Technological Techniques: Humanizing Technique And Media Environments Through Conditioning Of Technological Man

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id="mod_4551591">Applying Technique to Re-Humanize Change
The advent and end of slavery created a phases in human relation that persist to this day, thus known as racism. The relations between men were economic, political, social and religious. Implanted in these intentions and interaction was the perception of the self premised upon Superiority and Inferiority Complexes. The hue of ones skin color become one of the many determining factors of this communion. Social relations became cemented in these artificial values.


One group of the Society had ways and means of creating a chasm between people of different nations, colors and religions. Some were captured from Africa and other countries, and enslaved and dehumanized. This created an uneven social development and growth, misery and underdevelopment of large segment of the society. This phase of human development was interrupted by the changing and developing societies from rudimentary technologies, to automation and newly invented technologies in all spheres of human and social endeavors and need for change.


Marshall McLuhan says: "The situation of Africa today is complicated by the new electronic technology. Western man himself being de-Westernized by his own new speed-up, as much as the Africans are being detribalized by our old print and industrial technology. If we understood our own media old and new, these confusions and disruptions could be programmed and synchronized.


The very success we enjoy in specializing and separating functions in order to have speed-up, however, is at the same time the cause of inattention and unawareness of the situation. It has ever been thus in the Western World, at least. Self-consciousness of the causes and limits of one's own culture seems to threaten the ego structure and is, therefore, avoided.


Nietzsche said that understanding stops action, and men of action seem to have an intuition of the fact in their shunning the dangers of comprehension." It should therefore be noted that the decline of the old ways of dissemination of information and communication are replaced by new forms of interacting, dissemination and messaging. McLuhan observes: "Print or mechanized introduced a separation and extension of human function to unknown in history....


Speed, at least in its lower reaches of the mechanical order, always operates to separate, to extend, and to amplify functions of the body. When information moves at the speed of signals in the central nervous system, man is confronted with the obsolescence of earlier forms of acceleration, such as road and rail," [or TV and Internet] . What emerges is a total field of inclusive awareness. The old patterns of psychic and social adjustment become irrelevant. The result was a magnificent and magnanimous giant paradigm shift


Automated Change


The Industrial Revolution brought about steam engines and automated machinery. Coal and electricity helped develop more efficient and fully automated. This gave rise to Technique and rudimentary Technology. With Technology and Technique, the merger thereof, we saw the invention and innovation of small and large gadgets we began to see washing machines, typewriters, Lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, toasters, and so forth. Electric stoves Society was becoming modernized and slowly being technologized through Automation and Technique. While these benevolent acts were unfolding, the society within which this change was taking place was hardcore racist.


At the same time we see the beginnings and rise of the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. Within these social relations, a maintenance of crude dominance of slave labor necessitated for the accrual of wealth at the expense of slave labor. This edge made consumerism of the day possible, and the dehumanization of slaves inevitable. The need for development modernizing the new societies, gave rise to colonization, slavery and the extraction of raw materials from those colonized countries, namely Africa, China, Caribbean, etc., and other colonized societies.


The colonizing State carried out this deed through legislated Law, Religion and business acumen. Earnings from these early economies made it possible for the owners to reap bounty, and the slaves to clamor for crumbs. As automation grew, so did the consumption of the rich elite, resulting in disastrous poverty and disenfranchisement of the poor and exploited laborers and slave. African Slaves bore the brunt of this social set up.


From the Morse Code to AM and FM radios these technological gadgets were now being mass produced. Technology became Media which slowly began eroding and dissipating borders and limitations that curtailed human connectedness and communication; this also had the effect of corroding and slowly dislocating the rigid and time encrusted social relations of master and servant/slave. Segregated dwellings, spaces and jobs became the norm. The development of the rich elite who had everything, and the underdevelopment of the poor and down-trodden, who had nothing, ever widened.


Communications was from top to down. The elite were the senders of messages, orders and, commands and demands; the slaves and poor were there as receptors and executors of all commands, demands and so forth. Consumerism of the early elites, and their thirst for spending, facilitated and necessitated for the development of technique and technology; this further stripped the have-nots of any bit of crumb left of gnaw on.


The speed up of electronic age is as disrupting for literate, lineal and western man as the Roman paper routes were for tribal villagers. Our speed-up today is not is not outward explosion from center to margins, but an instant implosion and interfusion of space and functions. Our specialist, and fragmented civilization of center-margin structure is suddenly experiencing an instantaneous reassembling of all its mechanized bits into an organic whole.


This is the world of the global village.(McLuhan) "The village," according to Lewis Mumford, "had achieved a social institutional extension of all human faculties." This reality has manifested itself in the form of the Internet and its interlocking web-like tentacles that extend our communication needs, ideas and reality, interaction and connectivity. Makes one wonder if we are harkening back to collective unconsciousness or move into the state of a democracy within a state of a cyber global village, in the process extending us with it, in effect, then the electric age brings number back into unity with visual and auditory experience for good or ill, as observed by McLuhan. The internet has all of these possibilities wrapped up into one. I am just wondering what an accelerated automated, and the unity of numbers, visual and auditory experience in the form of he Internet will do to us in the end…


Technique and Deconstruction of Race


The advent of computer made possible for the introduction of the Internet and its concomitants. The landline phone, by Bell, saw the introduction of the Beeper, then the emergence of the cell phone, the i-phone, i-tunes, texting, twittering and so forth. As these gadgets and their technologies merged, we began to witness the extension and booming of human communication and connection. This connectedness is akin to the map of the human nervous system with all its tentacles and branches. Borders and other forms that constricted human connections and communications soon dissipated.


The social relation without these gadgets was being slowly nullified and a new awareness about human communication in a global sense was set in motion. Technology and technique slowly and surely had begun and is now in the process of deconstructing race and racism as we know it. The advancement and affordability of the technological gadgets and how they interconnect with one another,has demonstrated that ways of talking and dealing with each other has somewhat transcended race, color and creed.


We get to know each other's race or place or origin once we because we are from being the grammatical man, to a cyberphile whilst retaining our grammatical orientations. The web is fast developing its own linguistic and semantical jargon. This somehow eliminates the use of grammar and the dramatical man that makes grammatical man use to determine race, culture or creed, evaluation of the other and in a way, cybernetics has enabled the recreation of an Internet global Community interconnecting under one cyber community linked into common cyber linguistic forum.


According to Campbell, the term 'cybernetics' Comes from a Greek word meaning steersman, and it carries the sense of stability, of constant correct functioning. Cybernetics enforces consistency. It permits change, but the change must be orderly and abide by the rules. It is a universal principle of control, and can be applied to all kinds of organization, just as Shannon's theorems apply to communication of all kinds.


It does not matter whether the system is electrical, chemical, mechanical, biological or economical. So that, the notions of race become challenged by the amorphous and intertwined entity with nervous system-like tentacles and tendrils and myriad interconnections, stuffed with technicized mnemonics, memes and data-engorged and embedded within the Web as cyber babble.


Satellite Communication Technology has made earthlings to live in a Global Village through its ability to beam signals of all the gadgets to all corners of the globe. This has helped with e-mails, cell phones, twitters, face-books, youtube, and other new means of inter-connecting, morphing, phasing in and out, downloading, googling, blogging, hubbing, posting , chatting, texting being online and so forth. Satellites and its interconnected technological gadgets, has given both the rich and poor capabilities and joining with other unknown people world-wide.


This new way of communicating with its new language has brought about and is beginning to debunk the decrepit notions or race and racism in the ether, web and data-sphere. Web names and other such features have replace peoples first name, race and religion. So long as one is surfing the web on the cell phone, logging, posting, chatting and sending photos, text messaging and so on, the rigid social relations are replaced by a new form and format of human connection, conversation and communication.


Social relations are no more only land based, but are on the tendrils and nervous-system-like connections fed by the Satellite and the nascent and emerging technologies, techniques and media savviness of its users, globally. Interconnectivity has given rise to many internet cyber communities that it is becoming difficult to cope with the different formations and interconnections. The dissolution of traditional ways of learning and the old ways we interacted with each other or as media receptacles of old media and technological gadgets, has us disseminating and regurgitating and imbibing new ways communicating with one another, globally, which have changed.


Times have changed since Christopher Columbus set foot on the American shores… Social relations are now governed and dictated by technology and technique, efficiency and effectiveness. Regionalism and nationalism, racism and so on, face daunting pressures from these new and fascinating technological gadgets and the technological capacity and abilities. These new machines and the advanced technological feats are used by contemporary societies to interrogate and challenge unjust and unusual social ills and the nature of new human connectedness and communications(as was the case in China, Iran, etc.)


Technique, technology and consumerism, has slowly debunked and deconstructed the archaic beliefs and economic systems, which are still trying to maintain, the notions of race and racism, within all social interactions and social relations, technological connections and human communications Maybe technology will take over social relations on issues of race and racism; we might see the introduction of a genuinely Technological Society where human beings converge ad morph with each other through the modernized technological gadgets, which easily, it seems, are able to suspend and debunk the decrepit and old decaying issues of race relations in human communications and social relations and interaction.


As we become adept with using technology and technique, the hope is for that we are ultimately one species, of human, with all types of hue and language, cultures and so forth developing and evolving as technology and technique evolve and morphs into the future.


Technological Progress and Unintended Consequences


The final aspect of the ambiguity of technical resides in the following state of affairs. When scientists carry out their researches in one or another discipline and hit upon new technical means, they generally see clearly in what sphere the new technique will be applicable. Certain results are expected and gotten. But, there are always secondary effects which had not been anticipated, which in the primary stage of technical progress in question could not in principle have been anticipated. This unpredictability arises from the fact that predictability implies complete possibility of experimenting in every sphere, an inconceivable state of Affairs.


For example, this principle discussed above is furnished by drugs. Whenever you have a headache, you take an aspirin. When the headache disappears, you find that the aspirin has other actions besides doing away with the headaches. In the beginning people were totally unaware of these side effects, but by now,most of us have probably read some articles or seen some Television report about the side effects of the over-the-counter medicines, aspirins included, having warnings issued against their use because of their dangerous side-effects, and in some cases raise our blood pressures if not kill us.


Grave hemorrhages have appeared in people who habitually too or three aspirins daily. Yet Aspirin was thought the perfect remedy a mere one and a half decades ago — on the ground that no side effect were to be feared. Today, such effects begin to appear even in what was, and is, probably the most harmless of drugs.(Moran)


Another example is that of vocational opportunities being connected to the invention of the automobile. In truth, the invention of the automobile did suppress some a lot of vocations resulting in a vast number of persons being laid off; but it brought about innumerable others into being with people now employed by this industry and were working servicing this industry. Needless to say that this is a somewhat heartless comment, because even though we say that those who lost their job, with a lapse of a certain time, eventual found a job, and that they have been reclassified and unemployment will die out, humanly speaking, what will the situation of the unemployed be like? Here we see that unintended consequences of the invention of an automobile, which in the interim has permanently created unemployment a feature of our present-day lexicon and reality.


Another example of the unintended consequences posed by new technologies and future techniques was furnished by the psycho-sociological studies of the articular psychology of big city dwellers, where once more, we are confronted with the effect of the technical environment on the human being. One of the principal elements of big city life is the feeling of isolation, loneliness, absence of human contact, etc. One of the leading ideas of Le Corbusier in his Maison des Hommes was the admission that, "Big City dwellers do not know one another. Let us create great blocks of dwellings where people will meet one another as they did in the village with everything(grocer, baker, butcher) included in the block so that people will get to know one another and a community will come into being...."


The result of Le Corbusier's creation was exactly the opposite of what he had planned; problems of loneliness and isolation in such blocks of dwelling proved to be much more tragic in the normal and traditional city. New technologies and techniques applied amidst a milieu in any fashion, tends to have unforeseen consequences. The new cars, robots, the new grid, new modes of transportation, pen computers and the Web, housing, you name it, all have and will continue to have unintended consequences, although some of them we have not yet encountered right now, some we have.


In our day, human techniques offer great hopes to man, sorely beset by anxiety. Man Menaced by his own discoveries and no longer capable of mastering the forces unleashed by them, is to have his greatness restored by human techniques. The liberation of man, not by technique in general, but specifically through the agency of human technique, a liberation which should proceed from within man as from without. With the help of human sciences, man will be freed from technocracy itself.


Man is not supposed to be merely a technical object, but a participant in a complicated movement. Also, human techniques have tended to reconstitute the unity of the human being which had been shattered by the sudden and jarring action of technique. The grand design of human techniques is to make man the center of all techniques. Technical knowledge does give us new insights into human reality and can serve towards it unification. In all, the concrete details of man's life with respect to technical apparatus must be taken into consideration on the human plane. (Ellul)


The Character of Technique


Jacques Ellul gives this elaborate explanation on technique: Today's technical phenomenon, consequently, has almost nothing in common with the technical phenomenon of the past. I shall not insist on demonstrating the negative aspect of the case, the disappearance of the traditional characteristics. To do so would be artificial, didactic, and difficult to defend. I shall point out,then, in a summary fashion, that in our civilization technique is in no way limited. It has been extended to all spheres an encompasses every activity, including human activities. It has led to a multiplication of means without limits. It has perfected indefinitely the instruments available to man, and put at his disposal an almost limitless variety of intermediaries and auxiliaries.


Technique has been extended geographically so that it covers the whole earth. It is evolving with a rapidity disconcerting not only to the man in the street, but to the technician himself. It poses problems which recur endlessly and every more acutely in human social groups. Moreover, technique has become objective and is transmitted like a physical thing; it leads thereby to a certain unity of civilization, regardless of the environment or the country in which it operates. We are faced with the exact opposite of the traits previously in force, examine carefully the positive characteristics of the technique of the present."


Ellul says that there two essential and obvious characters of technique which we should be aware of: "The first of these obvious characteristics is rationality. In technique, whatever its aspect or the domain in which it is applied, a rational process is present which tends to bring mechanics to bear on all that is spontaneous or irrational. This rationality, best exemplified in systematization, division of labor, creation of standards, production norms, and the like, involves two distinct phases: first, the use of "discourse" in every operation; This excludes spontaneity and personal creativity. Second, there is the reduction of method to its logical dimension alone. Every intervention of technique is, in effect, a reduction of facts, forces phenomena, means, and instruments to the schema of logic."


"The second obvious characteristic of the technical phenomenon is artificiality. Technique is opposed to nature. Art, artifice, artificial: technique as art is the creation of an artificial system. This is not a matter of opinion. This means man has at his disposal as a function of technique are artificial means. For this reason, the comparison proposed by Emanuel Mounier between the machine and the human body is valueless. The world that is being created by the accumulation of technical means is an artificial world and hence radically different from the natural world.


It destroys, eliminates, or subordinates the natural world, and does not allow this world to restore itself or even to enter into a symbiotic relation with it. The two worlds obey different imperatives, different directives and different laws which have nothing in common. Just as hydroelectric installations take waterfalls and laid them into conduits, so the technical milieu absorbs the natural. We are rapidly approaching the time when there will be no longer any natural environment at all."(Ellul)


The power of technique to transform our world and reality into an artificial environment has already arrived and has been experienced through the Web and new technological gadgets. At the same time, we know that or life is based on the techniques that have been measured and calculated mathematically, it becomes predictable and efficient, but it also builds our dependency on it. The worrisome thought is whether man will be decapitated from the natural world into the word of the artificial technical automatism, self augmentation, monism, universalism and autonomy. This remains to be seen and we are more than ever leaning towards the direction of that state of existence and being. The characteristics of techniques are so powerful that they transform and morph our world under its dictates. The fight is between the latter and the ability of humans to transform technique and technology into the human realm of existence: that of man dictating existence through control of technology. (Ellul)


On the issues touched on in the previous paragraph, Pope Pius XXII was deeply concerned that there be serious study of the media today. On February 1950, he said: "It is not an exaggeration to say that the future of modern society and the stability of its inner life depend in a large part on the maintenance of an equilibrium between the strength of the techniques of communication and the capacity of the individual's own reaction. A.J. Liebling stated in his book The Press, that a man is not free it he cannot see where he is going, even if he has a gun to help him get there. for each of the media is a powerful weapon with which to clobber other media and other groups. The result is that the present age has been one of multiple civil wars that are not limited to the world of art and entertainment… Prof. J. U. Nef asserted: "The total wars of our time have been the result of a series of intellectual mistakes."


If the formative power in the media are the media themselves, that raises a host of large matters that can only be mentioned here, although they deserve volume. Namely, that technological media are staples or natural resources, exactly as are coal and cotton and oil. Anybody will concede that society whose economy is dependent upon one or two major staples like cotton, or grain, or lumber, or fish, or cattle is going to have some social patterns of organization as a result. Stress on a few major staples create extreme instability in the economy but great endurance in the population. The pathos and humor of the American South are embedded in such an economy of limited staples. For a society configured by reliance on a few commodities accepts them as a social bond quite as much as the metropolis does the press.


Cotton and oil, like radio and TV, become fixed charges on the entire psychic life of the community, and this pervasive fact creates the unique cultural flavor of any society. It pays through the nose and all its other sense of each staple that shapes its life.(McLuhan) Today's society is shaped by the abundance of its resources and means of maintaining and containing them. A technological society is therefore shaped and formed by the technical advancements and technologies it creates for itself in abundance. Material accrual and abundance give rise to societies that are formed and shaped by the sophistication and accessibility of the machines of technology imbued with technique which is human-user-friendly.


As the new diverging, interconnecting, interactive and emerging new media can now be viewed as "natural resources" akin to coal,oil , etc., it is important for us to understand a bit how this dislocation and dissociation happens and what are the effects and affects of this reality. Jacques Ellul writes: "A second element, which is of great


That's our human sense of which all media are extensions or ourselves, are also fixed charges on our personal energies of each one of us, and may be perceived in another connection mentioned by the psychologist C. G. Jung: "Every Roman was surrounded by slaves, and the slave and his psychology flooded ancient Italy, and every Roman became inwardly, and of course unwittingly, a slave. Because living constantly in the atmosphere of slaves, he became infected through the unconscious with their psychology.No one can shield himself from such an influence."


The abundance of technologies which are flooding the consumer markets patronized by the technically consuming milieu, they, the users, become overtaken by the machinery they use and apply in their day-to-day lives, and the imbibed new techniques they learn from these gadgets, and these technologies and techniques are either t going to humanize the technique or the technique will engulf or is engulfing the mass consuming technological society.


Ours is a progressively technical civilization: by this Ellul means that the ever expanding and irreversible rules of technique are extended to all domains of life. It is a civilization committed to the quest for continually improved means to carelessly examined ends. Indeed, technique transforms ends into means. What was once prized in its own right now becomes worthwhile only if it helps achieve something else. And, conversely, technique turns means into ends, "Know-how" takes on an ultimate value. (Ellul) For humans this is achieved through the new technological machines and the techniques embedded in them that in the end this has created a dependency and a technicized society and man.


Are we still naturally human beings or mechanized technologized slaves of technical machines and their technique? Are we in a position in our present day of our Technological society to be able to humanize technique and technology, or we have already lost our humanity to technique and technology along with its handmaiden, technological gadgets? It might be that we are already good copies of technique more than we are humans, and this needs to be meditated and pondered upon. It is amazing how contemporary man has backed-off from interrogating technology and technique, and has turned around and surrounded himself completely with technology, and is in a preset compliant mode.


Technological Dissociation and Dislocation


What has happened in this case is that, Computer technology has not yet come to the printing press in its powerful hey-days[but one has to note that it has been steadily ground faster than we can grapple with that growth of the computer power and reach], to generate radical and substantive social,political, and religious thought. If the press was, as David Riesman called it, "the gunpowder of the mind," the computer, in its capacity to smooth over unsatisfactory institutions and ideas, is the talcum powder of the mind. What is clear is that, to date, computer technology has served to strengthen Technopoly's hold, to make people believe that technological innovation is synonymous with human progress." Riesman) "


This has caused us to begin our relationship with machines under wrong assumptions. Postman writes: "But because the computer "thinks" rather than works, its power to energize mechanistic metaphors is unparalleled and of enormous value to Technopoly, which depends on our believing that we are at our best when acting like machines, and that in significant ways machines may be trusted to act as our surrogates. Among the implications of these beliefs is a loss of confidence in human judgement and subjectivity.


We have devalued the singular human capacity to see things whole in all their psychic, emotional and moral dimensions, and we have replaced this with faith in the powers of technical calculation. We have put all our trust into the efficiently brought about by the technique embedded within the technology, we then need to know much more better about the technology and its technique, which has its own shortcomings as we learn from the following excerpt by Postman:


Since printing created new forms of literature when it replaced the handwritten manuscript, it is possible that electronic writing will do the same. But for the moment, computer technology functions more as a new mode of transportation than as a new means of substantive communication. It moves information — lots of it, fast, and mostly in a calculating mode. Computers make it easy to convert facts into statistics and to translate problems into equations. And whereas this can be useful (as when the process reveals a pattern that would otherwise go unnoticed), it is diversionary and dangerous when applied indiscriminately to human affairs.


So is the computer's emphasis on speed an especially its capacity to generate and store unprecedented quantities of information. In specialized contexts,the value of calculation, speed, and voluminous information may go uncontested. But the "message" of computer technology is comprehensive and domineering. The computer argues, to put it badly, that the most serious problems confronting us at both personal and public levels require technical solutions through fast access to information otherwise unavailable.


I would argue that this is, on the face of it, nonsense. Our most serious problems are not technical, nor do they arise from inadequate information. If families break up,children are mistreated, crime terrorizes a city, education is impotent, it does not happen because of inadequate information. Mathematical equations, instantaneous communications, and vast quantities of information have nothing whatever to do with any of these problems. And the computer is useless in addressing them.


Whenever the mass public consumes all the present environments of media culture they inevitable suffer from dislocation and dissociation from their humanity. Jacques Ellul writes: "A second element, which is of great importance, is the human dissociation produced by techniques. The purpose of our human techniques is ostensibly to reintegrate and restore the lost unity of the human being. But the unity produced is the abstract unity of the ideal Man; in reality, the concrete application of techniques dissociates man into fragments.


The dislocation of mental activity from physical actions probably results in a lessening of fatigue since there is no longer any need to participate or to make decisions ...To do so is inevitably to weaken human personality; it is impossible so to fragment man's personality without weakening it. A certain disequilibration may be avoided by these means. But the loss of creative power has disastrous psychological consequences.


When the human being is no longer responsible for his work and no longer figures in it, he fells spiritually outraged. The technical organization of the technical society may obviate certain tendencies to aggression and frustration (in a non-Freudian sense). But the annihilation of work and its compensation with leisure resolves the conflicts by referring them to a subhuman plane."


