us by that culture changed as well. In a print-based culture, the reader is required to “follow a line of thought, which requires considerable powers of classifying, inference-making and reasoning. It means to uncover lies, confusions, and overgeneralizations, to detect abuses of logic and common sense. It also means to weigh ideas, to contrast assertions, to connect on generalization to another” (Postman, 1985, pg. 51). By contrast, an image-based culture makes no such demands and requires no such sustained thought. In fact, the image-based culture we live in now does not even require us to remain still. We can watch movies and look at pictures anywhere and at anytime by accessing our phones. When we think about television, Postman (1985) writes that “You can only photograph a particular fragment of the here-and-now--a cliff of a certain terrain, in a certain condition of light; a wave at a moment in time, from a particular point of …show more content…
We give our students timed tests because even if two students achieve the same correct answer, the one who answered first must be smarter--or so we believe. This idea of speed and efficiency, which is what we prize in our technology, is not something, unsurprisingly, at which many humans excel. In fact, we have come to believe in this idea of speed and accuracy as hallmarks for intelligence so much so that, as a culture, we are experiencing "a loss of confidence in human judgment and subjectivity. We have devalued the singular human capacity to see things in all their psychic, emotional and moral dimensions, and we have replaced this with faith in the power of technical calculation" (Postman, 1992, pg. 118). Moreover, Postman (1992) claims that because of technology, we now believe that “technical calculation is in all respects superior to human judgment; that in fact human judgment cannot be trusted because it is plagued by laxity, ambiguity, and unnecessary complexity” (p. 51). Technology fundamentally undermines the human experience and the way in which humans make meaning of the world around them. Essentially, technology argues that our subjective world view is of no value, will never be of any value, and that the only thing we should value is information, which it can

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