For us to completely understand our technicized world, we will cite Ellul who states: "Our technical world not only creates these feelings of insecurity[dislocation and dissociations], spontaneously, it develops them with malice aforethought for technical reasons and technical means which, in their action on the human being, reinforce the structures of that technical world." Ellul cites Robert Ley who declared that, "The only person who still remains a private individual is he who is asleep," and in the end Ellul concludes thus,"The words might be taken to refer exclusively to the Nazi Regime. But they are not limited.


They pertain to the integration of all men into a brutally technicized environment. Modern society is moving toward a mass society, but the human being is still not fully adapted to this new form. ...Human techniques must therefore act to adapt man to the mass. Moreover, these techniques remain at variance with the other material techniques on which they depend. They must contribute to making a mass man and help put an end to what has hitherto been considered the normal type of humanity." As the times and society change into the Technological society, it is incumbent upon man to work to normalize humanity over and above the brutal reality of a technicized society and reality.


Humanizing Technique and Changing Times


At this juncture we will utilize an article by Nathaniel Shepard who wrote in his article dubbed "How Technology Will Enhance Life in 2020":


"The TV show, The Twilight Zone, has an episode in which a prisoner, who is banished to an uninhabited planet, is given a robot that thinks, has emotions and looks like a woman, as part of his annual supplies from earth. He rejects the robot, at first, but over time she becomes a woman companion that he falls in love with. He is later heartbroken when he is pardoned, flown home and she is destroyed. A prototype of a robot with feelings and emotions is now under development at MIT's artificial Intelligence Lab [Also, in Japan].


This is a part of our world to come as some futurists see it: a world in which we retain the Horatio Alger work ethic, yet have more leisure time; a world in which machines work for us and become companions as well. In the home, the future of small integrated smart chips will run our appliances. They will enable the furnace to heat or cool rooms individually, tell the house what time to lock the doors for the night, and play soothing sounds of the ocean to help us get to sleep. What "smart appliances" don't control, robots likely will.


Some will be the R2D2 types that will handle tasks such as vacuuming or taking out the garbage. Others will be capable of more complex tasks like grocery shopping. We will start seeing humanlike robots that will talk, have feelings and emotions and they will work better than a pet in curing loneliness because they will be able to relate to and learn from you. Compiling a shopping list will involve an inexpensive electronic reader scanning the household products to determine if they need to be reordered.


Trash cans would have similar devices that could read bar codes of discarded items and signal which need to be restocked. Parents will not have to worry about their teen-agers banging up the car. It will be able to drive itself with the help of a navigation system that uses global positioning satellites for directions and sophisticated sensing devices(some of which have now been put in place in some American Highways)- And Robots which are humanoid are already in existence(especially in Japan).


Personal computers will become smaller and more powerful and that by 2020, computer keyboards will have given way to verbal commands[this is already happening, and the internet or Web can be found on modern slick and thin cellphones and other gadgets-[see the Picture gallery]. One's computer, TV and telephone will merge into a single unit (this is already happening).


Cell phones will change, and will be completely have wireless connectivity to the net, in the form of a chip embedded behind our ear or in a hearing-aid devise(this too has already taken place). Technology will replace cellular phones and laptop computers with an "information appliance" that will enable people to communicate with one another from anywhere in the world, and computer crime will come such advances(this too is happening and cyber crime is the talk today).


Genetically based diseases will be routinely identified in the future through high resolution DNA analysis and that patients will affected cells individually targeted for treatment. We will be able to grow our own organs for transplant, from bone marrow placed in an immunodeficient genetically engineered animal. There wouldn't be a need for donors(this is still going and has yet to be accepted or approved). But for all the time such technology will save us and the new efficiencies it would create, will it bring us as a species closer together or work to make ours a cold and impersonal society?


Having read what Sheppard is saying, we turn back to Ellul who states: "Up to now, in discussing human techniques we have considered only man's need for adaptation with a view to his happiness or, at least, his equilibrium. ...In our culture, the person who is not consciously adapted to his group cannot put up adequate resistance. ...It cannot be denied that this kind of conscious level psychological adaptation, which gives the individual a chance to survive and even be happy, can produce beneficial affects (as noted above in the preceding excerpt). Though he loses much personal responsibility, he gains as compensation a spirit of co-operation and a certain self-respect in his relations with other members of the group.


These are eminently collectivist virtues, but they are not negligible, and they assure the individual a certain human dignity in the collectivity of mass men. While I have insisted on the "humanistic" tendencies of human techniques and, starting from the premise that man must be adapted to be happy, have tried to demonstrate the necessity of these techniques and their interrelation with all other techniques, my attitude has been resolutely optimistic. I have presupposed that technical practices and the intentions of the technicians were subordinated to a concern with human good. I proceeded from the most favorable position, that of integral humanism, which, it is claimed, is their foundation."


Ellul further adds that: "But there are more compelling realities. The tendency toward psychological collectivization does not have man's welfare as its end. It is designed just as well for his exploitation. In today;s world, psychological collectivization is the sine qua non of technical action. ...The problem then is to get the individual's consent artificially thorough depth psychology, since he will not give it of his own free will.


But the decision to give consent must appear to be spontaneous. Anyone who prates about furnishing man an ideal or a faith to live by is helping to bring about technique's ascendancy, however much he talks about "good will". The "ideal" becomes so through the agency of purely technical means whose purpose is to enable men to support an insupportable situation created within the framework of technical culture.


This attitude is not the antithesis of the humanistic attitude, and the two are interwoven and it is completely artificial to try to separate them. Human activity in the technical milieu must correspond to this milieu and also must be collective. It must belong to the order of the conditioned reflex. Complete human discipline must respond to technical necessity. And as the technical milieu concerns all men, no mere handful of them but the totality of society is to be conditioned in this way. The reflex must be a collective one.


Ellul examines anew what the essential tragedy of a civilization increasingly dominated by technique. Despite Ellul's forceful emphasis upon the erosion of moral values brought about by technicism, he was neither writing or talking about a latter-day Luddite tract nor a sociological apocalypse. He shows that he is thoroughly familiar with the cant perpetuated by technophobes and for the most part manages to avoid their cliches. In fact, he examines the role of technique in modern society, and offers a system of thought that, with some critical modification, can help us understand the forces behind the development of the technical civilization that is distinctively ours.


By technique, for example, he means far more than machine technology. Technique refers to any complex of standardized means for attaining a predetermined result. Thus, it converts spontaneous and unreflective behavior into behavior that is deliberate and rationalized. The Technical Man is fascinated by results, by immediate consequences of setting standardized devices into motion. He cannot help admiring the spectacular effectiveness of nuclear weapons of war. Above all, he is committed to the never-ending search for "the one best way" to achieve any designated objective.


Ours Is A Progressively Technical Civilization


By this, Ellul means that the ever-expanding and irreversible rule of technique is extended to all domains of life.It is a civilization committed to the quest of continually improved means to carelessly examined ends. Indeed, technique transforms ends to means. What was once prized in its own right now becomes worthwhile only if it helps achieve something else. And, conversely, technique turns means into ends. "Know-how" takes on an ultimate value.(Merton)


Only the naive can really believe that the world-wide movement toward centralism results from machinations of evil statesmen. ... Politics in turn becomes an arena for contention among rival techniques. The Intellectual discipline of economics itself becomes technicized. Technical economic analysis is substituted for the older political economy included in which was a major concern with the moral structure of economic activity.


Politics in turn becomes an arena for contention among rival technique. The technician sees the nation differently from the political man: to the technician, the nation is nothing more than another sphere in which to apply the instruments he has developed. To him, the state is not the expression of the will of the people, nor a divine creation nor a creature of class conflict. It is an enterprise providing services that must be made to function efficiently.


He judges states in terms of their capacity to utilize techniques effectively, not in terms of their relative justice. Political doctrine revolves around what is useful than what is good. Purposes drop out of sight and efficiency becomes the central concern. As the political form best suited to the massive and unprincipled use of technique, dictatorship gains power. And this in turn narrows the range of choice for the democracies: Either they too use some version of effective technique-centralized control and propaganda-or they will fall behind.


Restraints on the rule of technique become increasingly tenuous. Public opinion provides no control because it too is largely oriented toward "performance" and technique is regarded as the prime instrument of performance, whether in the economy or in politics, in art, sports, media and communications.


Not understanding what the rule of technique is doing to him and to his world, modern man is beset by anxiety and a feeling of insecurity. He tries to adapt to changes he cannot comprehend. The conflict of propaganda takes the place of the debate of ideas. Technique smothers the ideas that put its rule in question and filters out for the public discussion only those ideas that are in substantial accord with the values created by a technical civilization. Social criticism is negated because there is only slight access to the technical means required to reach large numbers of people.


In Ellul's conception, then, life is not happy in a civilization dominated by technique. Even the outward show of happiness is bought at the price of total acquiescence. The technological society requires men to be content with what they are required to like; for those who are not content, it provides distractions-escape into absorption with technically dominated media of popular culture and communication. And the process is a natural one: every part of a technical civilization responds to the social need generated by technique itself. Progress then consists in progressive de-humanization-a busy, pointless, and, in the end, suicidal submissions to technique.


The essential point, according to Ellul, is that technique produces all this without a plan; no one will it or arranges that it be so. Our technical civilization does not result from a Machiavellian scheme. It is a response to the "laws of development" of technique. Ellul reopens the great debate over the social, political, economic, and philosophical meaning of technique in the modern age.


He has given us provocative thoughts and ideas, in the sense that he has provoked us to re-examine our assumptions and to search out the flaws in his gloomy forecast. By doing so, he helps us to see beyond the banal assertion that ours has become a mass society, and he leads us to a greater understanding of that society (Merton)


Having an Ellul-esque explanation, definition and elaboration of technique will help us in the process to begin to understand our present-day technologies, which are heavily technique driven and determined much more better. We might also be in a position to begin to understand how when we affect and condition technique, how that in turn and in return affects and conditions us.


We Create Conditions That Condition Us


Lance Strate cites Hannah Arendt as follows; "The human condition comprehends more than the condition under which life has been given to man. Men are conditioned beings because everything they come into contact with turns immediately into a condition of their existence. The world in which vita activa spends itself consists of things produced by human activities; but the things that owe their existence exclusively to men nevertheless constantly condition their human makers." (Hannah Arendt)


Lance Strate elaborates further on the point made above by Hannah Arendt thus: "The human condition is the context or situation we, as human beings, find ourselves in, the implication being that human life cannot be fully understood by considering humanity isolation from its environment. We are, to a large degree, shaped by our environment, which is why Arendt refers ti us as "conditioned beings."


We are conditioned by phenomena external to us, and this may be considered learning in its broadest sense, that is, in the sense that the Skinnnerian response is a learned reaction to external stimuli. It follows that any form of life that is capable of modifying its behavior in response to external stimuli is, to some extent, a conditioned being.


Lance Strate gives us the following synergy: "In the passage quoted above, it is readily apparent that Arendt is an ecological thinker. In saying that things that owe their existence exclusively to men nevertheless constantly condition their human makers," she is saying that we create the conditions that in turn condition us.


We exist within a reciprocal relationship, a dialogue if you like, between the conditioned and the conditions, the internal and the external, the organism and its environment. The changes that we introduce into our environment, that alter the environment, feedback into ourselves as we are influenced, affected, and shaped by our environment [and its emerging and burgeoning gizmos]."


We Change Machines And Technology-They Change Us , Too


We Affect Change, And It In Turn Changes us


The contrast between using tools and techniques in the most basic way to adapt to the conditions of the environment, and the creation o an entirely new technological environment of great complexity that requires us to perform highly convoluted act os adaptation. The understanding that we are conditioned by the conditions we ourselves introduce was not unknown in the ancient world. The 115th Psalm of David, in its polemic against idolatry and the idols that are "the work of men's hands," cautions that, "they who make them shall be like unto them' yea every one that trusts in them."


Along the same lines, the gospel of Matthew includes the famous quote, "All those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword," while the Epistle to the Galatians advises, "whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap." A more contemporary variation of that maxim is, "As you make your bed, so you shall lie in it," although in the United States it is often rendered in the imperative and punitive form of, "you made your bed, go lie in it!" During the 19 century, Henry David Thoreau notified us that, "We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us," while Mark Twain humorously observed that, "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."


More recently, we have been told, "Ask a silly question, get a silly answer," to which computer scientist have responded with the acronym GIDO, which stands for, "garbage in, garbage out." Winston Churchill said, "We shape our buildings, and thereafter they shape us," and former Fordham professor John Culkin, in turn, offered, "we shape our tools, and thereafter they shape us," as a corollary to Marshall McLuhan's media ecology aphorism, "the medium is the message." (Lance Strate)


"All of these voices," writes Strate,"in their varying ways, are pointing to the same essential truth about the human condition that Arendt is relating in the quote at the beginning of this post. And to pick up where that quote leaves off, Arendt goes on to argue, "In addition to the conditions under which life is given to man on earth, and partly out of them, men constantly create their own, self-made conditions, which, their human being origin and their variability not withstanding, possess the same conditioning power as natural things."


The "conditions" that we make are used to create a buffer of shield against the conditions that we inherit, so that our self-made conditions are meant to stand between us and what we would consider to be natural environment. In this sense, our self-made conditions "mediate" between ourselves and the pre-existing conditions that we operate under, which is to say that our conditions are media of human life. And in mediating, in going between our prior conditions and ourselves, the new conditions that we create become our new environment. And as we become conditioned to our new conditions, they fade from view, being routinized they melt into the background and become essentially invisible us. (Strate)


Arendt concludes thus: "Whatever touches or enters into a sustained relationship with human life immediately assumes the character of a condition of human existence. This is why men,no matter what they do, are always conditioned beings. Whatever enters the worked on its own accord or is drawn into it by human effort becomes part of the human condition. The impact of the world's reality upon human existence is felt and received as a conditioning force. The objectivity of the world — its object-or thing-character — and the human conditioned existence, it would be impossible without things, and things would be a heap fun related articles, anon-world, if they were not the conditioners of human existence."


Giving Meaning To Human Conditioning


Printing Was The Mechanization of Writing


To the point made by Arendt above, Lance Strate writes: "The last point is quite striking. It is we, as human beings, who create worlds, which brings to mind the moving commentary from the Talmud: Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. We create worlds, in the sense that we give meaning to existence, we attribute meaning to phenomena, we construct symbolic as well as material environments. Each one of us, in our singular subjectivity, creates a world or our own, and therefore each one of us represents a world unto ourselves."


But these individual worlds are links, nodes in a social network, interdependent and interactive parts of an ecological whole. The term condition, in its root meaning is derived from the Latin prefix com, which means together, and dicere, which means speak. And our ability to speak together, to engage in discussion and deliberation, to enter into symbolic interaction, constitutes the means by which we collectively construct our intersubjective, social realities, our worlds. (Strate)


Finally, Strate writes: "As human beings, we are conditioned not only by our labor, the ways in which we obtain the necessities of life, i.e., air, water, food, shelter, to which Marx sought to reduce all aspects of society, a position that Arendt severely criticized. We are conditioned not only by our work, which Arendt associated with artifacts, with instrumentality and technology, with arts and crafts. We are conditioned most importantly by action,which in Arendt's view is intimately tied to speech and the symbolic, and to processes that her than things, to relationships rather than objects.


"In the end," Strate concludes, "Arendt reminds us that the human condition is itself conditional, and to be fully human requires not only that we take care of biological necessity, nor that we make life easier through technological innovation, but that we cooperate through speech and action collectively constructing a world that is truly blessed with freedom and justice."


How Media Environments Condition Man McLuhan had a new conception of what media could be when put in the hands of artists: "The media are not toys; they should not be in the hands of Mother Goose and Peter Pan executives. ... The wild Broncos of technological culture have yet to find their busters or masters. They have found only the P.T. Barnums." ... In saying so, McLuhan gave an idea rich in potential application to media, namely that the effect of a new staple or natural resource is essentially the same as the effect of a new medium of communication, in the sense that both function as technological extensions of our physical senses."


McLuhan spoke of the mental discipline required to transpose the realities of life int new spheres and the dislocating effects of the media. ... Study the modes of the media, in order to hoick all assumptions out of the subliminal, non-verbal realm for scrutiny and for prediction and control of human purposes. ... What sort of changes did the media of the printing press and movable type bring about. It meant the end of manuscript culture, to be sure, but the consequences were much more far-reaching than the loss of jobs for scribes and monks. Printing was the mechanization of writing.


It promoted nationalism and national languages because international Latin did not have enough scope to provide markets for the printers. Print also fostered a sense of private identity (by making copies available to individual readers in such large numbers) and imposed a level of standardization in language that had not prevailed until then, thus making "correct" spelling and grammar a measure of literacy.


Print culture intensified the effects of the older technology of writing. Before writing, mankind lived in acoustic space, the space of the spoken word, which is boundless, directionless, horizonless,and charged with emotion. Writing transformed space into something bounded, linear ordered, structured, and rational. The written page, with its edges, margins, and sharply defined letters in a row, inevitable brought in a new way of thinking about space. Media effects did not end when Gutenberg's invention transformed writing into print. Whereas print had mechanized writing, four centuries later the telegraph electrified it.


But McLuhan teaches that new media do not so much replace each other as complicate each other. It is this interaction that obscures their effects. The technology of mankind in the age of acoustic space, the technology from which writing, print and telegraph developed, was speech. Transformed into writing, speech lost the quality that made it part of the culture of acoustic space. It acquired a powerful visual bias, producing effects in social and cultural organization that endure to the present.


But there was also a lost, in that writing, separated speech from the other physical senses. The powerful extension of speech permitted by the development of radio, produced a similar loss, for this medium reduced speech to one sense-the 'aural'. Radio is not speech (because we only listen), but it creates an illusion, like writing, of containing speech.


McLuhan offered his readers a challenge to become aware of 'new environments' as they are o getting into a bath: "The inside point of view would coincide with the practical point of view of the man who would rather eat the turtle than admire the design on its back.The same man would rather dunk himself in the newspaper than have any esthetic or intellectual grasp of it s character and meaning." Stepping into a newspaper is inevitable; perceiving it as an 'environment' is indispensable to understanding its power and effect.


Technologies Extends One Or More Of Our Five Physical Senses


McLuhan in his works maintains that a technology, any medium, is something that extends one or more of our five physical senses. The book is a form of print, is a form of writing, is a visual form of the voice giving expression to ideas, which is where the chain of media working in Paris ends. Ideas don't hang around by themselves. Unless they are uttered (outered, ushered out) from our brains and into our mouths with the help of lungs and teeth and other human-body sound-production equipment,they are unknown to anyone but ourselves and unknown even to ourselves, unless we have learned their outerings through the conventional use of a language. Here we are back to media working in pairs, and technology in the McLuhan sense, and size does not matter.


In "How Images Think," Ron Burnett states: "Clearly information transmission depends on the medium in use, and in the narrow sense, "The Medium Is The Message". In all of this the issues of content and semantics seem to disappear. McLuhan's popularization of the 'medium is the message' has had a negative impact and overdetermined impact on the cultural understanding of communications technologies."


Burnett too has missed a fundamental point in McLuhan's thinking, for he never said the 'medium is the message' in the narrow sense. On the contrary, he was always stretching meanings. Content and semantics do not disappear in McLuhan's perspective, but there is a fundamental distinction to be made, in his view between the simple, uncontroversial, and unproblematic sense of content (information in the conventional sense of data and its transmission) and the sense of message as social impact of a medium.


Despite the above facts, the rest of humanity today is being led ahead by Technopoly to readily accept the swiping-away of their man made cultural custom to a new way of life, or culture as dictated and determined by Technopoly; the rest of the human race is expected to be totally enveloped by this new culture as it plays itself in front of our eyes and day to day realities, and as we go on living our real lives.


The change that we are witnessing because of the take-over of Technopoly and its transformational conditioning which is persistently galvanizing anomie and enslavement of man by and through Technique, Technology and Technopoly. Instead of us having the ability to humanize technique we are instead made the dependents and slaves of our new and fast growing technopolic-technique managed by Technopological conditioning cultural reality and the human condition.


For Instance - "Writing Is A Technology That Restructures Thought"


We are informed by Walter Ong in the following manner:


Literacy is imperious. It tends to arrogate to itself supreme power by taking itself as normative for human expression and thought.This is particularly true in high-technology cultures, which are built on literacy of necessity and which encourage the impression that literacy is an always to be expected and even natural state of affairs.The term 'illiterate' itself suggests that persons belonging to the class it designates are deviants, defined by something they lack, namely literacy.


Moreover, in high-technology cultures-which,more and more, are setting the style for cultures across the world-since literacy is regarded as so unquestionably normative and normal, the deviancy of illiterates tends to be thought of as lack of a simple mechanical skill. Illiterates should learn writing as they learned to tie their shoe-laces or to drive a car. Such views of writing as simply a mechanical skill obligatory for all human beings distort our understanding of what is human if only because they block understanding of what natural human mental processes are before writing takes possession of consciousness.


These views also by the same token block understanding of what writing itself really is. For without a deep understanding of the normal oral or oral-aural consciousness and noetic economy of humankind before writing came along, it is impossible to grasp what writing accomplished.


"Recent research work, however, in the field and in the library, is offering the opportunity to overcome our chirographic (and typo-/graphic) bias: This work has deepened our understanding of whatI have styled primary orality, the orality of cultures with no knowledge at all of writing, as contrasted with what I have styled secondary orality, the electronic orality of radio and 'television, which grows out of high-literacy cultures, depending for its invention and operation on the widespread cultivation of writing and reading.


Classical scholars, from Milman Parry-the prime mover in theorality-literacy universe-through Albert Lord, Eric Havelock, and others, sociologists and linguists such as Jack Goody, Wallace Chafe, and Deborah Tannen, cultural anthropologists such as Jeff Opland, historians such as M.T. Clanchy, and many others from even more diversified fields, including the late Marshall McLuhan, the greatest diversifier of all, have opened vistas into primary orality which enable us better to understand differences between the oral and the literate mind. My own work in opening such vistas, for whatever it is worth, began deep in Renaissance and earlier intellectual history, and has moved into the present, without, I hope, losing live contact with the past.


"We can now view in better perspective the world of writing in which we live, see better what this world really is, and what functionally literate human beings really are-that is, beings whose thought processes do not grow out of simply natural powers but out of these powers as structured, directly indirectly, by the technology of writing. Without writing, the literate mind would not and could not think as it does, not only when engaged in writing but even when it is composing its thoughts in oral form. Functionally literate persons, those who regularly assimilate discourse such as this, are not simply thinking and speaking human beings but chirographically thinking and speaking human beings(latterly conditioned also by print and by electronics).


"The fact that we do not commonly feel the influence of writing on our thoughts shows that we have interiorized the technology of writing so deeply that without tremendous effort we cannot separate it from ourselves or even recognize its presence and influence. If functionally literate persons are asked to think of the word 'nevertheless', they will all have present in imagination the letters of the word-vaguely perhaps, but unavoidably in handwriting or typescript or print.


If they are asked to think of the word 'nevertheless' for two minutes,120seconds, without ever allowing any letters at all to enter their imaginations, they cannot comply. A person from a completely oral background of course has no such problem. He or she will think only of the real word, a sequence of sounds, 'nevertheless'. For the real word 'nevertheless', the sounded word, cannot ever be present all at once, as written words deceptively seem to be.


"I have discussed these formulaic and narrative strategies in Orality and Literacy(1982). In 1985, John Miles Foley's newOral-Formulaic Theory and Research shows, as nothing has ever done before, how universal such strategies are across the globe and across the centuries. Foley provides summaries of over 1,800 books and articles covering 90 different language areas.Our literate world of visually processed sounds has been totally unfamiliar to most human beings, who always belonged, and often still belong to this oral world.


Homo sapiens has been around for some 30,000 years, to take a conservative figure. The oldest script,Mesopotamian cuneiform, is less than 6,000 years old (the alphabet less than 4,000). Of all the tens of thousands of languages spoken in the course of human history only a tiny fraction-Edmonson(1971: 323) calculates about 106-have ever been committed to writing to a degree sufficient to have produced a literature, and most have never been written at all. Of the 4,000 or so languages spoken today, only around 78 have a literature (Edmonson 1971:332).


"For some of the others linguists have devised more or less adequate ways of writing them, with results that appear in linguistics publications and convention papers that have no noteworthy effect at all on the actual users of the language. Dr. C. Andrew Hofling has recently completed a linguistic study of discourse in the Itza Mayan language which transcribes the language in the Roman alphabet.


This transcription is essential for linguistic studies, but it is useless, inconsequential, for the Itza Maya themselves. With only some 500 speakers, the language has no effective way of developing a literate culture. Most languages in the world today exist in comparable conditions. Those who think of the text as the paradigm of all discourse need to face the fact that only the tiniest fraction of languages have ever been written or ever will be. Most have disappeared or are fast disappearing, untouched by textuality. Hard-core textualism is snobbery, often hardly disguised.


"Only in recent centuries have human beings generally had the idea that a language could be written, and even today many peoples do not believe their language can be written. In Dayton, Ohio, on25 February 1983, I saw a videotape of a Methodist missionary and linguist who had worked out an alphabetization of a previously unwritten language in the South Pacific and witnessed her difficulty in convincing the speakers of the language that she could write down their utterances.


They believed that only the languages they knew as written, such as English or French, could be written. All this is not to deny that spoken languages are all amenable to conversion into writing (always with only partial success or accuracy) or that, given the human condition and the advantages conferred by writing, the invention of writing, and even of alphabetic writing, was sure to occur somewhere in the evolution of culture and consciousness: But to say that language is writing is, at best, uninformed. It provides egregious evidence of the unreflective chirographic and/or typographic squint that haunts us all.


"Writing was an intrusion, though an invaluable intrusion, into the early human lifeworld, much as computers are today. It has lately become fashionable in some linguistic circles to refer to Plato's condemnation of writing in the Phaedrus and the Seventh Letter.What is seldom if ever noticed, however, is that Plato's objections against writing are essentially the very same objections commonly urged today against computers by those who object to them (Ong 1982: 79-81).Writing, Plato has Socrates say in the Phaedrus, is in human, pretending to establish outside the mind what in reality can only be in the mind.


"Writing is simply a thing, something to be manipulated, something inhuman, artificial, a manufactured product. We recognize here the same complaint that is made against computers: they are artificial contrivances, foreign to human life.Secondly, Plato's Socrates complains, a written text is basically unresponsive. If you ask a person to explain his or her statement, you can get at least an attempt at explanation: if you ask a text, you get nothing except the same, often stupid words which called for your question in the first place. In the modern critique of the computer, the same objection is put, 'Garbage in, Garbage out'.


"So deeply are we into literacy that we fail commonly to recognize that this objection applies every hit as much to books as to computers. If a book states an untruth, ten thousand printed refutations will do nothing to the printed text: the untruth is there for ever. This is why books have been burnt. Texts are essentially contumacious.Thirdly, Plato's Socrates urges, writing destroys memory. Those who use writing will become forgetful, relying on an external source for what they lack in internal resources. Writing weakens the mind."


We Are Today Our Technologies; Technologies Are Us


Since writing has altered and we are our technologies-we are highly depended on them we are thus transformed and are morphing from our past state to the technological age and existence. This effect and affect is total and complete that it is worth it to reiterate Ong above:


"If you ask a person a person to explain his to explain his or her statement, you can get at least an attempt at explanation: if you ask a text; you get nothing except the same, often stupid words which called for your question in the first place. In the modern critique of the computer, the same objection is put, 'Garbage In, Garbage Out'.


"So deeply are we into literacy that we fail commonly to recognize that this objection applies every hit as much to books as to computers. If a book states an untruth, ten thousand printed refutations will do nothing to the printed text: the untruth is there forever. This is why books have been burnt. Text are essentially contumacious… Writing Weakens the Mind."


Technologies condition the mind by restructuring thought and reality. Our reality as human beings is altered by the infusion of the technological technique in our day to day functioning and existence. Our environments swirl within the orb of technology and we morph from analogue to digital environment. We change from being purely mechanical to automatic: meaning, the old ways of dealing with our reality transforms into one where we have automated and viral communication splurging into the viral stream. This is complete and total change for the users of the technologies because the old becomes obsolete and the new web data-soup our present and 'here' and 'now'.


With each new technology and technique emerging and merging with itself and hauling us along, we become dependent and conditioned to the new way of communicating within the newly created environment. In a word: We are our technologies today; Technologies are us. This maxim is true and describes the condition of the users of the new technologies aptly. Our dependency on these technologies and their techniques erodes our ability to do anything without and outside of these new merging and emergent technologies and techniques.


So that in the end, "The fact that we do not commonly feel the influence of writing on our thoughts shows that we have interiorized the technology of writing so deeply that without tremendous effort we cannot separate it from our-selves or even recognize its presence and influence."(Ong) writing as an external, alien technology, as many people today think of the computer.


Today's ballpoint pens, not to mention our typewriters and word processors or the paper we use, are high-technology products, but we seldom advert to the fact because the technology is concentrated in the factories that produce such things, rather 'than at the point of production of the text itself,' where the technology is concentrated in a manuscript culture. Although we take writing so much for granted as to forget that it is a technology, writing is in a way the most drastic of the three technologies of the word: It initiated what printing and electronics only continued, the physical reduction of dynamic sound to quiescent space, the separation of the word from the living present, where alone real, spoken words exist.





Verbal Communication

With spoken communication, team members can project emotion and intent through vocal inflections and proper use of words. According to career resource website Work911, using techniques such as open-ended questioning (i.e., asking questions that require more than a yes or no answer) can allow all parties of a conversation to give their opinions on a subject. This technique can make spoken communication among team members more effective.

Email

Email communication is a way to convey an instant message to team members, but an email should give only basic information and call for a verbal followup for more detailed data. According to Mind Tools, a poorly worded email can cause confusion. Email works best when team members use good spelling and proper grammar, and make the message clear. Email is a good way for teams to circulate meeting minutes, arrange meetings and share data, but using email for group conversation is often less effective than discussing things in person.

Body Language

According to the Small Business Management website, several aspects of body language can be effective in a group setting. How close a team is seated together can indicate whether or not the members feels cohesive. Slumping posture by some people in the group can indicate disinterest in the topic being discussed. Physically touching team members can convey a feeling of intimacy and confidence. By watching body language when interacting, team members can determine how well they are working together and if some people within the group are not comfortable with the environment.


Defining Media Ecology


Lance Strate writes:


"Media Ecology is the study of media environments, the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs. Media ecology is the technological determinism, hard and soft, and technological evolution. It is media logic, medium theory, mediology. It is McLuhan Studies, orality-literacy studies, American cultural studies. It is grammar and rhetoric, semiotics and systems theory, the history and the philosophy of technology. It is the postindustrial and the postmodern, and the preliterate and prehistoric"



Media ecology perspectives revolve around key texts that explore the impact of technology on culture as media environments, including the works of Harold Innis, McLuhan, Neil Postman, Walter Ong, James Carey, Lewis Mumford, Jacques Ellul, Elizabeth Eistenstein, Eric Havelock, Edmund Carpenter, Jack Goody, Denise Schmandt-Besserat, Robert K. Logan, Joshua Meyrowitz, Walter Benjamin, Daniel Boorstin, Susan Suntag, Gary Gumpert, Tony Schwartz, Regis Debray, David Altheide, Jay David Bolter, Paul Levinson and Christine Nystrom, among others.


Defining media ecology, Postman wrote: "Media ecology looks into the matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival. The word ecology implies the study of environments: their structure, content, and impact on people. An environment is, after all, a complex message system which imposes on human beings certain ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving."


Nystrom contextualized media ecology as a "metadiscipline" responding to "an era of change, of change unprecedented in its scope, its pace, and its potential for violent effects on the fabric of civilization." Defining media ecology "as the study of complex communication systems as environments," Nystrom wrote, "Media Ecologists know, generally, what it is they are interested in—the interactions of communications media, technology, technique, and processes with human feeling, thought, value, and behavior—and they know, too, the kinds of questions about those interactions they are concerned to ask."


Lance Strate defined media ecology inclusively as "the study of media environments, the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs. Media ecology is the Toronto School, and the New York School. It is technological determinism, hard and soft, and technological evolution. It is media logic, medium theory, mediology. It is McLuhan Studies, orality-literacy studies, American cultural studies. It is grammar and rhetoric, semiotics and systems theory, the history and the philosophy of technology. It is the postindustrial and the postmodern, and the preliterate and prehistoric."


It is within and outside of these expanded borders of the territories where media, technologies, consciousness, symbols and cultures collide that EME explores, seeking contributions in these topic areas, among others:


• Media effects
• Media environments
• Media cultures
• Communication history
• Orality and literacy
• Memory and mnemonics
• Writing systems and scribal cultures
• Typography and print culture
• Graphic revolution and image culture
• Audiovisual media
• Secondary orality
• Electronic media
• Information theory, Cybernetics and Systems Theory
• Information technologies and telecommunications
• Surveillance technologies
• Digital media and computer technology
• Convergence
• New Media, Participatory Media, and Social media
• Mobile technologies
• Technology and culture
• Technological society and technopoly
• General semantics and linguistic relativism
• Symbolic interaction and relational communication
• Art and perception
• Media literacy
• Media and nature
• Spiritual and religious communication
• Rhetoric, Grammar, and Dialectic
• Communication theory
• Critical/cultural studies
• Postmodernism and poststructuralism
• Global media
• Music and sound
• Urban media
• Phenomenology
• Journalism and news media
• Cyberspace and virtual reality
• Freedom of expression
• Bodies and technologies
• Politics and media
• Literature and media
• Education and media


According to Christine Nystrom"


"Media Ecology is, by now, almost a commonplace to remark that the 20 century is an era of change, of change unprecedented in its scope, its pace, and its potential for violent effects on the fabric of civilization.

For Kenneth Boulding, the changes which have taken place since 1900 are of such enormous significance that he marks the 20 century as the turning point in what he calls "the second great transition in the history of mankind"—that is, the transition from "civilization" to "post-civilization." According to Boulding, the impetus for that transition is provided by a radical shift in what he calls man's "image" of reality.
Thomas Kuhn refers to the same kind of radical shift as a revolution in paradigms; Pierre Teilhard de Chardin calls it a change in the noösphere; Ervin Laszlo, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, and others call it simply a shift in man's world view.
What each is referring to is an epochal change in the status, organization, and application of knowledge.

One of the consequences of the change to which Boulding and others refer, or, better perhaps, one of its hallmarks, is a movement away from the rigidly compartmentalized, uncoordinated specialization in scientific inquiry which characterized the Newtonian world, and a movement toward increasing integration of both the physical and the social sciences.

One of the symptoms of this trend is the proliferation, in recent years, of "compound" disciplines such as mathematical biochemistry, psychobiology, linguistic anthropology, psycholinguistics, and so on.
Another is the emergence of new fields of inquiry so broad in their scope that the word "discipline," suggesting as it does some well-bounded area of specialization, scarcely applies to them at all. Rather, they are perspectives, moving perhaps in the direction of metadisciplines.

One such perspective, or emerging metadiscipline, is media ecology—broadly defined as the study of complex communication systems as environments.


As a perspective, metadiscipline, or even a field of inquiry, media ecology is very much in its infancy.


Media ecologists know, generally, what it is they are interested in—the interactions of communications media, technology, technique, and processes with human feeling, thought, value, and behavior—and they know, too, the kinds of questions about those interactions they are concerned to ask.


But media ecologists do not, as yet, have a coherent framework in which to organize their subject matter or their questions. Media ecology is, in short, a preparadigmatic science.


We also read from Neil Postman that Media Ecology is looking into the matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival.


The word ecology implies the study of environments: their structure, content, and impact on people. An environment is, after all, a complex message system which imposes on human beings certain ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

It structures what we can see and say and, therefore, do.
It assigns roles to us and insists on our playing them.
It specifies what we are permitted to do and what we are not. Sometimes, as in the case of a courtroom, or classroom, or business office, the specifications are explicit and formal.

In the case of media environments (e.g., books, radio, film, television, etc.), the specifications are more often implicit and informal, half concealed by our assumption that what we are dealing with is not an environment but merely a machine. Media ecology tries to make these specifications explicit.It tries to find out what roles media force us to play, how media structure what we are seeing, why media make us feel and act as we do.


Media ecology is the study of media as environments.


Modern Man Conditioned By Existing in the "Psycho-social Complex"


According to McLuhan, this condition became prevalent because of electricity. McLuhan said that electricity continuously transforms everything, especially the way people think, and that this confirms the power of uncertainty in the quest for knowledge. The way I see it, as the author of this Hub, I find this way of thinking to be very revolutionary.


Because of the decentralizing," integrating,' and accelerating character of the electric process, the emphasis in communication shifts from the specialist 'one thing at a time' or linear,logical sequence, to the all-at-once" simultaneous relations that occur when electronic information approaches the speed of light. Media, therefore, as contexts that translate psychological and social experience,eliminate the possibility of simple and clear meaning.


The environment, overloaded with detailed information,can be ordered meaningfully, McLuhan said, by developing enhanced pattern-recognition skills, the ability to deal with open systems, undergoing change, at electric speeds. That in the end, physical connectedness gives way to the resonant bonds and gigantic open-system pattens of electric information.


So that, up to this point, according to McLuhan, "The perception of reality now depends upon the structure of information. The form of each medium is associated with a different arrangement, or ratio, among the senses, which creates new forms of awareness. These perceptual transformations, the new ways of experiencing that each medium creates, occur in the user, regardless of the program content. This is what the Paradox. "the medium is the message" means.


So that, in order for us to fully appreciate and have a clear sense of what the whole media ecology is about, we learn McLuhan that McLuhan discovered the main effect of the electric process is to retribalize the structure of the psychic and social awareness. Millions of people sitting around the TV Tube, CNN-style. Absorbing the modern equivalent of shamanistic lore fro the authorized source is closely analogous to the old tribal relation of tyrannous instruction and control.


"The Global Village of corporate consumer values stimulates local people to retrieve who they used to be as a protection for the fading identities, for electric process makes us all nobodies desperate for identities. The quest for identity, always produces violence. The old sensibility,old values, old enmities prevail over larger-scale democratic awareness ad commitment. The profound changes to the perceptual apparatus brought about by film. Television, and the other mass media return us to conditions similar to old tribal brutalities that we retrieve the joy in the mystique of violence that governed the lives of preliterate peoples. Electricity takes us back, converts the world into a circuit of neo-tribal resonance. We are replaying the archetypes of deep human experience, the exemplary models of psychic and social reality."


McLuhan, focuses on ideas isolated from real intellectual environments, and focuses on their contextual grounds. He forces us to see how our sensory lives change in response to the media we use. Our transformed perception can lead to powerful discoveries.In fact, McLuhan explores the paradigm shift in our perceptual values in a way that can't be found elsewhere. McLuhan exposed that all communication in any medium carries rhetorical agenda. He is updating the grammarians and the rhetoricians as the deep sources of communications theory. So that, according to him "in all electric media, "The user" must learn to enter into the communication process, to become a co-producer. McLuhan observes that, 'under electric conditions, each object is not merely itself, but represents a manifold process which evades simple,logical definition, as he wrote in "UNderstanding the Media':


"The artist is the man in any field, scientific or humanistic, who grasps the implications of his actions and of new knowledge in his own times. He is the man of integral awareness."


We therefore learn that McLuhan stressed that environments and the inter-connectedness of things, the ecology of thought, and the pervasive, and the inescapable power of the electric process to change the present socio-political existence. so that, we get to learn that 'our world is fraught with new paradoxes scientifically produced: the certitude of the last few centuries has been pressed passed the limit of its capability and has reversed into its opposite. Uncertainty and probability and the latter's statistical approach to truth are now met by the theories of complexity and chaos.


So that, according to McLuhan, "socially and politically we find it difficult to make sense of the paradox: how can everything under the law be, for example, be both true and not true at the same time" The law", as noted by McLuhan, "is increasingly circumstantial and relative to media perceptions. "in electric we live with the paradox of Simplicio: "Only any arbitrary or haphazard notion, true of false, unverifiable by experience(Colie) McLuhan showed that paradox, like metaphor, establishes the ratios of a truth, for truth cannot be just one thing, nor can reality, under electric conditions.


In the Age of Information, meaning today, we should remember Korzybski's notion of a "world of words and a world of not words." Paradox and ambiguity must exist if the interplay between these two worlds is to be balanced humanely. The map is not the territory; the story, or the event; the image, not the thing. The form of presentation may be everything so that, according to McLuhan, he set out to discover what the medium actually does to change the mindscape of the user: "the medium is the message." That is, media affect us physically. So that, in the final analysis, in the age of the computer and other emerging technologies and techniques, we are beginning to see a pernicious tribalism that is developing worldwide as people struggle to forge their identities against the global corporate sameness.








How We Use Emerging Technologies, Media and MediumNeil Postman: Defining a Technology, Media and Medium | Source

Technology Will Be Used For The Human Good
There are those who believe that technology will be of use for human use and human good, s in the following article by Bradon Bowman attests:


"The past 40 years have been witness to incredible advances in technology. Computers, once huge, vacuum tube-festooned machines that took up an entire room are now small enough to slip in a pants pocket. Information and communication speeds, once measured in days, are now almost instantaneous. This rapid rate of technological advancement, and the changes is has brought about, is something that was almost unimaginable four decades ago, even to the science fiction writers and futurists who made a living out of trying to predict what was to come. But, given the exponential growth trends of technological advancement, I wonder how technology will impact our lives in the next 40 years. Will computers be so small that they are invisible to the unaided eye? Will all electronic devices be connected to the internet, able to predict our needs and desires, doing almost all of our thinking for us?


While we are certain to see technological innovations during the next 40 years that follow the growth trends of today (i.e. flatter and smaller devices, faster processors, expansions in speed and range of Wi-Fi, etc.), I think the most important changes that technology will bring will be in addressing the critical issues facing our planet and its people. These issues are present now, albeit small enough to escape the notice of those who want to ignore the news and world events, but in four decades they will have grown into crises that threaten society in general and our existence on this planet.


For example, given our current rate of population growth and loss of arable farmland, hunger and famine will threaten to explode across the globe, potentially leading to unimaginable suffering on every continent. To address this, I believe that technology will bring advances in biotechnology, bringing increases in crop yields with drought and disease-resistant plants that are genetically tailored to balance the ecosystem in which they are planted.


I can see improvements in farming technology, with farmers receiving instantaneous data on weather and soil conditions and crop performance that allows them to streamline farm operations to boost food production, using a handheld network interface to control everything from delivery of seed and fertilizer from the location with the lowest cost to the work output of a GPS-enabled harvester being driven by an AI. All of these changes will boost production of food to levels unheard of in recorded history.


But many experts say that we have plenty of food now, enough to feed everyone on the planet. The problem isn't a lack of food; rather it's a lack of money to buy food. Poverty, a condition present in every country, will spread as the income gap between the rich and poor continues to widen. This loss of wealth will also bring a whole host of other issues: increases in crime, poor living conditions, and increases in disease.


Technology will be brought to bear on this problem, perhaps leading to a second war on poverty. Technology will build on the foundations laid by such efforts as the One Laptop per Child Association and the "Telephone Lady" project of the Grameen Bank to build Wi-Fi networks and disperse inexpensive tablets and smartphones to impoverished areas, helping to provide education, information, and business opportunities.


With a little training and help, subsistence farmers will be able to contact agricultural experts to help solve food production problems or research fair commodity prices, children can receive education in on-line classes that the local school cannot provide, and local medical clinics will have use telemedicine to provide access to medical specialists that would be impossible to reach otherwise.


And the provision of this service will create entrepreneurial opportunities for locals who are willing to learn what it takes to maintain the equipment. And the interconnectedness provided by technology can be used by aid organizations to quickly obtain more accurate information on area conditions, thereby making their aid efforts more efficient and effective.


Finally, I think we will also see advances in the use of technology for regime change. Given the effective use of smartphones, Twitter feeds, and youtube uploads for instantaneous communication and documentation during the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, I think that we will see increases and advances in the use of technology in regime change.


People who have been oppressed for too long, who have been deprived of the basic freedoms needed to have some sort of happiness will follow the example of the Arab Spring countries and will utilize technology to degrees unimagined to change their governments. I can foresee the distribution of ever smaller and more concealable smartphones among oppressed peoples, with the effect of starting dialog and communication in countries where any sort of honest and frank talk about the government is banned.


These devices will be used to document atrocities committed by dictators or military juntas, with a live feed being sent out across the internet while the incident is occurring, with a copy being stored in the cloud for later war crime prosecution. The controlling regime will fight back of course, but improvements in wireless technology coupled with people's desire to live free will win out.


People who have never had access to news outside their country will be able to learn about a wider world, learning that what they were told about other countries and peoples by the ruling regime may not have been true. All of this will work to bring down one oppressive regime after another and will bring more people into the global community that lives on-line.


So long as the rapid rate of technological advancement continues, the future probably holds things that most of us can't possibly imagine. Life may very well be so much improved that today's standard of living will seem backwards and ignorant to the people of the future. But to reach this unimagined, splendid future, we must address the problems facing us today. And technology can most certainly play a role in solving those issues."


As far as Bowman is concerned, the is a noble use for technology to promote human good and development. but Postman and others seems to have a different view of the matter and subject's topic.








A Different view of technology by the LudditesListen to the video below by Postman on and about Luddites

The LudditesView of Education and Technology_ Unconditioned Collective
Here is Postman's view on the unconditioned Luddite by Technology:

Luddites

I think it is a fair guess to say that my role in the pages of TECHNOS is to serve as the resident Luddite. If this is so, then there are two things you need to know. The first is that I do not regard my association with Luddism as, in any way, a disgrace. As perhaps readers will know, the Luddite movement flourished in England between 1811 and 1818 as a response to the furious growth of machines and factories.


Notwithstanding the excesses of their zeal, the Luddites seemed to be the only group in England that could foresee the catastrophic effects of the factory system, especially on children. They did not want their children to be deprived of an education—indeed, of childhood itself—for the purpose of their being used to fuel the machines of industry. As William Blake put it, they did not want their children to labor in the "dark Satanic Mills."


It is true that the Luddites busted up some textile machinery from which their unsavory reputation originates, but when did we decide to mock or despise people who try to protect their children and preserve their way of life?


The second thing you need to know is that despite the respect I have for them, I am not at all a Luddite. I have, for example, no hostility toward new technologies and certainly no wish to destroy them, especially those technologies, like computers, that have captured the imagination of educators. Of course, I am not enthusiastic about them, either.


I am indifferent to them. And the reason I am indifferent to them is that, in my view, they have nothing whatever to do with the fundamental problems we have to solve in schooling our young. If I do harbor any hostility toward these machines, it is only because they are distractions. They divert the intelligence and energy of talented people from addressing the issues we need most to confront.


Let me begin, then, to make my case by telling you about a conversation I had with an automobile salesman who was trying to get me to buy a new Honda Accord. He pointed out that the car was equipped with cruise control, for which there was an additional charge. As is my custom in thinking about the value of technology, I asked him, "What is the problem to which cruise control is the answer?"


The question startled him, but he recovered enough to say, "It is the problem of keeping your foot on the gas." I told him I had been driving for 35 years and had never found that to be a problem. He then told me about the electric windows. "What is the problem," I asked, "to which electric windows are the answer?" He was ready for me this time. With a confident smile, he said, "You don't have to wind the windows up and down with your arm." I told him that this, too, had never been a problem, and that, in fact, I rather valued the exercise it gave me.


I bought the car anyway, because, as it turns out, you cannot get a Honda Accord without cruise control and electric windows—which brings up the first point I should like to mention. It is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, new technologies do not, by and large, increase people's options but do just the opposite. For all practical purposes, you cannot go to Europe anymore by boat, which I can report is a thrilling and civilized way to go. Now you have to take an airplane.


You cannot work for a newspaper unless you use a word processor, which eliminates me, since I do all of my composing with a pen and yellow pad and do not wish to change. You cannot buy records anymore; you must use CDs. I can go on with a thousand examples which demonstrate the point that new technologies drive old technologies out of business; which is to say that there is an imperialistic thrust to technology, a strong tendency to get everyone to conform to the requirements of what is new.


Now, this is not always a bad thing, although sometimes it is very bad. I bring it up to call attention to the fact that what we too easily call "progress" is always problematic. The word comes trippingly to the tongue, but when you examine what it means, you discover that technology is always a Faustian bargain. It giveth and it taketh away. And we would all be clearer about what we are getting into if there were less cheerleading about, let us say, the use of computers in the classroom and more sober analysis of what may be its costs intellectually and socially.


A second point my Honda story illuminates is that new technologies may not always solve significant problems or any problem at all. But because the technologies are there, we often invent problems to justify our using them. Or sometimes we even pretend we are solving one problem when, in fact, the reason for building and employing a new technology is altogether different. There are two expensive examples I can think of on this point.


The first concerns the construction of the superconducting supercollider in Texas. It was justified by no less a person than Stephen Hawking, who told us that the research the supercollider would permit would give us entry to the mind of God. Since Hawking is an avowed atheist, he cannot possibly believe this; but even if he were not, it is equally sure he does not believe it. Nonetheless, it was good public relations.


A Christian nation would be likely to go for it (though its Congress, after a $2 billion investment, did not), since the mysterious ways of the Lord have always been a serious problem for most of us. This is not to say that there aren't some interesting problems in cosmology that the supercollider might have solved. But since the people who would have been required to pay for this machine did not have any background or interest in these problems, it was best to talk about the mind of God.


The second example is the information superhighway that President Clinton and especially Vice President Gore are so ardently promoting. I have not yet heard a satisfactory answer to the question "What is the problem to which this $50 billion investment is the solution?" I suspect that an honest answer would be something like this: "There is no social or intellectual problem, but we can stimulate the economy by investing in new technologies."


That is not at all a bad answer, but it is not the answer the vice president has given. He is trying to sell the idea by claiming that it solves the problem of giving more people greater access to more information faster, including providing them with 500 TV channels (or even a thousand).

Learning

This leads me directly to the question of schools and technology. In reading Lewis Perelman's book, School's Out,* and the work of those who are passionate about the educational value of new technologies, I find that their enthusiasm is almost wholly centered on the fact that these technologies will give our students greater access to more information faster, more conveniently, and in more various forms than has ever been possible.


That is their answer to the question "What is the problem to which the new technologies are the solution?" I would suggest a modification of the question by putting it this way: "What was the 19th-century problem to which these technologies are an irrelevant solution?" By putting it this way, I mean to say that the problem of getting information to people fast and in various forms was the main technological thrust of the 19th century, beginning with the invention of telegraphy and photography in the 1840s.


It would be hard not to notice that the problem was solved and is therefore no longer something that any of us needs to work at, least of all, become worked up about. If anyone argues that technology can give people access to more information outside of the classroom than could possibly be given inside the classroom, then I would say that has been the case for almost 100 years. What else is new?


(*See Lewis Perelman's article, "Hyperlearning and the New Economy," in TECHNOS Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 4.)


In other words, the information-giving function of the schools was rendered obsolete a long time ago. For some reason, more than a few technophiles (like Perelman) have just noticed this and are, in some cases, driven to favor eliminating our schools altogether. They err in this, I think, for a couple of reasons. One is that their notion of what schools are for is rather limited. Schools are not now and in fact have never been largely about getting information to children. That has been on the schools' agenda, of course, but has always been way down on the list.


One of the principal functions of school is to teach children how to behave in groups. The reason for this is that you cannot have a democratic, indeed, civilized, community life unless people have learned how to participate in a disciplined way as part of a group. School has never been about individualized learning.


It has always been about how to learn and how to behave as part of a community. And, of course, one of the ways this is done is through the communication of what is known as social values. If you will read the first chapter of Robert Fulghum's All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, you will find an elegant summary of the important business of schools. The summary includes the following: Share everything, play fair, don't hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, wash your hands before you eat, and, of course, flush.


The only thing wrong with Fulghum's book is that no one has learned all these things, along with an affection for one's country, at kindergarten's end. We have ample evidence that it takes many years of teaching these values in school before they have been accepted and internalized. Some would say that this function of schooling is the most difficult task educators must achieve. If it is not, then the function of providing the young with narratives that help them to find purpose and meaning in learning and life surely is.


By a narrative I mean a story of human history that gives meaning to the past, explains the present, and provides guidance for the future. If there is a single problem that plagues American education at the moment, it is that our children no longer believe, as they once did, in some of the powerful and exhilarating narratives that were the underpinning of the school enterprise.


I refer to such narratives as the story of our origins in which America is brought forth out of revolution, not merely as an experiment in governance but as part of God's own plan—the story of America as a moral light unto the world. Another great narrative tells of America as a melting pot where the teeming masses, from anywhere, yearning to be free, can find peace and sustenance.


Still another narrative—sometimes referred to as the Protestant Ethic—tells of how hard work is one of the pathways to a fulfilled life. There are many other such narratives on which the whole enterprise of education in this country has rested. If teachers, children, and their parents no longer believe in these narratives, then schools become houses of detention rather than attention.

Life

What I am driving at is that the great problems of education are of a social and moral nature and have nothing to do with dazzling new technologies. In fact, the new technologies so loudly trumpeted in TECHNOS and in other venues are themselves not a solution to anything, but a problem to be solved. The fact is that our children, like the rest of us, are now suffering from information glut, not information scarcity. In America there are 260,000 billboards, 17,000 newspapers, 12,000 periodicals, 27,000 video outlets for renting tapes, 400 million television sets, and well over 400 million radios, not including those in automobiles.


There are 40,000 new book titles published every year, and every day in America 41 million photographs are taken. And, just for the record (thanks to the computer), over 60 billion pieces of advertising junk mail come into our mailboxes every year. Everything from telegraphy and photography in the 19th century to the silicon chip in the 20th has amplified the din of information.


From millions of sources all over the globe, through every possible channel and medium—light waves, airwaves, ticker tapes, computer banks, telephone wires, television cables, satellites, and printing presses—information pours in. Behind it in every imaginable form of storage—on paper, on video and audiotape, on disks, film, and silicon chips—is an even greater volume of information waiting to be retrieved. Information has become a form of garbage. It comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, disconnected from usefulness. We are swamped by information, have no control over it, and don't know what to do with it.


And in the face of all of this, there are some who believe it is time to abandon schools.


Well, if anyone is wondering whether or not the schools of the future have any use, here is something for them to contemplate. The role of the school is to help students learn how to ignore and discard information so that they can achieve a sense of coherence in their lives; to help students cultivate a sense of social responsibility; to help students think critically, historically, and humanely; to help students understand the ways in which technology shapes their consciousness; to help students learn that their own needs sometimes are subordinate to the needs of the group.


I could go on for another three pages in this vein without any reference to how machinery can give students access to information. Instead, let me summarize in two ways what I mean. First, I'll cite a remark made repeatedly by my friend Alan Kay, who is sometimes called "the father of the personal computer." Alan likes to remind us that any problems the schools cannot solve without machines, they cannot solve with them.


Second, and with this I shall come to a close: If a nuclear holocaust should occur some place in the world, it will not happen because of insufficient information; if children are starving in Somalia, it's not because of insufficient information; if crime terrorizes our cities, marriages are breaking up, mental disorders are increasing, and children are being abused, none of this happens because of a lack of information. These things happen because we lack something else. It is the "something else" that is now the business of schools.














Conditoned Existence/Learning or Modernized Man Through TechnologyUnderstanding the relationship of Education and Technology today Is Important...

Is The Media Affecting/Effecting Us, or We Control the Media/Technologies?
Then, there's another way of viewing How the Human beings are being cloned by the Media" as explained by Wolfang Schirmmacher:


1. The Post-modern Condition: Cloning-in-the-world


This time humanity really did it. In more ways than one can imagine, Being became cloning in the post-modern world. But the meaning of cloning has little to do with the scientific-technological act. Dolly, the sheep from Scotland, radically changed what it means to be a human being, and in this respect is a personality of world-historical impact. The public reaction to Dolly was widespread fear. Calling it blasphemy and a fall from grace or a stupid contribution to overpopulation, are judgments based on basic perceptions about human life and our final destiny. Therefore, Dolly became a case study for the post-modern condition: we happily jumped to conclusions, and "anything goes" was not a concept but the only strategy we all had in common. To be sure, "anything goes" is not advice you give other people but is the analysis of our own theory and practice, firmly rooted in personal convictions. Such pluralism can only be misunderstood in terms of relativism or skepticism because sometimes a person will fight to the end for the chosen language game. The crucial move is choice — serious and playful alike — and, therefore, universal acceptance is out of reach: only numbers, approval rates, high ratings prove to be realistic. Most people chose to reject the idea of cloning, and laws against cloning humans were hastily discussed in the US and in Europe.


Like the passengers of the Titanic, nobody noticed that Dolly was merely the tip of the iceberg. The more imminent challenge to humanity as we know it came from a life technique which has taken over the public and also our private life. This most successful technique to shape human life has many names but just one core: It is called information technology, communication, media or internet, and its core activity is cloning humans. Cultural critics from Neil Postman to Paul Virilio have attacked the media as an invitation to be irresponsible, and much has been written about the role model function of media stars. A few philosophers took issue with our emphasis on information as the new commodity, stressing the difference between information based on facts or fiction, and messages which actually mean something to somebody. It was observed that even the Internet, the new frontier of communication, has a bias towards a status quo, the given condition of the world: its most prominent feature is e-mail, a hybrid of oral and written communication which has done little to change the writers. Yet critics and defenders alike gave credit to the mass media for being a possible tool for the betterment of humanity and a medium of global change.


For McLuhan and his followers, hardware is the real news! But since the death of Lady Di, McLuhan has had to eat his own words: the global village showed itself as an ethical world beyond the petty distinction between hardware and software. The Soul was revealed for a long day of mourning, and billions of people celebrated a cloning-of-the-world that media was able to achieve.


Lady Di, the princess of the people, did in her death for media what Dolly, the Scottish lamb, did with her birth for biogenetics. Both life techniques which made us human-only-human are first and foremost cloning techniques. What the public rejected in the case of Dolly was emphatically embraced in the case of Diana. The post-modern condition easily allowed for this split in perception and would explain it as the irony of two contradicting language games which both happen to be true. But aren't we sick and tired by now of this playful attitude, so easy to perform? The post-modern dandy has become a bore who may still be right in his criticism but is such a pain to be with. A media-generated perceptual change may bring back ethics, and it confronts us with a post-modern decision after we stopped enjoying the post- modern condition. This decision has the distinct flavor of an ethical judgment always concerned with a good life we will never know but live on our best days. Ethical worlds which let us live at home are by necessity imperceptible, and their awareness needs concealing. By cloning with media the many ways in which a human being exists, we are also protecting the virtuality of humanity, our principally undefined status, the not-yet as well as the never.


2. The Post-modern Decision: Cloning Humans


"Just gaming," was Jean-François Lyotard's ambiguous answer referring to the double meaning of "just": to take life lightly and at the same time insist on justice for the working of language games. In this respect, the post-modern decision is about becoming a player rather than a spectator in the activity of cloning humans in order to allow for a good life. When the global media merged Lady Di and Mother Theresa after death, an ultimate clone was born: Mother Di. In this clone everybody found him- or her-self reborn, an anthropological twist Arthur Schopenhauer once anticipated. At the core of Schopenhauer's ethics of compassion is a strange recognition which may happen anytime and against our will: The sudden insight in front of a suffering person, "This is you" (tat tvam asi), not only breaks down the protective barrier of my being an individual but is an ethical judgment about the condition of life. According to Schopenhauer, in suffering, not in happiness, are all living creatures one being, and all the others in a very strict sense our clones


The post-modern decision as judgment does not identify or conceptualize the acts of cloning since it continues to favor difference and to resist integration and truth. The lessons we learned from Levinas, Lyotard, Derrida or Bataille are still valid. Interruption, hesitation, postponement, violence: as post-modern preparations for a different way of acting, these have not yet lost their touch. The folding, unfolding and refolding — as Deleuze described our Being-for-the-world — will not recapture identity or Being or time as means to make our lifeworld more accessible and an easier place. Therefore, Mother Di does not function as an icon and is not a lifestyle commercial which allows instant identification. Instead, Mother Di follows the complexities of truth which Heidegger determined as "aletheia," a timeless interplay of revealing and concealing.


Like Dolly, Mother Di reveals the perceptual implications of our ethics and gives humanity a different name: Homo generator. Determined by a self-generating activity, we have to reformulate what it means to be human: mortality as well as natality are called into question again. With openness as our existential taste and co-evolutionary power as our design, Homo generator favors eternal revisions and safeguards the freedom of creation. What we clone is exactly this attitude of open generating and never a mere copy of anything (we leave that to primitive machines). Therefore, a biological copy of Mozart will never re-create the composer, and the media clone Mother Di has as many faces as people who feel themselves cloned by it.


It is worth noting that Lady Di and Mother Theresa formed their identities mainly through hardship and not by their successes. In the case of Mother Theresa, a certain contender for sainthood, it was the suffering of others which made her famous. In dedicating her life to the untouchables on the far side of the world and helping to ease an existence often worse than death, Mother Theresa served as a powerful reminder of our mortality. Lady Di was an ordinary person, find-investor.ru a kindergarden teacher sentenced by birth to become a princess one day, who learned to wear her scars in public, and proudly. Hunted to death by paparazzi with whom she had a symbiotic relationship, Lady Di emerged as the bulimic princess scarred by a bad marriage and became the queen of the media confession scene. Without intending to do so, Lady Di impersonated the true post-modern heroine by blurring the borderlines between high and low, serious and playful, fact and fiction.


A point in favor: Clint Eastwood was her most beloved actor. Like Madonna, the notorious champion of media natality, Lady Di regenerated herself through and within media, using them skillfully. In the ultimate clone Mother Di, people experienced the fusion of mortality and natality as a celebration of self-generated wholeness. Fact and meaning together became our responsibility alone, a post-modern decision on an everyday level. Traditional hierarchies such as the British Royals or the Catholic Church were pushed aside by the global event of post-modern cloning which cancelled any other claim to these personalities. But we don't need to turn to Mother Di in order to appreciate how media clones humanity on a daily basis. Talk shows and chat rooms provide a media group therapy which lets even the weirdest people feel like everyone else: This is you — under different circumstances. Soap operas, sitcoms and cartoons have lost their distance to real life, and the members of fictional humanity become our Virtual Family. The characters of "Melrose Place" teach us more about life than our own brothers and sisters, and the finale of the sitcom "Seinfeld" resulted in a higher rating than any real-life event, including sports. Bugs Bunny was never meant to leave Toonland, but Roger Rabbit already had to; and today Bart Simpson is as real as Beavis & Butthead for kids and adults alike — just a different body outfit.


3. Concealing Humanity: Media's Secret Task


The post-modern decision of cloning humans reveals Homo generator — but it also conceals something. What is hidden from us are the ethical worlds we belong to. By cloning freely with media and designing a life-world in between natality and mortality, we pay no attention to the artificial life which always has been (and always will be) generated by humans. Concealed from our consciousness, humans live ethically, a good life behind our backs. Only in feelings, in fascination, satisfaction, joy, but also in mourning do we get a hint of ethical worlds never present, never absent. To be sure, we'll miss even these subtle hints if we try to find some reasons for feeling happy or sad: to fix the fulfilled moment is the best way to destroy it.


It is the time-honored advice of wise men to enjoy life without knowing why, to live happily without expectations and, last but not least, to act without believing in the principles of your action. We call this relaxed attitude towards life with its simple pleasures our art of living. It is a widespread practice which needs little theory and is rooted in judgment and prudence instead of smart concepts. Cloning humans with media works very well in distracting our attention from this ethical art of living, invisible to the censor and beyond good and evil. In media we simulate humanity to the point of not recognizing ourselves anymore, and this life-consuming activity helps us to stay clear of authentic humanity. All the noise and excitement, the ups and downs of cloned humanity serves just one purpose: to fulfill the secret task of media in keeping our minds occupied with the insane things while in the meantime our undisturbed life techniques generate human sanity — behind our backs but not without our active trust.


However, it would be totally wrong to assume that a God or history or the evolution of the brain is pushing for a development which benefits humanity without our participation. There is nothing like a deus ex machina making sure we come out alright at the end! Humans are alone and fully responsible for artificial life which is the only life for us. This responsibility is ethical and, therefore, never fulfilled through intentional control. Even if it cannot be helped that we clone solely openness, cloning humans with media and biogenetics is to be done in the spirit of control and needs to be concealed in order to become authentic. Isn't it surprising that all our progress has not brought humanity any farther — for all the new discoveries in science, society and culture, humans are basically unchanged: love and hate, generosity and envy, trust and distrust are still the bottom line.


What cloning does with its spectacle is to reveal our fundamental activity as Homo generator and at the same moment to conceal the way any generation makes a home in the ethical worlds of bioscaping, soul, Geviert (balance) and kairos (timing). It is the signature of truth to erase its signing right after the fact in order to allow the on-going folding, unfolding and refolding to be done in peace. So we certainly should be grateful for the cloning done by media, but we have to get more experience in perceiving our imperceptible actions of true humanity. In ethical life humanity fulfills itself, of which we are vaguely aware and which we need to forget at once. Pushing hard for this forgetting is media's strongest claim."


The video below, by Postman, is in the same vein of the article by Bowman and Wolfang, and he ably discusses and points out to many affects and effects of Technologies, Media and Medium on the lives and psyche of man.


College Lecture Series - Neil Postman - "The Surrender of Culture to Technology"

Openness: Sharing is better than stealing-Not Stolen IdentyDigital networks were built for sharing, we as users have to learn the difference between sharing and stealing, thus promoting opnennes without succumbing to selfishness

Are We Progamming or Being Programmed?
Rushkoff debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: It's here; it's everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it? "Choose the former," writes Rushkoff, "and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make."


Rushkoff provides cyber enthusiasts and technophobes alike with the guidelines to navigate this new universe. In this spirited, accessible poetics of new media, Rushkoff picks up where Marshall McLuhan left off, helping readers come to recognize programming as the new literacy of the digital age--and as a template through which to see beyond social conventions and power structures that have vexed us for centuries.


"No matter how private and individual we try to make our computers, our programs, and even our files, they all slowly but surely become part of the clout," writes Rushkoff. "Whether we simply back up a file by sending it to the server holding our email, or go so far as to create a website archive, we all eventually make use of computing resources we don't actually own ourselves. And eventually, someone or something else uses something of ours, too. Its the natural tug of the digital technology towards what may well be its most essential characteristic: 'Sharing.'


Rushkoff further adds that, "From the CPU at the heart of a computer distributing calculations to various coprocessors, to the single mainframe at a university serving hundreds of separate terminals, computer and network architecture has always been based on sharing resources and distributing the burden. This is the way digital technology works, so it should not surprise us that the technologists building computers and networks learned to work in analogous ways."


If human beings are to tap into the cosmic consciousness, we need to know that collective consciousness seems to be the modus operandi of the universal consciousness that dominates the cosmos and in intelligence in space. If we are going to be stealing from the collective pool of consciousness and hoarding it for ourselves, we are breaking the basic rule of advancing Mans' beingness and consciousness to belong to the family of collective consciousness that dominate the whole universal plain of consciousness and intelligence.


What I am saying is what Rushkoff, by saying that we must 'share', he means that we need to begin to practice disseminating the awareness that stealing and hoarding of what finds on the web and is not his/hers, should be avoided and that man should begin to share and 'give credit as to whence whatever one is sharing' emanates from or is due to. This is one of the less talked about universal principles and conundrums that governs the existence of beings and entities in the Universe.


It is then in this way we might begin to know or be aware that we are programming or being programmed in the technological society and sphere that we live, exist, interact and use today. As Rushkoff observes,


"The way to flourish in mediaspace biased nonfiction is to tell the truth. This means having a truth to tell. ... The outsourcing of our memory to machines expands the amount of data to which we have access, but degrades our brain's own ability to remember things. Yet this process of offloading our remembered information began with the invention of text, met with similar critique then. We have been consistently using our brains less as hard drives and more as processors-putting our mental resources into active RAM. ... The processes we used to use finding a doctor or friend, mapping a route, or choosing a restaurant are being replaced by machines that may, in fact, do it better. What we lose in the bargain, however, is not just the ability to remember certain facts, but to recall under certain skills."


This has cause the laziness in people to recall mundane things from memory. Where people used to memorize phone numbers, they now depend on their smartphones with the picture of the number of the person to show up. Where people use to walk erect and facing up, nowadays people walk peering into their phones, in the streets, in the train and in their cars. The behavior of people has changed and is somehow being conditioned by the gizmos they use, and the dictates of the techniques embedded within these technologies.


Thus my question or one may say, postulation, as to whether were as a people having the ability to program or we are being programmed by the new technologies, techniques embedded in these emerging/submerging machines.. That will be be answered not in the too far and distant future.


Outsourcing Our Minds And Cognition

The Outsourcing Of Our Memories To Machines
When we begun to 'outsource our memories to machines', we were in effect virally swimming in the data that keeps on expanding, and yet in the process are degrading our brain's own ability to remember things.'(Rushkoff).


Donhong Cheng (et al) inform us thusly:


"Modern science is bound up with technical infrastructure; there is no subatomic physics without supercollider installations, no astronomy without high-tech telescopes, no genetic engineering without gene sequencers, no nanotechnology without lasers, no brain research without magnetic visualization techniques, and probably none of these research activities without high-powered computers.


"Science and technology are intimately linked-up at their 'shared frontier, which is marked by the term "technoscience". The technological hold on the world is hegemonic. In technology, globalization is already achieved. There are few corners of the world without electricity, telephones. So that, in the following excerpt, I am going to focus on the Effects and affects of Google on our minds and cognition.


The following article was writen by Clive Thopson and he Titled it:


Is Google Wrecking Our Memory? Nope, it's much, much weirder than that.


The following is excerpted from Clive Thompson's book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better, out now from the Penguin Press.


Is the Internet ruining our ability to remember facts? If you've ever lunged for your smartphone during a bar argument ("one-hit father of twerking pop star"—Billy Ray Cyrus!), then you've no doubt felt the nagging fear that your in-brain memory is slowly draining away. As even more fiendishly powerful search tools emerge—from IBM's Jeopardy!-playing Watson to the "predictive search" of Google Now—these worries are, let's face it, only going to grow.


So what's going on? Each time we reach for the mouse pad when we space out on the ingredients for a Tom Collins or the capital of Arkansas, are we losing the power to retain knowledge?


The short answer is: No. Machines aren't ruining our memory.


The longer answer: It's much, much weirder than that!


What's really happening is that we've begun to fit the machines into an age-old technique we evolved thousands of years ago—"transactive memory." That's the art of storing information in the people around us. We have begun to treat search engines, Evernote, and smartphones the way we've long treated our spouses, friends, and workmates. They're the handy devices we use to compensate for our crappy ability to remember details.


And frankly, our brains have always been terrible at remembering details. We're good at retaining the gist of the information we encounter. But the niggly, specific facts? Not so much. In a 1990 study, long before the Interwebs supposedly corroded our minds, the psychologist Walter Kintsch ran an experiment in which subjects read several sentences. When he tested them 40 minutes later, they could generally remember the sentences word for word. Four days later, though, they were useless at recalling the specific phrasing of the sentences—but still very good at describing the meaning of them.


The exception is when you're obsessed with a subject. If you're deeply into something—football, the Civil War, Pokémon—then you're usually great at hoovering up and retaining details. When you're an expert in a subject, you can retain new factoids on your favorite topic easily. This only works for the subjects you're truly passionate about, though. Baseball fans can reel off stats for their favorite players, then space out on their own birthday.


So humanity has always relied on coping devices to handle the details for us. We've long stored knowledge in books, paper, Post-it notes.


But when it comes to quickly retrieving information on the fly, all day long, quickly? We don't rely on documents for the details as much as you'd think. No, we rely on something much more immediate: other people.


Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner—and his colleagues Ralph Erber and Paula Raymond—first began to systematically explore "transactive memory" back in the '80s. Wegner noticed that spouses often divide up memory tasks. The husband knows the in-laws' birthdays and where the spare light bulbs are kept; the wife knows the bank account numbers and how to program the TiVo. If you ask the husband for his bank account number, he'll shrug. If you ask the wife for her sister-in-law's birthday, she can never remember it. Together, they know a lot. Separately, less so.


Wegner suspected this division of labor takes place because we have pretty good "metamemory." We're aware of our mental strengths and limits, and we're good at intuiting the memory abilities of others. Hang around a workmate or a romantic partner long enough and you discover that while you're terrible at remembering your corporate meeting schedule, or current affairs in Europe, or how big a kilometer is relative to a mile, they're great at it. They're passionate about subject X; you're passionate about subject Y. So you each begin to subconsciously delegate the task of remembering that stuff to the other, treating one's partners like a notepad or encyclopedia, and they do the reverse. In many respects, Wegner noted, people are superior to notepads and encyclopedias, because we're much quicker to query: Just yell a fuzzily phrased question across to the next cubicle (where do we keep the thing that we use for that thing?) and you'll get an answer in seconds. We share the work of remembering, Wegner argued, because it makes us collectively smarter.


Experiments have borne out Wegner's theory. One group of researchers studied older couples who'd been together for decades. When separated and questioned individually about the events of years ago, they'd sometimes stumble on details. But questioned together, they could retrieve them. How? They'd engage in "cross-cuing," tossing clues back and forth until they triggered each other. This is how a couple remembered a show they saw on their honeymoon 40 years previously:


F: And we went to two shows, can you remember what they were called?
M: We did. One was a musical, or were they both? I don't ... no ... one ...
F: John Hanson was in it.
M: Desert Song.
F: Desert Song, that's it, I couldn't remember what it was called, but yes, I knew John Hanson was in it.
M: Yes.


They were, in a sense, Googling each other. Other experiments have produced similar findings. In one, people were trained in a complex task—assembling an AM/FM radio—and tested a week later. Those who'd been trained in a group and tested with that same group performed far better than individuals who worked alone; together, they recalled more steps and made fewer mistakes. In 2009 researchers followed 209 undergraduates in a business course as they assembled into small groups to work on a semester-long project. The groups that scored highest on a test of their transactive memory—in other words, the groups where members most relied on each other to recall information—performed better than those who didn't use transactive memory. Transactive groups don't just remember better: They also analyze problems more deeply, too, developing a better grasp of underlying principles.


We don't remember in isolation—and that's a good thing. "Quite simply, we seem to record as much outside our minds as within them," as Wegner has written. "Couples who are able to remember things transactively offer their constituent individuals storage for and access to a far wider array of information than they would otherwise command." These are, as Wegner describes it in a lovely phrase, "the thinking processes of the intimate dyad."


And as it turns out, this is what we're doing with Google and Evernote and our other digital tools. We're treating them like crazily memorious friends who are usually ready at hand. Our "intimate dyad" now includes a silicon brain.


Recently, a student of Wegner's—the Columbia University scientist Betsy Sparrow—ran some of the first experiments that document this trend. She gave subjects sentences of random trivia (like "An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain" and "The space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry over Texas in Feb. 2003.") and had them type the sentences into a computer. With some facts, the students were explicitly told the information wouldn't be saved. With others, the screen would tell them that the fact had been saved, in one of five blandly named folders, such as FACTS, ITEMS, or POINTS. When Sparrow tested the students, the people who knew the computer had saved the information were less likely to personally recall the info than the ones who were told the trivia wouldn't be saved. In other words, if we know a digital tool is going to remember a fact, we're slightly less likely to remember it ourselves.


We are, however, confident of where in the machine we can refind it. When Sparrow asked the students simply to recall whether a fact had been saved or erased, they were better at recalling the instances where a fact had been stored in a folder. As she wrote in a Science paper, "believing that one won't have access to the information in the future enhances memory for the information itself, whereas believing the information was saved externally enhances memory for the fact that the information could be accessed." Each situation strengthens a different type of memory. Another experiment found that subjects were really good at remembering the specific folder names containing the right factoid, even though the folders had extremely unremarkable names.


"Just as we learn through transactive memory who knows what in our families and offices, we are learning what the computer 'knows' and when we should attend to where we have stored information in our computer-based memories," Sparrow wrote.


You could say this is precisely what we most fear: Our mental capacity is shrinking! But as Sparrow pointed out to me when we spoke about her work, that panic is misplaced. We've stored a huge chunk of what we "know" in people around us for eons. But we rarely recognize this because, well, we prefer our false self-image as isolated, Cartesian brains. Novelists in particular love to rhapsodize about the glory of the solitary mind; this is natural, because their job requires them to sit in a room by themselves for years on end. But for most of the rest of us, we think and remember socially. We're dumber and less cognitively nimble if we're not around other people—and, now, other machines.


In fact, as transactive partners, machines have several advantages over humans. For example, if you ask them a question you can wind up getting way more than you'd expected. If I'm trying to recall which part of Pakistan has experienced tons of U.S. drone strikes and I ask a colleague who follows foreign affairs, he'll tell me "Waziristan." But when I queried this online, I got the Wikipedia page on "Drone attacks in Pakistan." I wound up reading about the astonishing increase of drone attacks (from one a year to 122 a year) and some interesting reports about the surprisingly divided views of Waziristan residents. Obviously, I was procrastinating—I spent about 15 minutes idly poking around related Wikipedia articles—but I was also learning more, reinforcing my generalized, "schematic" understanding of Pakistan.


Now imagine if my colleague behaved like a search engine—if, upon being queried, he delivered a five-minute lecture on Waziristan. Odds are I'd have brusquely cut him off. "Dude. Seriously! I have to get back to work." When humans spew information at us unbidden, it's boorish. When machines do it, it's enticing. And there are a lot of opportunities for these encounters. Though you might assume search engines are mostly used to answer questions, some research has found that up to 40 percent of all queries are acts of remembering. We're trying to refresh the details of something we've previously encountered.


If there's a big danger in using machines for transactive memory, it's not about making us stupider or less memorious. It's in the inscrutability of their mechanics. Transactive memory works best when you have a sense of how your partners' minds work—where they're strong, where they're weak, where their biases lie. I can judge that for people close to me. But it's harder with digital tools, particularly search engines. They're for-profit firms that guard their algorithms like crown jewels. And this makes them different from previous forms of transactive machine memory. A public library—or your notebook or sheaf of papers—keeps no intentional secrets about its mechanisms. A search engine keeps many. We need to develop literacy in these tools the way we teach kids how to spell and write; we need to be skeptical about search firms' claims of being "impartial" referees of information.


What's more, transactive memory isn't some sort of cognitive Get Out of Jail Free card. High school students, I'm sorry to tell you: You still need to memorize tons of knowledge. That's for reasons that are civic and cultural and practical; a society requires shared bodies of knowledge. And on an individual level, it's still important to slowly study and deeply retain things, not least because creative thought—those breakthrough ahas—come from deep and often unconscious rumination, your brain mulling over the stuff it has onboard.


But you can stop worrying about your iPhone moving your memory outside your head. It moved out a long time ago—yet it's still all around you.


Electricity Is PowerWhile the grid’s performance is adequate today, decisions made now will shape that grid over the next 20 years. The MIT report recommends a series of changes in the regulatory environment to facilitate and exploit technological innovation. Among the | Source

Powerless Africa: The Blackened African GridSiddhartha Mitter wrote of the plan "all infrastructure investment should be considered a good thing unless proven otherwise -- especially in Africa, where the need is so great." Gayle Smith, director for development and democracy at the National Sec | Source

Equal Destribution Of Electricity Might Enable The Empowerment of Africa and the So-Called Third World
So, for me, I challenge the statement above as being false. Africa is lagging behind with a fully underdeveloped electrical grid. If technological power is feasible as enunciated above, I find that the analysis is weakened by the facts. The pictures above tell a whole different story. so, whilst we might wax intellectual about some basic facts, there are those realms of reality that, through picture, tell a different story. We learn from David Mayers that"


"One out of every six people on earth is African, yet the continent produces only four percent of the world's electricity. The U.S. has a population that is double the size of Nigeria's, yet generates 220 times the electricity that's generated in Nigeria.


Even in Cape Town, the picturesque seaside city that played host to the Obama speech, scheduled blackouts are routine during times when demand for power outstrips supply. In every case, a loss of power means a lost opportunity for local development. An entrepreneur can't reliably run a business without a dependable flow of electricity.


Beyond the initial government funding, Power Africa seeks to open up the African power sector to foreign investment, with a series of guarantees meant to lure outside capital into sectors that are often seen as too risky.


General Electric alone has pledged to produce 5,000MW -- half of the total 10,000MW that Power Africa aims to generate.


Power Africa is the Obama administration's first foray into large-scale development on the continent. In many countries, the program will run into well-established Chinese infrastructure projects. Obama said he welcomed the competition for development.


"I want everybody playing in Africa," he said. "The more the merrier."


In its first phase, Power Africa is set to roll out in six of Africa's 55 countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania). Most of the investment will go towards building power plants and funding smaller, off-the-grid projects in those countries. The program also calls for partnerships with Mozambique and Uganda to help those countries manage newly discovered oil and gas reserves."


That is why that I say as we are programming and being programmed, there is a vast swath of African humanity that is being de-programmed and underutilized because the basic electric grid is still a remote if impossible possibility for the whole African continent and for various reasons that this is so.


Art Mediums As Media

Media And Its Technologies Really Effect And Affect
The Technological Media to day has transformed our life-styles , languages, behavior and may other things that we are now doing because to the presence of the Media and its technologies that have become our way of life. McLuhan counsels us above that:


McLuhan had a new conception of what media could be when put in the hands of artists: "The media are not toys; they should not be in the hands of Mother Goose and Peter Pan executives. ... The wild Broncos of technological culture have yet to find their busters or masters. They have found only the P.T. Barnums." ... In saying so, McLuhan gave an idea rich in potential application to media, namely that the effect of a new staple or natural resource is essentially the same as the effect of a new medium of communication, in the sense that both function as technological extensions of our physical senses."


McLuhan spoke of the mental discipline required to transpose the realities of life int new spheres and the dislocating effects of the media. ... Study the modes of the media, in order to pick all assumptions out of the subliminal, non-verbal realm for scrutiny and for prediction and control of human purposes. ...


What sort of changes did the media of the printing press and movable type bring about. It meant the end of manuscript culture, to be sure, but the consequences were much more far-reaching than the loss of jobs for scribes and monks. 'Printing was the mechanization of writing.'In our present future' as I have pointed out from Douglass Rushkoff, we are living with our technologies here and now. They are what we depend on when before we depended on out minds and recollection. Now we have ceded that function and many to our smartphones and the new merging and emerging gizmos that abound for the consumers to buy, at affordable prices.


Meaning, what Rushkoff is saying about us taking and hoarding information, well, the same people who designed these possibilities into the new technological gadgets that are sporting every month, so it now seems, what we take and use, and our giving information about ourselves is also taken and used by others. "Sharing" which one can see from using Facebook that it is a dominant feature of information dissemination and propagation.


I have been decrying the fact that how we use these technologies, is itself going to determine as to whether we use these technologies tour own ends, or we are being used and abused by the same technologies embedded in some sleekly and well designed gizmos, that in effect they are effecting and affecting us in various ways, which many of us have not yet gotten the memo. I will like to restate a point made by McLuhan above in the Hub by re-citing below:


"McLuhan in his works maintains that a technology, any medium, is something that extends one or more of our five physical senses. The book is a form of print, is a form of writing, is a visual form of the voice giving expression to ideas, which is where the chain of media working in paris ends. Ideas don't hang around by themselves. Unless they are uttered (outered, ushered out) from our brains and into our mouths with the help of lungs and teeth and other human-body sound-production equipment,they are unknown to anyone but ourselves and unknown even to ourselves, unless we have learned their outerings through the conventional use of a language. Here we are back to media working in pairs, and technology in the McLuhan sense, and size does not matter."


If we come to understand the media in McLuhan usage of the sense, we can see the extension of this thought by Rushkof":


"This is the new "now."


"Our society has reorientated itself to the present moment. Everything is live, real time, and always -on. It's not a mere speeding up, however much our lifestyles and technologies have accelerated the rate at which we attempt to do things. It's more of a diminishment of anything that isn't happening right now-and the onslaught of everything that supposedly is.


"It 's why the wold's leading search engine is evolving into live, customized, and predictive flow of data branded "Google Now"; why email is giving way to texting, and why Blogs are being superseded by Twitter feeds.It's why kids in school can no longer follow linear arguments; why narrative structure collapsed into reality TV; and why we can't engage in meaningful dialogue about last month's books and music, much less long-term global issues.


"It's why the world's an economy once based on long-term investment and interest-bearing currency can no longer provide capital to those who plan to put it to work for future rewards. That's why many long for a 'singularity or was 2012 apocalypse onwards, to end 'linear time' altogether and throw us into a post historic eternal Present (What I can the 'Present Future'") .. no matter the cost to human agency or civilization itself.


"If The end of the twentieth century can be characterized by futurism, the twenty-firs can be defined as presentism.


The looking forward so prevalent in the 1990s was bound to end once the new millennium began. Like some others of that era, I predicted a new focus on the moment, on real experience, and on what things are actually wrath now. ...Add real-time technologies, from the i-Phone to Twitter; a disposable consumer economy where 1-Click ordering is more important than the actual incapable of storage or sustained argument; and an economy based on spending now what one may or may not earn in a lifetime, and you can't help but become temporarily disorientated. It's akin to the onslaught of changing rules and circumstances that the 1970s futurist Alvin Toffler dubbed "future shock.


"Only, in our era, it's more of a 'present' shock['present future'-my addition]. And while this phenomenon is clearly of the "moment," it's not quite as 'in the moment' as we may have expected.


"For while many of us were correct about the way all this 'presentism' would affect investments and finance, even technology and media, we were utterly wrong about how living in the "now" would end up impacting us as a people. Our focus on the present may have liberated us from the twentieth century's dangerously compelling ideological narratives. No one-well, hardly anyone-can still be convinced that brutal means are justified by mythological ends.


"And people are less likely to believe employers' and corporations' false promises of future rewards for years of loyalty now. But it has not actually brought us into greater awareness of what is going on around us. We are not approaching some Zen state of an infinite moment. completely at one with our surroundings, connected to others, and aware of ourselves on any fundamental level.


"Rather, we tend to exist in a distracted present, where forces on the periphery are magnified and those immediately before us are ignored. Our ability to create a plan-much less follow through on it-is undermined by our need to be able to improvise our way through any number of external impacts that star to derail us at any moment. Instead of finding a stable foothold in the 'here and now,' we end up reacting to the ever-present assault of simultaneous impulses and commands"


These affect and effect us in various way, and I will soon be looking into how this happens and what happened when they effect and affect us.


What’s Everybody Watching? Google Trends Now Showing

Advertisements Are Us... We Are TheTrending Trend
Introduction to Anti-Hyper-Consumerism
(written for Sportswear International)
By Douglas Rushkoff

Writing this little piece could get me in a whole lot of trouble. See, most of my books and articles are about combating the very same marketing techniques you hope to learn by subscribing to a magazine like this one. My usual readers are the kids who buy Adbusters magazine, the activists who protest at the WTO, and parents looking for ways to bring meaning into their children's lives that don't involve a new brand of sneaker. If they even suspect me of selling you clues about how teens think and live in order for you to market fashions to them more effectively, I'm done for.

Yes, friends, there's a war going on and, as far as America's youth culture is concerned, you are the enemy.

How did we find ourselves in such a predicament? Easy. Today, there are 32 million teens in the United States, spending 100 billion dollars on themselves every year. You want this money, and they know it.

There are a lot of you out there. This makes your job tricky. With kids processing an average of 3000 discreet advertisements each day, competition for their attention is fierce. Logically, you've invested heavily in research and trend-watching in order to find out what they'll respond to. You need to determine what they think is cool today and, more importantly, what they can be made to think is cool tomorrow.

It's a process that began in the 1980's, when kids' disposable income finally surpassed their parents' and the demographic took on paramount importance in consumer sales. You began to study teens like an anthropologist would study a foreign culture -- all in the hope of eventual colonization.

You hired cool-hunters -- young, bright, culture spies who could roam freely and undetected through the clubs and schoolyards where corporations weren't welcome. They came back with snapshots of the latest, undiscovered trends. Then you incorporated these tidbits into your styles or advertisements. A cuffed leg here, an eyebrow piercing there, maybe a new breakbeat from the rave scene.

But you were fighting a losing battle. The minute a cool trend is discovered, repackaged, and sold to kids at the mall, it's no longer cool. So the kids turn to something else, and the whole process starts all over again. The better you get at coolhunting, the faster the cycle goes, and the harder it is for anyone to keep up.

Making matters worse, kids were becoming increasingly aware of this process. They knew that their own claim to a trend is challenged by its adoption into the mainstream, so they looked for ways to hide from your researchers' hunting scopes.

By the early 90's, the so-called Generation X believed they had found their defense against you: adopt a posture and lifestyle that resists the notion of cool itself. These self-proclaimed slackers followed Bart Simpson's lead, and treated every marketing message with good dose of protective irony. They refused to be intimidated into buying the latest styles of jeans or running shoes, opting instead for the ugliest clothes they could find at the local thrift shop. Grunge style, like grunge music, was a revolt against marketing itself.

It was accompanied by a new attitude towards media and advertising: detachment. Armed with a remote control and a media-savvy awareness, teens of the early 90's celebrated their newfound freedom by surfing away from your TV ads, or laughing at them, out loud, with their friends. Phrases like "whatever" and "nevermind" announced this generation's refusal to be drawn into their predecessors' pursuit of cool. They would not be moved.

Major record labels were the first to find a way to capitalize on even this trend. Grunge bands were offered contracts that even they couldn't refuse, and soon Nirvana or Pearl Jam were as likely to be on MTV as Madonna. Kurt Cobain's suicide, though actually a result of depression and drug abuse, to kids symbolized his remorse at surrendering to the corporate machine. It effectively ended the creative expression of this resistance, leaving only its hollow irony behind.

This made Generation X ripe for harvest by mass consumer brands like Sprite and Levi's, who developed commercials applauding kids for their hatred of marketing. "Image is Nothing, Thirst is Everything," Sprite's new advertisements proclaimed. They hired famous basketball players to pitch the product in TV commercials, while bags of money representing their endorsement fees accumulated at the bottom of the screen. "We know you hate marketing," these campaigns meant to say. "We're on your side."

Of course teens eventually got wise to this anti-marketing marketing campaign, as well. Sprite's own focus groups revealed that kids saw through the charade. But it was a turning point in teen's defense against media: irony no longer guaranteed protection. It didn't really matter, though. Most of you had given up on this age group, and had trained your sights on their younger brothers and sisters. And you wouldn't make the same mistakes again.

The marketing industry vowed that Generation Y would not get away as easily. They hired psychologists and sociologists to project what kinds of teens these kids were going to be -- before they were even teens! This way you could be there, waiting for them. Your ethnographers and culture gurus had determined, correctly, that what these kids wanted more than anything else was a feeling of authenticity. Everything had gotten so confusing, so marketed, so fleeting, that it was hard to feel real about anything at all.

If it's authenticity they want, it's authenticity you'll provide them. So, today, you mine the farthest reaches of teen culture for signs of genuine trends. You send researchers into their bedrooms to scour their closets, or into fledgling new scenes that have yet to discover what they're about. Better yet, look at what the poor kids are doing, or how the urban (read: African-American) kids are dressing. Their anguish is real; so, too, must be their uses of denim.

Generation Y knows that your culture scouts are far better equipped than they are to determine what's authentic. So they watch MTV and peruse the ads in Spin to find out which culture they should emulate next. The object of the game is to get in on a scene while it's still being exploited. To get onto Total Request Live or be captured by the cameras on MTV's Spring Break. After all, if there's MTV cameras around, it *must* be cool.

For as much as they resent the way you pander to their fleeting sense of what is genuinely, authentically cool, they enjoy all the attention. It's turned into a giant feedback loop: you watch kids to find out what trend is "in," but the kids are watching you watching them in order to figure out how to act. They are exhibitionists, aware of corporate America's fascination with their every move, and delighting in your obsession with their tastes. At least to a point.

The problem with being the center of attention is that it gives them nowhere to turn, themselves. When even their parents long for the adolescent sexual utopia of the Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue or the idyllic and equally adult-less Dawson's Creek, kids have nothing left to aspire towards. None of them are experiencing anything close to the good times suggested by these brand-image universes. They are teenagers, for God's sake. It's a terrible, terrifying time. But they have been put at the very center of the universe. Marketers want to please them. Their parents want to *be* them. All eyes, and all cameras, are trained on the teen.

In most societies, teens tend to emulate adults. That's right: they yearn for the increased responsibilities and privileges that come with growing up. Until they grow up, they are on their parents' trip. It's not that children should be seen and not heard. But by turning the media and marketing realms into tributes to the teen revolution, you have cast everyone else as their enemies.

And by removing yourselves -- yes, you adults -- from the equation, you have denied your young customers the one thing they could really use from you: your adult creativity. Instead, you relegate kids to a prison of mirrors, and rationalize that you're simply meeting popular demand. You're not. Kids don't really know what they want. How could they? They're just kids. If anything, they want direction -- and connection with something greater than themselves.

Instead of dedicating your budgets to exacerbating this problem by drawing ever-tighter circles of teen research, have you considered spending it on designers, instead? Let your own studios and workshops become the locus of discovery, not some photographs on a trend-watching web site. Dare you lead, instead of follow?

Instead of identifying a trend and then mass-producing it before it has had a chance to mature into something of depth, why don't you develop some trends of your own? Spend your scouting money identifying new designers and then fostering their talents. If you simply *must* capture the vitality of youth, why not bring in kids as interns or apprentice designers? Let them learn from your best senior people, so that instead of re-inventing teen fashions every season, you build a legacy.

How can teens develop their own culture when each new idea is co-opted and sold back to them before it's had a chance to mature? I know your revenues depend on staying ahead of the curve, but that curve has come full circle. The very coolest thing in a world where nothing lasts is continuity itself. That's why 60's, 70's and 80's clothing revivals are happening with such disarming regularity. Kids are aching for something with more longevity than the current marketing cycle affords them. Don't adults have anything to offer them besides a mirror?

If you, the leaders of the design industry, are not in a position to create the defining trends of the 21st Century, then who is? Don't look to kids for all the answers. Look to yourselves.


Children As Target Audience

The pursuit of the Cool: Kids As Cash Cows For The Corporations
"Prophecy no longer fee likes a description of the future but, rather, a guide to the present"...


Introduction to anti-Hyper-Consumerism (Written for Sportswear International) By Douglass Rushkoff":


Writing this little piece could get me in a whole lot of trouble. See, most of my books and articles are about combating the very same marketing techniques you hope to learn by subscribing to a magazine like this one. My usual readers are the kids who buy Adbusters magazine, the activists who protest at the WTO, and parents looking for ways to bring meaning into their children's lives that don't involve a new brand of sneaker. If they even suspect me of selling you clues about how teens think and live in order for you to market fashions to them more effectively, I'm done for.

Yes, friends, there's a war going on and, as far as America's youth culture is concerned, you are the enemy.

How did we find ourselves in such a predicament? Easy. Today, there are 32 million teens in the United States, spending 100 billion dollars on themselves every year. You want this money, and they know it.

There are a lot of you out there. This makes your job tricky. With kids processing an average of 3000 discreet advertisements each day, competition for their attention is fierce. Logically, you've invested heavily in research and trend-watching in order to find out what they'll respond to. You need to determine what they think is cool today and, more importantly, what they can be made to think is cool tomorrow.

It's a process that began in the 1980's, when kids' disposable income finally surpassed their parents' and the demographic took on paramount importance in consumer sales. You began to study teens like an anthropologist would study a foreign culture -- all in the hope of eventual colonization.

You hired cool-hunters -- young, bright, culture spies who could roam freely and undetected through the clubs and schoolyards where corporations weren't welcome. They came back with snapshots of the latest, undiscovered trends. Then you incorporated these tidbits into your styles or advertisements. A cuffed leg here, an eyebrow piercing there, maybe a new breakbeat from the rave scene.

But you were fighting a losing battle. The minute a cool trend is discovered, repackaged, and sold to kids at the mall, it's no longer cool. So the kids turn to something else, and the whole process starts all over again. The better you get at coolhunting, the faster the cycle goes, and the harder it is for anyone to keep up.

Making matters worse, kids were becoming increasingly aware of this process. They knew that their own claim to a trend is challenged by its adoption into the mainstream, so they looked for ways to hide from your researchers' hunting scopes.

By the early 90's, the so-called Generation X believed they had found their defense against you: adopt a posture and lifestyle that resists the notion of cool itself. These self-proclaimed slackers followed Bart Simpson's lead, and treated every marketing message with good dose of protective irony. They refused to be intimidated into buying the latest styles of jeans or running shoes, opting instead for the ugliest clothes they could find at the local thrift shop. Grunge style, like grunge music, was a revolt against marketing itself.

It was accompanied by a new attitude towards media and advertising: detachment. Armed with a remote control and a media-savvy awareness, teens of the early 90's celebrated their newfound freedom by surfing away from your TV ads, or laughing at them, out loud, with their friends. Phrases like "whatever" and "nevermind" announced this generation's refusal to be drawn into their predecessors' pursuit of cool. They would not be moved.

Major record labels were the first to find a way to capitalize on even this trend. Grunge bands were offered contracts that even they couldn't refuse, and soon Nirvana or Pearl Jam were as likely to be on MTV as Madonna. Kurt Cobain's suicide, though actually a result of depression and drug abuse, to kids symbolized his remorse at surrendering to the corporate machine. It effectively ended the creative expression of this resistance, leaving only its hollow irony behind.

This made Generation X ripe for harvest by mass consumer brands like Sprite and Levi's, who developed commercials applauding kids for their hatred of marketing. "Image is Nothing, Thirst is Everything," Sprite's new advertisements proclaimed. They hired famous basketball players to pitch the product in TV commercials, while bags of money representing their endorsement fees accumulated at the bottom of the screen. "We know you hate marketing," these campaigns meant to say. "We're on your side."

Of course teens eventually got wise to this anti-marketing marketing campaign, as well. Sprite's own focus groups revealed that kids saw through the charade. But it was a turning point in teen's defense against media: irony no longer guaranteed protection. It didn't really matter, though. Most of you had given up on this age group, and had trained your sights on their younger brothers and sisters. And you wouldn't make the same mistakes again.

The marketing industry vowed that Generation Y would not get away as easily. They hired psychologists and sociologists to project what kinds of teens these kids were going to be -- before they were even teens! This way you could be there, waiting for them. Your ethnographers and culture gurus had determined, correctly, that what these kids wanted more than anything else was a feeling of authenticity. Everything had gotten so confusing, so marketed, so fleeting, that it was hard to feel real about anything at all.

If it's authenticity they want, it's authenticity you'll provide them. So, today, you mine the farthest reaches of teen culture for signs of genuine trends. You send researchers into their bedrooms to scour their closets, or into fledgling new scenes that have yet to discover what they're about. Better yet, look at what the poor kids are doing, or how the urban (read: African-American) kids are dressing. Their anguish is real; so, too, must be their uses of denim.

Generation Y knows that your culture scouts are far better equipped than they are to determine what's authentic. So they watch MTV and peruse the ads in Spin to find out which culture they should emulate next. The object of the game is to get in on a scene while it's still being exploited. To get onto Total Request Live or be captured by the cameras on MTV's Spring Break. After all, if there's MTV cameras around, it *must* be cool.

For as much as they resent the way you pander to their fleeting sense of what is genuinely, authentically cool, they enjoy all the attention. It's turned into a giant feedback loop: you watch kids to find out what trend is "in," but the kids are watching you watching them in order to figure out how to act. They are exhibitionists, aware of corporate America's fascination with their every move, and delighting in your obsession with their tastes. At least to a point.

The problem with being the center of attention is that it gives them nowhere to turn, themselves. When even their parents long for the adolescent sexual utopia of the Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue or the idyllic and equally adult-less Dawson's Creek, kids have nothing left to aspire towards. None of them are experiencing anything close to the good times suggested by these brand-image universes. They are teenagers, for God's sake. It's a terrible, terrifying time. But they have been put at the very center of the universe. Marketers want to please them. Their parents want to *be* them. All eyes, and all cameras, are trained on the teen.

In most societies, teens tend to emulate adults. That's right: they yearn for the increased responsibilities and privileges that come with growing up. Until they grow up, they are on their parents' trip. It's not that children should be seen and not heard. But by turning the media and marketing realms into tributes to the teen revolution, you have cast everyone else as their enemies.

And by removing yourselves -- yes, you adults -- from the equation, you have denied your young customers the one thing they could really use from you: your adult creativity. Instead, you relegate kids to a prison of mirrors, and rationalize that you're simply meeting popular demand. You're not. Kids don't really know what they want. How could they? They're just kids. If anything, they want direction -- and connection with something greater than themselves.

Instead of dedicating your budgets to exacerbating this problem by drawing ever-tighter circles of teen research, have you considered spending it on designers, instead? Let your own studios and workshops become the locus of discovery, not some photographs on a trend-watching web site. Dare you lead, instead of follow?

Instead of identifying a trend and then mass-producing it before it has had a chance to mature into something of depth, why don't you develop some trends of your own? Spend your scouting money identifying new designers and then fostering their talents. If you simply *must* capture the vitality of youth, why not bring in kids as interns or apprentice designers? Let them learn from your best senior people, so that instead of re-inventing teen fashions every season, you build a legacy.

How can teens develop their own culture when each new idea is co-opted and sold back to them before it's had a chance to mature? I know your revenues depend on staying ahead of the curve, but that curve has come full circle. The very coolest thing in a world where nothing lasts is continuity itself. That's why 60's, 70's and 80's clothing revivals are happening with such disarming regularity. Kids are aching for something with more longevity than the current marketing cycle affords them. Don't adults have anything to offer them besides a mirror?

If you, the leaders of the design industry, are not in a position to create the defining trends of the 21st Century, then who is? Don't look to kids for all the answers. Look to yourselves.


Children As Target Audience by Krayneva Veronika


1. CHILDREN AS TARGET AUDIENCE Krayneva Veronika M-06-2


2.
Main children characteristics
Children as consumers
Perspectives of Russian children marketing


3. Children Characteristics
Children have "big" sums of money
Money - means of getting satisfaction


4.
They make choice independently
Large amounts of money are spent due to the influence of children


5.
Children's opinion plays a role when buying products
Children can introduce unfamiliar products to their parents


6.
Easy to build communication with children
Every child will become a grown-up person


7. CHILDREN AS CONSUMERS
Children usually have their own money
Children have their own scale of interests
Children are our future customers


8. Income


9. Scale of preferences
Entertaining
Food
Books and accessories
Toys
Gifts and souvenirs
Clothes
Cosmetics
Sport items
Disco clubs, cafes


10. Children are our FUTURE!


11. Russia
Parents are prepared to pay more to satisfy children's needs
Usually the price has a very little influence on demand
Family income hardly relates to the expenses for children's products


12.
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHILDREN!!!
13. Thank you for your time! Made by Veronika Krayneva


The Power Of The Connected Generation

PBS FRONTLINE Merchants of Cool Documentaries Full Length

The Technologically Enhanced Memory How will life change if we can't forget anything?

According to a recent study, memory's sharpness deteriorates earlier than we presumed: Forty-five is the new mental 60. Fortunately, there are practical ways to enhance mental agility: exercise, healthy diet, sufficient rest, learning new things. Increasingly, technology will play an important role in preserving cognitive function. From the sanctioned war on Alzheimer's to widespread off-label use of Ritalin, Adderall, and Modafinil, one thing is clear: We're intent on getting our memory enhancement on.


Ubiquitous information and communication technology is a major player in the memory enhancement game. I'm not alluding to products that target impairments, like the iPhone app for combating dementia. Rather, I mean commonplace software that people use to make recall less taxing, more extensive, or easier to visualize.


For instance, Wikipedia's anti-SOPA protest made 162 million users, accustomed to turning to the site for those idle questions that crop up every day, feel absent-minded. Nobody messed with my hippocampus or your prefrontal cortex. Rather, Wikipedia's actions were jarring because Internet use affects transactive memory, which is "the capacity to remember who knows what." If we know information is available online, we're inclined to remember where it can be found, rather than struggle to retain the facts. This evolutionary tendency to off-load taxing aspects of cognition into the environment—natural or built—extends beyond using devices to recall information we're already familiar with.


This is called "extended cognition," and it plays a crucial role in a controversial view called the "extended mind" thesis. Advocates argue that data-management technologies, from low-tech pads to high-tech computers, don't always function as mere memory-prompting tools. Sometimes, they deserve to be understood as parts of our mind.


While controversy doesn't surround the science of transactive memory, its implications are hotly debated. Philosopher of science Ronald Giere rejects the extended mind view to avoid conceptual and ethical problems. Others express concern about our ability to use technology responsibly. Nicholas Carr, author of "Is Google Making Us Stupid?", calls research into technology's effects on transactive memory "disquieting." In All Things Shining, renowned artificial intelligence critic Hubert Dreyfus and Harvard University's Sean Kelly depict reliance on GPS navigation as so acidic to skill and meaning that it "flattens out human life." Historian Edward Tenner suggests "access to electronic memory tends to give us an exaggerated view of our knowledge and skills." Such ongoing debate signals an important cultural shift, one we're all struggling to come to terms with.


Until recently, memory problems indicated a deficiency in personal character, a shortage of "ethics or humanity." This outlook was a sign of the times: Informational scarcity fueled an ethos of individualism. Today, advances in technology and technique enable vast quantities of networked information to be stored and retrieved cheaply, simply, and reliably. Information abundance fuels its own ethos where interdependency and mediation take center stage. Go to a party and brag about your ability to recall contact information. Nobody will toast your commitment to swimming against the tide of memory depletion. Instead, folks will tell you and your antiquated sensibilities to get a life and a smartphone.


Transhumanists like George Dvorsky are holding out for perfect memories, or total recall: "Count me in for when perfect memory finally becomes medically possible," he has written. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but this sounds terrible. The ability to forget allows us to forgive ("time heals all wounds") as the pain of memories fades. It also allows us to make difficult, but important life-altering decisions. Ethicist Justin Weinberg suggests perfect recall of the pain of childbirth and the tortures of new-parent sleep deprivation could impact reproduction. More than a century ago, Nietzsche speculated that active forgetting is the key to living a life unencumbered by resentment. Today, scientists concur. Memory is seen as a creative "means for endlessly rewriting the self."


Luckily for me (but not Dvorsky), perfect recollection isn't close to being feasible. Drugs and surgery aren't there yet, nor are digital means. Michigan State's Lawrence Busch argues that data storage technology is more advanced than data-cataloging tools:


Large-scale data sets commonly stored on computers present many of the same problems as memory-enhancing technologies. First, data often are drawn from highly biased samples containing numerous errors; a few outliers may skew interpretation of the entire data set. Second, data-mining programs often don't live up to the hype. They fail to detect subtle differences and identify the proper features of salience.


Perhaps, though, incremental advances in "key phrase search capabilities" are all it takes to dramatically enhance our recall powers.


The Generation That is Connected Through The Computer And The Internet...The benefits of having a strong brand connection with Gen C extend far beyond just the individual: the connected generation creates network effects that would make any marketer salivate. When Gen C’ers finds content they like online, 90% of them say



The Exploitation And Expropriation Of The Money Of The Youth And their Parents
The spend their days sifting through reams of market research. they conduct endless surveys and focus groups. they comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the "next big thing" that will snare the attention of their prey-a market segment worth an estimated $150 billion a year. they are the me chants of cool: creators and sellers of popular culture who have made teenagers they hottest consumer demographic in America, and the World. But they are simply refuting teen desires or have they begum to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the heart-and wallets-of America's youth?


The program below talks with top marketers, media executives and cultural/media critics, and explores the symbolic relationship between the media and today's teens, as each looks to the other for their identity.


Teenagers are the hottest consumer demographic in America. 33 million strong, they comprise the largest generation of tees America has ever seen-larger than the much-ballyhooed Baby Boom Generation. Last year America's teens spent $100 billion, while influencing their parents' spending to the tune of another $50 billion.


Big corporation are investing in the Web through use of commercial and trading/exchanging information. The were foresighted in recognizing the market and the purses of the youth. This has given they youth more buying power and their purchases are a billion dollar industry with the collective deep pockets of the youth to make business on. Some people wonder if this is ethical; well, the researchers point out to the fact that they need to know more concretely what the youth want, and that this will help with the selling of their products to the youth more efficiently and with constant upgrades. It seems the jury is still out on this issue.


Douglas Rushkoff, "Present Shock"

Here's To Hoping Man Humanizes Technolgy
Man is born as a freak of nature, being within nature and yet transcending it. He has to find principles of action and decision-making which replace the principles of instincts. He has to have a frame of orientation which permits him to organize a consistent picture of the world as a condition for consistent actions. He has to fight not only against the dangers of dying, starving, and being hurt, but also against another danger which is specifically human: that of becoming insane. In other words, he has to protect himself not only against the danger of losing his life but also against the danger of losing his mind.


The Revolution of Hope: Toward a Humanized Technology.


I will cite front he Works of Eric Fromm, et al., to elucidate the point of how we can humanize technology. Fromm writes:


"A specter is stalking in our midst whom only a few see with clarity. It is not the ghost of 'communism' or 'fascism'. It is a new specter: a completely mechanized society, devoted to maximal material output and consumption, directed by computers; and in this social process, man himself is being transformed into a part of the total machine, well-fed and entertained, yet passive, unalive, and with little feeling. With the victory of the new society, individualism and privacy will have disappeared; feeling towards others will be engineered by psychological conditioning and other devices, or drugs which also serve a new kind of introspective experience. ...


"In the Technetronic society, the trend would seem to be towards the aggregation of the individual support of millions of uncoordinated citizens, easily within the reach of magnetic and attractive personalities to manipulate emotions and control reason.


"Perhaps its most ominous aspect at present is that we seem to lose control over our own system. We execute the decisions which our computer calculations make for us. We as human beings, have no aims except producing and consuming more. We will noting, nor do we not not-will anything. We are threatened with extinction by nuclear weapons and with inner deadness by the passiveness which our exclusion from responsible decision-making engenders."(Eric Fromm)...


Jacque Ellul describes with great force the new society which we are approaching and its destructive influence on man. His conclusion is not that the new society is bound to win. But he sees a possibility that the dehumanized society may not be the victor "if an increasing number of people become fully aware of the threat the technological world poses to ma's personal and spectral life, and if they determine to assert their freedom by upsetting the course of this evolution."


Lewis Mumford's position may be considered similar to that of Ellul. Mumford describes the "megamachine" starting with its first manifestation in Egyptian and Babylonian societies. But in contrast to those who, like the previously mentioned authors, recognize the specter with either sympathy or horror are the majority of men, those at the top of the establishment and the average citizen, who do not see the specter.


They have the old-fashioned belief of the 19th century that the machine will help lighten man's burden, that it will remain a means of an end, and they do not see the danger that if technology is permitted to follow it won logic, it will become a cancer-like growth, eventually threatening the structured system of individual and social life.(Mumford)


Man Centered Techne..


It is important at this time to recall what Biko had to say about our African culture being a Modern African Culture, here in Mzantsi, is that it is "Man-Centered" Society And Culture.


Biko intones:


"One of the most difficult things to do these days is to talk with authority on anything to do with African culture. Somehow, Africans are not expected to have any deep understanding of their own culture or even of themselves "Other people have a better understanding of African life.

"In my opinion, it is not necessary to talk with Africans about African culture. However, in the light of the above statements, one realizes that there is so much confusion sown, not only amongst Africans themselves, that perhaps a sincere attempt should be made at emphasizing the authentic cultural aspects of the African people themselves."

"One of the most fundamental aspects of our culture is that importance we attach to Man. Ours has always been a Man'Centered society. Westerners have in many occasions been surprised at the capacity we have fr talking to each other - not for the sake of arriving at a particular conclusion, but merely to enjoy communication for its own sake. Intimacy is a term not exclusive for particular friends, but applying to the whole group of people who find themselves together either through work or through residential requirement, [etc].

"A visitor to someone's house, with the exception of friends, is always met with the question, "What can I do for you?" This attitude to see people not as themselves but as agents for some particular function either to one's disadvantage or advantage is foreign to us.

"We are not a suspicious race. We believe in the inherent goodness of man. We enjoy man for himself. We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us, but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer answer to the varied problems of life.

"Hence in all, we always place Man First'; and hence all our action is usually joint community orientated action, rather than the individualism which the the hallmark of the capitalist approach. We always refrain from using people as stepping-stones. Instead, we are prepared to ave a much slower progress in an effort to make sure that all of us are marching to the same tune.

This then leads us to Fromm who writes:


"The present social system can be understood a great deal better if one connects the system "Man" with the whole system," writes Fromm. "Human nature is not an abstraction nor infinitely malleable and hence dynamically negligible system.. The study of the system Man permits us to see why certain factors in the socioeconomic system do to man, how disturbances in the system Man produce imbalances in the whole social system.


"By introducing the human factor into the analysis of the whole system, we are better prepared to understand its dysfunctioning of the whole social system to the optimum well-being of the people who participate in it. All this is valid, of course, only if there is agreement that maximal development of the human system in terms of its own structure-that is to say, human well-being-is the overriding goal..


"The increasing dissatisfaction with our present way of life. its passiveness and silent boredom. its lack of privacy and its depersonalization, and the longing for a joyful, meaningful existence, which answers those specific needs of man which he has developed in the last few thousand years of history and which make him different from the animal as well as the computer.


"This tendency is all the stronger because the affluent part of the population has already tasted full material satisfaction and has found out that the consumer's paradise does not deliver the happiness it promised.(The poor, of course, have not yet had a chance to find out, except by watching the lack of joy of those who "have everything a man could want).


It is interesting to note that Biko tried to tell us about this very thing, and he did this by describing the nature/function of our culture, so that, lest we forget, we should come back to his words. From how our culture functions, it will be better to really break it down. Biko writes:


"One of the most fundamental aspects of our culture is that importance we attach to Man. Ours has always been a Man'Centered society. Westerners have in many occasions been surprised at the capacity we have fr talking to each other - not for the sake of arriving at a particular conclusion, but merely to enjoy communication for its won sake. Intimacy is a term not exclusive for particular friends, but applying to the whole group of people who find themselves together either through work or through residential requirement, [etc].


"A visitor to someone's house, with the exception of friends, is always met with the question, "What can I do for you?" This attitude to see people not as themselves but as agents for some particular function either to one's disadvantage or advantage is foreign to us.


"We are not a suspicious race. We believe in the inherent goodness of man. We enjoy man for himself. We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us, but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer answer to the varied problems of life.


"Hence in all, we always place Man First; and hence all our action is usually joint community orientated action, rather than the individualism which the the hallmark of the capitalist approach. We always refrain from using people as stepping-stones. Instead, we are prepared to ave a much slower progress in an effort to make sure that all of us are marching to the same tune.


For whatever it is worth, What Biko said was a key to our dealing with the present-day technologies through our "Man Centered" cultures. Fromm advocates for man to be at the center of the technologies and their techniques/gizmos. Many of us may have all the accourtements of their present-day life-styles.. But with the armies of the poor just beneath one's chin, it is going to be difficult to have a happy people and Nation Some might say that the rest have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.. In reality, that is a guilt plea from those who acquired tees wealth illegally and wrongfully.

What I am saying is that we need to begin to understand that within our own African cultures,there's more that runs and jives in tandem with the present-day technologies. What Biko was saying is that we are a Modern African Culture that is Man-Centered. The emergence and usage of present-day technologies need to be made to Man, and this is the core our indigenous culture -- It is well-made and suitable to the present-day Social media. Our culture fits like a hand in glove with contemporary technologic and its techniques/gizmos.

If we begin to interrogate and explore our own African indigenous culture, we are going to find what that Man-Centeredness is all about in our culture and in the modern technology and its machines. We are still mired within the notions that we are not in a position to change the course of our Technological societies; yet, we still hold on to hope that it will at least fulfill most of our hopes. That will be the discussion of another time and topic of the hope we have invested into pour present-day technologies and the machines that enable us and them to connect or disconnect..

Our man-centered African culture is in sync with a man-centered technological technique...


Keynote: Douglas Rushkoff on When Change is Always On

Our man-centered African culture is in sync with a man-centered technological technique...
What do I mean by the reading above? I have just cited Biko above, and he gave us a reminder that our African here in Mzantsi is Man-Centered. What does that mean and have to do with Technology. well, I cited a few Media Ecologists to support my point. Now, I will like to take time and say something about African Culture. We learn from Wilson that:


"Social power is situated in that it is embedded in a broader social network or a social field. 'Social power' is generated by the 'social alignment' or "relative positioning" of individuals within the groups, and the alignment and position of groups vis-a-vis each other within large social organizations, societies, cultures, a nations and various coalitions or alliances, in order to achieve mutually desired ends.


"One of the mod important contexts to generate and exercise social power is that of 'culture'. A culture is a type of "power system" which includes all of its members and the various groups and institutions which constitute it. A society or culture as a power system may be subdivided into a number of small and smaller power systems nested within, or organically related to, one another.


"The overall power of a culture or society operationally emerges from these smaller power systems which may include familial, kinship, communal, regional, and other types of social and institutional organizations.


Culture is man's adaptive dimension. "Man alone among the forms of animated nature is the creature that has moved into an adaptive zone which is an entirely learned one. This is the zone of culture, the man-made, the learned, part of our environment (Ashley Montague).


"If societies are to survive, they must minimally satisfy certain biological, psychological and social needs of their members. they must successfully counter those forces of nature and man which threaten their well-being and their very biological survival. Culture is the social-institutional instrument which is crucial for facilitating people's adaptation to the complexities of their world. Therefore, its functional structure, cohesiveness, reliance, flexibility, responsivity to reality, evolutionary growth and development, or the relative lack thereof, to a very significant, determine the longevity and quality of life. Culture is learned and is the result of historically and conceptually created designs and patterns for living with an relating to others and the Cosmos."


If societies today are technologized, and we come to these gizmos and techniques with a full grasp and awareness of our own culture, we are then in a position to apply our cultural gig onto whatever we endeavor to undertake. If we "understand that culture is a social machine, a power grid or system. so that, as a holistic system it is composed of a number of sub-systems, power systems in their own right. It is a system of sisal relations, hierarchical in structure, where different members exercise different privileges, prerogatives and different levels of authority.


[So], the family is a primary organization, a fundamental generator or source of power where the human and non-human capital resources of its members are pooled and shared as means of achieving its goals. These goals include sexual reproduction, socialization of its children, securing a common habitation, providing protection and affectional relations amongst its members, maintaining and enhancing the social status of its members and providing for their economic well-being.


"... Thus, there is an important continuity between the nature of power, its quantity and organization within the family, and its physical and social environment including other families and institutions which together constitute a larger system such as a clan, nation or culture."


If we partly understand what Wilson is saying, and recognize all of our culture in what he is describing, then, the Media Gurus above are talking to a culture that already has such means and ways of humanizing the culture of technological media and its gizmos. If we begin to work as a collective and pool our cultural resources as an African Nation, we can at least begin to see some healing and normalcy become the mores and norms of our beleaguered society/African people. The technological society of Ellul, is what we can use in our Modern African culture. Culture is a power-grid and social machine that we can utilize to to marry our culture as is to the new and emerging theological techniques and their embedding/arresting machinery.


Image and Reality in America with Bill Moyers, The Truth About Lies - Part 1

Merging And Extending African Man-Centered Culture With A More Humanized Technological Environ, Techniques and constantly Evolving Gizmos
We learn more about the Media from Rushkoff:


Something is going on in media all its own that reflects less on the particular events being reported than it does on the nature of our cultural preoccupations and the ways in which we process them. Media is saying something in the way it finds its stories, churns them out, swallows them again, predigests them, and spits them out once again. This is more than a simple cultural bulimia. This is a complex but, on some level, effective form of mass catharsis and self observation that our society employs to monitor and then modify itself.


"Most social theorists still consider the media a dung heap of cultural waste.
They believe that the media, having nothing better to do, lee;s chewing on the same predigested matter. There's so much time to fill on so many stations and only a few real stories to tell. This is a simplistic view of media shared mostly by philosophers who grew up before television.


"They view media and even technology, for that matter, as somehow outside the realm of the natural. To them,media can only display or comment on something real. They cannot acknowledge that the media is something real itself-something that exists on its own and that might have its own needs and agendas.


"Even forward thinkers like Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan insisted in "Understanding The Media"(1964) that every media extension of Man is akin to a biological 'amputation'. This older generation of theorists even objects to the word "media" being used as a singular noun. The Media, to these people, are merely the channels through which we communicate: TV, print, bumper stickers, telegraph, telephone. We are to see this Media as a set of artificial technologies that mediate and ultimately compromise human interaction.


"But those who grew up after the development of the data sphere see the media very differently. More than a set of tools, the Media is an entity unit itself that must be reckoned with on its own terms. The initiators of media viruses depend on a very optimistic vision of how the Web of Media nodes can serve to foster new cultural growth. Rather than stunting our natural development by amputating our limbs and numbing our senses, the media can accelerate evolution."


So according to Rushkoff, there are two distinct generations in the evolving and changing media dissemination and gadgets. What I think I see from his point of view, is that, there are the analogue generation who have been taken by surprise by the new Media Virus Digital generations. In his new works, This is the generation that Rushkoff calls the "Cool" generations, which he points out that they have been exploited by the the merchants of the cool. the older analog generation, who today are the fathers and grandfathers of these children, have their measly pent ions siphoned and fleeced by the "Merchants of the Cool(or Public Relations Experts).


My thing above was to relay an important aspect of this struggle to humanize technological technique and its gizmos, by explaining and demonstrating that our African Culture has been and is still a "Man-Centered" Culture. Many experts, I have cited above, they too point out to the fact that our present day electronically Technologized Society, we can merge our culture with the contemporary Techne, and i so doing extend ourselves and our culture from the present future into a future that we can determine and at the same time control and use this Zeitgeist to our own ends, as we see fit.


Image and Reality in America with Bill Moyers, The Truth About Lies - Part 2

Towards a Technopoly Of the Masses
Furthermore, It is important to take a look at this corporate media power and how it manages its affairs, world-wide; According to McChesney:


"What has been lost in the past two generations is a brand of American Conservatism that,,whatever its limitations, was far more humane and sympathetic to liberal values, individual rights, and democracy. In the 1930s, for example, a group of American Conservatives published an alternative vision for the United States to be contrasted with the Liberal New Deal.


"This was Conservatism with a neo-Jeffersonian vision of a decentralized America, where concentrated corporate power was a threat to the individual and to communities, as were large government. How unthinkable such notions are to today's conservative leaders, who 'fawn before mammoth' and incapable of imagining the world, from the vantage point of the dispossessed.


"Corporate Media system, in conjunction with the broader trappings of a modern capitalist society, necessarily generate a depoliticized society, one where the vast majority logically put little time or interest into social or political affairs. By this reasoning, the prospects for the political left, which depend on an involved citizenry, are reduced to the point of elimination. The capitalist utopia, much celebrated by Francis Fukuyama as the "end of history," becomes the democrat's or socialist's dystopia. Some on the left, too, have accepted this "neo liberal" logic as virtually irreversible, and have written off the prospects of a cable left for the foreseeable future and beyond. In the final analysis, Presented to sun today, is the corporate media explosion and the corresponding implosion of public life, the rich media/poor democracy paradox.


The dispossessed, those living within 'poor democracies, are subjected to so many nefarious dal, which they do not even know about, between their governments and these Media and governmental corporation who control and own everything that is the product of their rich media. These so-called Third Word Democratic and economical depended poor democracies, are said to follow the kind of democracy found in the rich countries.


The world is changing rapidly and those who make decisions, in most cases, elected leaders and corporate moguls and government parastatals, and local investors, make decisions on behalf of the armies of the unemployed, and this finally benefits those within the Gravy Train-Status Quo-they want to hold on to and control the reigns of power. the expo it and apply/use the the various forms of the media to make sure that everyone accepts the privileges they have, and these should be regarded as "natural" and "immutable." It is therefore import an that those then who call themselves democrats, or democratic intellectuals, to rip the veil off this power, and to work so that social decision-making, int the Age of Technopoly, be made humanly possibly with enlightenment a very assertively egalitarianism as possible.


Noam Chomsky - Current Problems in the Study of Language and Mind

Technology Of The Oppressed: Literacy As A Means Of Raising Cosnciousness
Knowledge and awareness of being literate about the media is but one step towards being consciously literate. There are many more steps. It would seem that conscious awareness of the media environment is a prerequisite to understanding the media/communications. Paulo Freire states:


It is interesting to observe that, for the idealistic, non dialectical comprehension of the relationship between awareness and world, one can still speak of conscientizacao as an instrument for changing the world, provided this change be realize only in the interiority of awareness, with the world itself left untouched. thus, conscientizacao would produce nothing but verbiage.


From the viewpoint of a mechanistic dogmatism, there is no point in speaking of conscientizacao at all. Hence the dogmatic, authoritarian leaderships have no reason to engage in dialogue with the popular classes. They need only tell them what they should do. Mechanistically or idealistically, it is impossible to understand what occurs in the relations prevailing between oppressors and oppressed, whether as individuals or as social class."


So that the discourse above is brought forth into the Y2K era by McChesney who writes:


"Our era rests upon a massive paradox. On one hand, it is an age of dazzling breakthroughs in communication and information technologies. Communication is so intertwined ith the economy and culture that our times have been dubbed the Information Age. sitting high atop this golden web are a handful of enormous Media firms - exceeding by a factor of 10 the size of the largest media firms of fifteen years earlier - that have established global empires and generated massive riches providing news and entertainment to the peoples of the world.


The rise of the Internet has only accentuated the trend. although some research suggests that the Internet is replacing some of the time people have spent with other media, other research suggests its more important effect is simply to expand the role of media in people's lives. People are simply spending more time with media, and they don't appear to have dropped one medium to have picked up another.


Douglas Rushkoff on Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now


McChesney writes:


"Behind the lustrous glow of new technologies and electronic jargon, the media system has become increasingly concentrated and conglomerate into a relative handful of corporate hands. This concentration accentuates the core tendencies of a profit-driven, advertising-supported media system: hyper commercialism and denigration of journalism and public service.


"Nor is the decline of democracy in the face of this boom in media wealth contradiction.. The media system is linked ever more loosely to the capitalist system, both through ownership and through its reliance upon advertising, a function dominated by the largest firms in the economy. Capitalism benefits from having a formally democratic system, but capitalism works best when elite make most fundamental decisions and the bulk of the population is depoliticized.


"The media/democracy paradox has two components. First, it is a poetical crisis. Meaning that it has two sense. On the one hand, the nature of our corporate commercial media system has dire implications for our politics and broader culture.On the other hand, the very issue of 'who' controls the media system and for what purposes is not a part of contemporary political debate


"Instead, there is the presupposition that a profit-seeking, commercial media system is fundamentally sound, and that most problems can be resolved for the most part through less state interference or regulation, which(theoretically) will produce the magic elixir of competition.


The second component of the media/democracy paradox concerns media ideology, in particular the flawed and self-serving manner in which corporate media officers and their supporters use history. The nature of our corporate media system and the lack of democratic debate over the nature of our media system are often defended on the following grounds: that communication markets force media firms to "give the people what they want(Just like the Present-day Public Relations professionals who are focusing on the kids, because they "want to give them what they want").


"In view of the extraordinary importance of media and communication in our society, like in looking at the subject of how the media are controlled, structured, and subsidized, this should be at the center of any democratic debate. Instead, this subject is nowhere to be found. this is not an accident; it reflects above all the economic, political, and ideological power of the media corporations and their allies. And it has made the prospect of challenging corporate media power, and of democratizing communication, all the more daunting.


We should also recall that the nature of our corporate media system and the lack of democratic debate over the nature of our media system are often emended on the following grounds: that communication markets force media firms to give the people what they want; that commercial media are the innate democratic and "American" system; that professionalism in journalism is democratic, and protects the public from nefarious influences on the news; that n new communication technologies are inherently democratic since they undermine the existing power of commercial medial; and, perhaps most important, that the First Amendment to the US Constitution authorizes that corporation and advertisers rule U.S. media without interference.


"These are generally presented as truisms, and nearly always history is invoked to provide evidence of each of these claims n combination these claims have considerable sway in the United states, even among those who are critical of the social order otherwise. It is because of the overall capacity of these myths, which are either lies or half-truths, to strip citizens of their ability to comprehend their own situation and govern their own lives that we observe are existing in 'dubious' times.


It is these times that are talked about, today, by Douglass Rushkoff in the video below.


Douglas Rushkoff - Program or Be Programmed

Technological/Media Determinism..
Technological Autonomy


Daniel Chandler wrote the following article to inform us that:


Closely associated with reification is another feature of technological determinism whereby technology is presented as autonomous (or sometimes 'semi-autonomous'): it is seen as a largely external - 'outside' of society, 'supra-social' or 'exogenous' (as opposed to 'endogenous'). Rather than as a product of society and an integral part of it, technology is presented as an independent, self-controlling, self-determining, self-generating, self-propelling, self-perpetuating and self-expanding force. It is seen as out of human control, changing under its own momentum and 'blindly' shaping society. This perspective may owe something to the apparent autonomy of mechanisms such as clockwork. But even texts are autonomous of their authors once they leave their hands: as published works they are subject to interpretation by readers, and beyond the direct control of their authors.


Isaac Asimov suggested that

The whole trend in technology has been to devise machines that are less and less under direct control and more and more seem to have the beginning of a will of their own. A chipped pebble is almost part of the hand it never leaves. A thrown spear declares a sort of independence the moment it is released.
The clear progression away from direct and immediate control made it possible for human beings, even in primitive times, to slide forward into extrapolation, and to picture devices still less controllable, still more independent than anything of which they had direct experience.


(Asimov 1981, p. 130)

The sense that technology may be out of control is also influenced by the way in which technical developments can lead to unforeseen 'side-effects'.
The most famous theorist adopting this perspective was the sociologist Jacques Ellul in his bookThe Technological Society. Ellul declared that 'Technique has become autonomous; it has fashioned an omnivorous world which obeys its own laws and which has renounced all tradition' (Ellul 1964 p. 14). He presented complex interdependent technological systems as being shaped by technology itself rather than by society.


Other adherents to the doctrine of technological autonomy have included Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Thoreau, Mark Twain, Henry Adams, John Ruskin, William Morris, George Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut (Winner 1977, p. 19). Significantly, 'autonomy' is a key concept in Western liberalism: autonomous individuals are capable of directing and governing their own behaviour. But even in the context of this political ideal for the individual, autonomy is always limited by social conditions and circumstances. Indeed, the notion of an individual as 'a law unto himself' is a nightmare.


Ellul declared that 'there can be no human autonomy in the face of technical autonomy' (Ellul 1964, p. 138). He insisted that technological autonomy reduces the human being to 'a slug inserted into a slot machine' (p. 135). Critics of the notion of technological autonomy argue that technology is itself shaped by society and is subject to human control.


Neil Postman links the notion of technological autonomy closely with the notion that 'a method for doing something becomes the reason for doing it' (Postman 1979, p. 91). Referring to standardized human behaviour and to what he calls the 'invisible technology' of language as well as to machines, Postman argues that 'Technique, like any other technology, tends to function independently of the system it serves. It becomes autonomous, in the manner of a robot that no longer obeys its master' (Postman 1993, p. 142).


Elsewhere he defines 'The Frankenstein Syndrome: One creates a machine for a particular and limited purpose. But once the machine is built, we discover, always to our surprise - that it has ideas of its own; that it is quite capable not only of changing our habits but... of changing our habits of mind' (Postman 1983, p. 23). Although Postman denies that that 'the effects of technology' are always inevitable, he insists that they are 'always unpredictable' (Postman 1983, p. 24).


Technology which no-one seems to control seems to have 'a will of its own'. This stance involvesanthropomorphism or technological animism in its crediting of an inanimate entity with the consciousness and will of living beings. Technologies are seen as having 'purposes' of their own rather than purely technical functions. Sometimes the implication is that purposiveness arises in a device from the whole being greater than the sum of the parts which were humanly designed: unplanned, a 'ghost in the machine' emerges.


The notion that technological developments arise to 'fill needs' is reflected in the myth that 'necessity is the mother of invention'. It presents technology as a benevolent servant of the human species. But as Carroll Purcell puts it, 'many modern "needs" are themselves inventions, the product of an economy that stimulates consumption so that it can make and market things for a profit' (Purcell 1994, p. 40).


The notion of technology having its own purposes is widespread. Ralph Waldo Emerson (d. 1882) declared that: 'Things are in the saddle,/ And ride mankind' ('Ode, inscribed to W. H. Channing'). Marshall McLuhan asserted that 'in... any social action, the means employed discover their own goals', adding that 'new goals [are] contained in... new means' (McLuhan & Watson 1970, p. 202).


Animistic accounts are particularly applied to the complex technologies, and to reifications of technology as an interdependent 'system'. Some authors may indulge in deliberate ambiguity about animism as an evasion of commitment. But people commonly refer to particular machines or tools in their daily lives as having 'personalities'.


Technological animism was the basis for a philosophy called 'resistentialism'. Its leading figure, Pierre-Marie Ventre, declared that 'Les choses sont contre nous': Things are against us. One resistentialist commentator summarizes the Clark-Trimble experiments of 1935:

Clark-Trimble was not primarily a physicist, and his great discovery of the Graduated Hostility of Things was made almost accidentally. During some research into the relation between periods of the day and human bad temper, Clark-Trimble, a leading Cambridge psychologist, came to the conclusion that low human dynamics in the early morning could not sufficiently explain the apparent hostility of Things at the breakfast table - the way honey gets between the fingers, the unfoldability of newspapers, etc. In the experiments which finally confirmed him in this view, and which he demonstrated before the Royal Society in London, Clark-Trimble arranged four hundred pieces of carpet in ascending degrees of quality, from coarse matting to priceless Chinese silk. Pieces of toast and marmalade, graded, weighed and measured, were then dropped on each piece of carpet, and the marmalade-downwards incidence was statistically analyzed. The toast fell right-side-up every time on the cheap carpet, except when the cheap carpet was screened from the rest (in which case the toast didn't know that Clark-Trimble had other and better carpets), and it fell marmalade-downwards every time on the Chinese silk. Most remarkable of all, the marmalade-downwards incidence for the intermediate grades was found to vary
exactly

with the quality of carpet. The success of these experiments naturally switched Clark- Trimble's attention to further research on
resistentia,

a fact which was directly responsible for the tragic and sudden end to his career when he trod on a garden rake at the Cambridge School of Agronomy.
(Jennings 1960, p. 396)


Resistentialism was actually dreamt up by the humourist Paul Jennings in 1948, but it is one of those schools of thought which ought to exist, and which in our most technologically frustrating moments we devoutly believe to be true. For some light relief, I recommend the whole of Paul Jennings' account of this fake European philosophy, which can be found in Dwight Macdonald's book, Parodies.


It is such a philosophy which advises us not to let the photocopier know how urgent your task is, because this is a sure recipe for breakdown. Here is an anonymous but official-looking notice I once saw displayed above a photocopier:

WARNING! This machine is subject to breakdowns during periods of critical need. A special circuit in the machine called a 'critical detector' senses the operator's emotional state, in terms of how desperate he or she is to use the machine. The 'critical detector' then creates a malfunction proportional to the desperation of the operator. Threatening the machine with violence only aggravates the situation. Likewise, attempts to use another machine may cause it also to malfunction. They belong to the same union. Keep cool and say nice things to the machine. Nothing else seems to work. Never let any machine know you are in a hurry.
For many of us, despite its satirical dimension, that notion expresses an experiential truth: emotionally, we are all capable of technological animism.


For some more serious theorists technology (or technique) is presented as an autonomous force but not as a conscious being with 'a will of its own'. For such theorists technological autonomy may refer primarily to the ways in which a technology apparently under control for the purpose for which it is used can have unpredictable and cumulative knock-on influences on the use of and 'need' for other technologies. Such 'repercussions' are not direct and immediate consequences.


One commentator, W. E. Moore, has suggested that 'a more tenable formulation' than the complete autonomy of technology may be that technology is 'a segment of culture more subject to change than other aspects of culture, and therefore possibly of causal significance in social change', adding that 'under certain conditions this is likely to be correct' (in Potter & Sarre 1974, p. 484).


The idea of Technology as itself autonomous is sometimes criticized as 'mystification' (e.g. Benthall 1976, p. 159, re. Ellul). The assumption of technological autonomy can disempower us politically by suggesting that technology is mysterious and inexplicable. The computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum notes that 'today even the most highly placed managers represent themselves as innocent victims of a technology for which they accept no responsibility and which they do not even pretend to understand' (1976, p. 241).


A serious concern of the critics of technological determinism is that a belief in the autonomy of technology may deter those who feel helpless from intervening in technological development. The stance of technological autonomy could then be seen as something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Seymour Melman argues that 'the machine mystics - if taken seriously - leave us feeling helpless, deficient in understanding, and without a guide to how to get anything done. This is the main social function of this literature. Therein lies its thrust as a status-quo conserving body of thought' (1972, p. 60).


We are also encouraged to trust the supposedly neutral judgement of technical specialists and 'experts'. Our role as responsible forward-looking citizens is to accept, adjust and adapt without protest to the new technology as a fact of life. As Raymond Williams puts it, 'if technology is a cause, we can at best modify or seek to control its effects' (1990, p. 10). We are not free to accept or reject technological developments.


Futurologists such as Alvin Toffler declare that 'rather than lashing out, Luddite fashion, against the machine, those who genuinely wish to break the prison hold of the past could do well to hasten the... arrival of tomorrow's technologies [because] it is precisely the super-industrial society, the most advanced technological society ever, that extends the range of freedom' (Toffler 1980, cited in Robins & Webster 1989, p. 14-15). Margaret Thatcher insisted in 1982 that 'Information Technology is friendly: it offers a helping hand; it should be embraced. We should think of it more like E.T. than I.T.' (Robins & Webster 1989, p. 25). It is hardly surprising that the stance of technological autonomy is sometimes associated with fascism.


It has been suggested that 'the major issue at stake is the degree of relative autonomy of particular phenomena, whereby autonomy is confined within certain limits or structures' (O'Sullivan et al. 1983, p. 17).


Marshall Mcluhan Full lecture: The medium is the message - 1977 part 1 v 3

Norman Mailer and Marshall McLuhan Debating 1968

Beginning To Understand The Media
After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding" (McLuhan 3).[ ][























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































If the modernization will go beyond this, I can really say that technology can dehumanize the society. But for me, technology will not really cause dehumanization. We should not blame it to technologies, rather to those people who depend very much to technology; that even in the very simple job, they need a technology for them to work for it.

"Dehumanization has multiple meanings. It can be looking at a person or group of people as being less than human. Dehumanization can also occur through physical or mental means that causes a person to be stripped of their individuality and lose their self-esteem." website Technology makes our lives easy. We can find information with just a click. For me, technology can't dehumanize society, not even our homes. Technology contributes much to the improvement of the teaching-learning process and to the humanization of life. They say that technology is a blessing and yes, indeed. It serves us very much in a way that we can talk to others abroad, gives immediate information we needed, and maybe technology can give food for us. Computers, phones and other gadgets are very useful for our progress. When we say that it can dehumanize our society including our homes, we say that we are not practical persons. Dehumanizing us by the technology depends on us. Technology, when not properly used, becomes a detriment to instruction and human progress and development. (Corpuz & Lucido, 2008). Honestly, in my perspective, technology can't dehumanize us unless we will let technology manipulate our lives.

"Dehumanization has multiple meanings. It can be looking at a person or group of people as being less than human. Dehumanization can also occur through physical or mental means that causes a person to be stripped of their individuality and lose their self-esteem." website Technology makes our lives easy. We can find information with just a click. For me, technology can't dehumanize society, not even our homes. Technology contributes much to the improvement of the teaching-learning process and to the humanization of life. They say that technology is a blessing and yes, indeed. It serves us very much in a way that we can talk to others abroad, gives immediate information we needed, and maybe technology can give food for us. Computers, phones and other gadgets are very useful for our progress. When we say that it can dehumanize our society including our homes, we say that we are not practical persons. Dehumanizing us by the technology depends on us. Technology, when not properly used, becomes a detriment to instruction and human progress and development. (Corpuz & Lucido, 2008). Honestly, in my perspective, technology can't dehumanize us unless we will let technology manipulate our lives.

Technology can dehumanize our society including our school/s.Its because in the advancement and modernization of things which to be manipulated by the people(gadgets etc.), life has to be somehow be convenient and easier but we should also look on the side that technology can remove skills and qualities of people in dealing with things around them and they won't find any alternatives or options if technology is always present. For instance, in school/s, particularly in a classroom setting, if all of the students have their own personal computers, they will rely and be much independent through visiting websites that could provide answers on their research given by their teacher, the negative result of this is that, yes, they surely easily access information by just clicking one at a time but the traditional way of finding and acquiring information from books(more accurate information than those of the websites) or any reading materials that could somehow develop their reading skills is already gone. Indolence and laziness may occur also.
The negative result of technology is that people will just have to sit all day long and will have to be dependent on technology. As i've heard also, some people are just infront of their laptops having this"online schooling" and if you could accomplish the length of time needed, you'll be having/ given a diploma . For me, of course it isn't bad but the essence of formal schooling(attending school. being evaluated and monitored by a mentor is already gone).Despite of all the advancement of technology, we became a society of indolent people relying so much on it.

Dehumanization is the process of stripping away human qualities, such as denying others their individuality and self-esteem. With the rapid increase in medical technology many basic human qualities surrounding the care of the dying have been lost. Dehumanization is like a form of self-death that now often precedes physiological death owing to the institutionalization of the dying.

Dehumanization is the act of degrading people with respect to other best qualities. so, it is very obvious that Yes, technology dehumanize our society including our home. Since technology is under science and it is said that science is been blamed for the humanization of the modern life, the reason is that as you noticed nowadays,almost of people are been dependent to technology which create an obstruction to our home for instance, instead of us to work it,it is technology who is manipulating the task. even its have a big help. its make us lazy to think and in work.
In addition,this question was posed to a member of my Tech Club group by her 5th grade AIG students. It's a great question and something for 5th graders to certainly think about as they look toward their future of high tech gadgets. I suspect that most people who are involved in Facebook, Twitter, on-line gaming, chat rooms, and the like, already experience a certain detachment to the "humans" they associate with on these networks.
But how does this technologically dehumanizing effect affect literacy? In my mind's eye I see a little boy all curled up with mom in a dimly lit bedroom eagerly awaiting his "night-night" story. They're snuggled together as she reads his favorite bedtime story, "Bony Legs." It's just scary enough for him to need the comfort and reality of mom's closeness. She creates the characters with the intonation and inflection of her voice. The little boy can feel the suspense of the story and yet the safety of his mom's presence. Because she's read this story with him so many times, he is able to fill in some of the words as mom hesitates in order to allow him a chance to interact with the story. This is an interactive human experience.
By contrast, I see another little boy going to his bedroom for the night. His bed time story is read to him by a voice in the computer. He can hear the story multiple times, read in exactly the same way each time. Who does he snuggle with if he's a bit fearful? He can interact with the story by saying the words or reading along, but who is there to encourage him when he's correct or guide him if he's not?
Both boys have had an experience in literacy. One, a very human experience, the other, a very technologically oriented experience. I would argue that the human literacy experience is a richer learning experience. My desire is that as we move deeper and deeper into this technologically advanced society, we continue to value the human experience.

One thing and for sure, technology would only dehumanize society if we use it improperly or right to say if "these" powerful people use and apply for their personal interest in expense of us, the nature and society we have. Most obvious example is what happened in Mindanao areas specifically in Davao Oriental and Compostella Valley, hundreds of people die because of typhoon Pablo, if only there are enough trees, if only there's no nonstop digging of soil in their area and definitely the damage was not big but what had happen? The area almost disappears in map of the Philippines because of the damage. Now what's the connection? The cutting down of trees, the toxic material of corporations and the garbage are factors of the incident and remember these are all ending product of technology that people used and invented, by simply misusing technology society become ruined. How about in our home? Exposure of the teen ager and children in video games, in internet caused addiction even different disease because of radiation, if too long in front of computer. Lack of bonding among the members of family is possible also, young today are too busy in Face book, Twitter, Y.M even Dota etc. and we are not sure that all of these promote educational learning and let' not forget that violence are included. What I have discussed are just some of circumstances on how technology dehumanized our society and home, still at the bottom of these are whatever technology be invented it's on our selves decision whether we are allowing tech. to ruined our society, home even life or technology be our tool to help and assist us to be a good individual to ourselves, to other, and to our country. Machines and technology will not last all the time so let's be flexible, tech. help us but learn to help them by not relying too much to "them" and by using it properly because remember people are the "MASTER" and "PARTNER" of these inventions and we are not the "SLAVE" of it.

I can't say that technology can dehumanize society but I can't also say that it can't dehumanize society. As what we have notice nowadays, we really rely on technology. Technology can really help us. Every country had been develop just because of technology. Our home, school, and office become more comfortable just because of technology. Our life become more easier and faster. With the using of technology, our life in this world is being more good enough. Just come to think about it, if there's no more technology that is being invented, i think at this time we're in the age of an ancient people. Even the way we dress it is made in "anahaw" leaves. Whenever we go to some places, we just hike and feel the hot under the heat of the sun. Whenever we miss our love ones in abroad, we will write letters on them that will be replied in more than a month. I can't imagine, if there is no more technology in this world. Even brownout, we can really feel emptiness in this world. In contrast, technology would be able to dehumanize society in a way that, every student in school can't focus on their studies because of those those online games they have played. If we think critically, before, pre-marital sex is not the issue in the society. Those women before act like ""Dalagang Pilipina". They are soft spoken, they act accordingly. But notice nowadays, with the using of the product of technology which is the cellphone, you would be able to find your husband/wife through on it. To those photos, movies or what so ever unpleasant things that is not appropriate to those children or those young ones, they can see it now in an internet. I think because of confusion they might try it or do it! that result of their life become more miserable. With the using of technology also, people really rely on it, they become lazy enough to do something. When technology is not present they don't work at all. In conclusion, technology, can dehumanize or can't dehumanize society depend on how you will be going to use it. You must have discipline to use it and do not abuse it. It has disadvantage but more on advantage.

In a world, based on technology, full of conflict and terror, we are so dependent on other systems for recording the events of our daily lives. As a culture, we are so dependent of instant messaging services, email, digital cameras, and above all digital cell phones. Cell phones are now attached to our ears and for some taking part in blue tooth technology, cell phones are constant. What has happened that we no longer feel connected to ourselves and have the ability to read our inner selves? What happened to the ideas of meditation and relaxation? And reconnecting to our spirituality? If technology was no longer available, would we be able to relax as a collective?
In an article by Vannevar Bush "As We May Think," published in 1945, the author states, "Presumably man's spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and objectively his present problems. He has built a civilization so complex that he needs to mechanize his records more fully if he is to put his experiment to its logical conclusion and not merely become bogged down party way there by overtaxing his limited memory. His excursion may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important" (9). (On a side note, it is important to note that the author spoke about technology and published this article in 1945.)
Our culture has become so complex that we need to advance our technological resources to record each and every moment. I know that each event is recorded with a digital camera and once I get a grade on a test I call my mom or if I'm having a bad day I call my best friend. There is no such day that I am without technology. What would happen if we all stopped using our cell phones and went back in a time where neighbors "called" upon each other? How amazing would it be if we went back to physical labor and reconnected with ourselves without technology? Maybe students would use the library not for studying purposes, but for research and to take books out for entertainment?
If we all took a step back from technology, we may become better people. No longer would we have the problem of technological literacy and the technology divide? For once, since the beginning of time we would all be equal and there would be nothing to divide us.

In a world, based on technology, full of conflict and terror, we are so dependent on other systems for recording the events of our daily lives. As a culture, we are so dependent of instant messaging services, email, digital cameras, and above all digital cell phones. Cell phones are now attached to our ears and for some taking part in blue tooth technology, cell phones are constant. What has happened that we no longer feel connected to ourselves and have the ability to read our inner selves? What happened to the ideas of meditation and relaxation? And reconnecting to our spirituality? If technology was no longer available, would we be able to relax as a collective?

In an article by Vannevar Bush "As We May Think," published in 1945, the author states, "Presumably man's spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and objectively his present problems. He has built a civilization so complex that he needs to mechanize his records more fully if he is to put his experiment to its logical conclusion and not merely become bogged down party way there by overtaxing his limited memory. His excursion may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important" (9). (On a side note, it is important to note that the author spoke about technology and published this article in 1945.)

Our culture has become so complex that we need to advance our technological resources to record each and every moment. I know that each event is recorded with a digital camera and once I get a grade on a test I call my mom or if I'm having a bad day I call my best friend. There is no such day that I am without technology. What would happen if we all stopped using our cell phones and went back in a time where neighbors "called" upon each other?How amazing would it be if we went back to physical labor and reconnected with ourselves without technology? Maybe students would use the library not for studying purposes, but for research and to take books out for entertainment?

If we all took a step back from technology, we may become better people. No longer would we have the problem of technological literacy and the technology divide?

Regardless of the speed, we are surely making people lose touch with what it means to be human. We are desensitizing society to what should be felt when people suffer. We are caging people in, making them into machines, and thus stifling their creativity. And we are doing this with tools we have in our culture and around the house. And if we don't stop, future generations will feel less and less and will be less and less connected with each other as well as themselves.
The first tool being used to numb people to themselves is our ever advancing technology. It isn't that technology is all negative. As someone who has survived cancer surgery, I can attest to the benefits of technology. And I didn't need to go through such surgery to appreciate technology. But, as with anything else, there is a point of diminishing returns when increasing our use of technology returns more negatives than positives. This is true especially when it comes to communication.
I really do appreciate cell phones. They give the wife and I a certain amount of freedom when we go to the mall. We only need to call each other to know where and when to meet. And I loved cell phones when the kids just got their drivers licenses. But with cell phones came texting. And with texting comes a less personal way of communicating. Texting dilutes the affect we express and receive when conversing with others. This makes our conversations less personal, less human. We don't have to be fully there with the people we are texting and we are certainly not fully there with the people we are with at the time. With texting, we exercise an absence while being present. And yet, we only need to ask young people how many times do they prefer to reach out and touch someone through texting than through talking in person to see its growing effects.
But not only does texting filter out our personal reactions, it limits the depth of sharing and the contents of our communications. In texting, communication tends to be brief and abbreviated. So not only does texting filter out our emotions, it sifts out depth and reduces the amount of content we can communicate and then handle.
And if the cell phone was not enough, there is whatever device we use to connect to the web. Yes, there are advantages to the web. We can reach out and touch more people from around the globe. But the web is similar to cell phones in that it too acts as a strainer that limits the feelings that can be expressed and decreases the amount of content that can be considered. In addition, people can hide behind avatars when meeting others. This can make the web, especially the social networking places, the world's biggest disguise party where we, nor the people we meet, have to see what we prefer not to. So we meet new people and become attracted and attached to the costumes being worn rather than the real people wearing them.
Sherry Turkle, from MIT, has already written about much of what I described above in her book Alone Together. In the book, she describes not just what we are doing to ourselves now but how we are conditioning others for the future. And if our social life was the only part that was being revolutionized by the overuse of technology, we could live with that. But it isn't. Education is now beginning to rely more and more on the virtual presence of instructors than being up close and in person. Educational institutions are currently pursuing a greater reliance on communications technology to teach. We now have universities that revolve around students learning from professors who can only provide an electronic presence. These institutions reason that students no longer need teachers who are fully present to learn. In other words, students need less and less the humanity from their instructors. Students don't need teacher reaction to students' feedback and teachers' mistakes. On the other hand, these educational institutions also reckon that teachers need no reactions from their students to get their points across. As was said by one police officer from the TV series Dragnet, "just the facts" is all that is needed in education. In short, there is an ever diminishing personal communication and relationships between those who teach and those attempting to learn.
Certainly there is more in technology that is changing us than our communication technology. Turkle emphasizes in her book the point that not only do we make our own tools, they, in turn, shape us. And if we wanted to anticipate how our previously mentioned communication tools could change us, just think of the following. The technology we use cannot sense when we are frustrated or angry when it fails or frustrates us. In addition, like all electronic tools, we expect our machines to blindly follow orders. If we are shaped by these communication tools, will we become less and less aware of how those around us feel and will life consist of nothing more than mindlessly following orders?
But our use of technology is not the only culprit here, there is another. And one such perpetrator is business. Let's face it, business is highly impersonal, especially when we seek to maximize profits and maximizing profits is the ethic of the day. For when profit is king, people are pawns. And being pawns means that we are the most disposable piece in the game. And the more expendable people are, the more our humanity becomes moot.
In today's world, all that matters is the accumulation of the wealth that those in the in group can garner. And as Chris Hedges so aptly said about the wealthiest, the only word they know is "more." For those for whom this is true, all others become invisible.
In the movie, Analyze This, Billy Crystal plays a therapist to a mob boss. When he was suspected of having become an informant, the mob boss's assistant points a gun at him to shoot him while trying to soothe Crystal's character by saying, "it isn't personal." Crystal's character gave the wrong response. He said that it could not get more personal. It was the wrong response because when business dictates ethics, the personal no longer matters. People's needs are easily discarded. People who cost more than others are regarded as an inflamed appendix. People who have lost their jobs because their existence could no longer be financially justified can attest to how dehumanizing and painful their experiences have been. But their feelings no longer matter. In addition, austerity cuts that maintains tax cuts for the rich spreads this heartache to those in the community.
Those in business have a ready reply to charges of being inhuman. They say that for the good of others in the company, they must be quick to let go those who do not contribute to the maximizing of profits. Otherwise, the company becomes at risk and shareholders lose what they deserve because of the laws of gravity, as they apply in the business world. But what such apologists forget is that the economic system we worship is one of choice. We don't have to continue to rely on an economic system that so heavily leans on competition. That is we don't have to unless the desire for more has precedence over the humanity of others. And yet, not only are we worshipping our competitive economic system, we are allowing our business environment built on competition to metastasize into other spheres. And again, education is seeing more than its fair share of a business mentality being forced on it. So whereas in the past, we depended on a certain degree of inefficiency in education because of how much we learn from our mistakes, we can no longer afford to be so wasteful.
Though we could list a few more coconspirators in this crime of dehumanizing society, we will stop with the next one, authoritarianism. We all know how many Nazis tried to defend themselves in court against charges of war crimes. Many claimed that they were merely following orders. And those orders not only enabled many Nazis to practice immeasurably gross crimes against humanity, orders shielded them from the threat of feeling what their victims felt. Orders were their defense and following orders caused their conviction of war crimes.
But the problem with using the Nazis to illustrate our point is that we don't see ourselves as being on their level of evil and most of us would be correct here. So the authoritarianism we practice, though not preferable, can't possibly be dehumanizing. And that reasoning would hold if the Nazi atrocities provided a minimal standard of evil or if the negative effects of authoritarianism were restricted to evil rulers only.
What authoritarianism does is to numb us to the pain others feel when we follow orders because we zero in on our duties. In addition, it takes away our freedom. It threatens all who would question and criticize and thus pushes us to become automatons that, not who, wait for the next set of instructions.
Truth is determined differently in an authoritarian environment than it is in a free world. In the authoritarian world, truth is determined by the credentials of the one speaking. If the person's credentials are good, we tend to accept what they say without question. If, however, the person's credentials are inadequate or questionable, then we refuse to listen. Thus, our listening to a person depends on the pedestal on which they are standing. This high dependence on credentials by the audience is a reason why we see the kinds of political campaigns that we have in this country. When acceptance or rejection depends on credentials, more time is spent on building candidates up or tearing them down than analyzing their views and proposals. And when what they say is scrutinized, the public depends on the "experts' who are provided by either the government, the media, or some other institution for an interpretation than on their own ability to listen and think.
Since the 9-11 atrocities, we have seen a spike in authoritarianism in this country from the federal government on down. We allowed the President to tell us that we were attacked for our freedoms despite the death and destruction our policies have caused in the Middle East. That the President was scapegoating our freedoms for the attacks indicated that he was looking for more power, more authority. For if the President acknowledged that our abuse of power in the Middle East was what motivated the 9-11 hijackers, then asking for more power and authority would be an impossible sell.
The marks that governmental authoritarianism leaves on society is the vast reduction, and even elimination, of accountability our officials have by either their citizens or the world. At the same time, our government will hold all others more accountable and even has assumed the right to attack anyone anyplace at anytime. When it does attack, as it did with Iraq, it cites violation of either international law or the will of the international community as the justification for using force. However, if the world even attempts to hold America accountable, our government nullifies it by claiming that such attempts violates our sovereignty.
At home, the progression that has occurred starting with the Patriot Act through the 2012 NDAA is frightening. That is because abuse of power that has been exercised overseas is now being authorized for use at home. The government can now wantonly arrest whomever they want at will so long as they claim that those they arrest are terrorists. The checks and balances that would have prevented such an overreach have been nullified by new laws and procedures.
Why do we the people accept this more powerful and authoritarian government? Why don't more people speak out than already do? The reason is simple. Our government has immunized itself from accountability by injecting fear into the population. As a result, we tend to see our government's growing abuse of power as necessary to protect us from foreign enemies. In the meantime, many current arrests and other harassments performed by our government remind us of the world that existed in the movie Minority Report. And less we question our government for this rise in authoritarianism, we should note that many of our institutions, including our educational institutions and our churches, are doing their fair share to indoctrinate people into accepting our new nation's order. We might add to this that there is a growing tend for those who are charged with enforcing the laws to be brutal and act as if they have no accountability when engaging with dissidents. And the public's perceived need for more protection quiets their consciences for their lack of solidarity with those who have suffered police brutality.
Our world is becoming a more scary place and it is not because of a growing threat from the monsters under our beds or in our closets. Rather, it is becoming more frightening because of those whom we have trusted to guide us and because we have a greater acceptance of and trust in machines, whether technological or institutional, than we have in being human. And it looks as if we have no will to change.

This question was posed to a member of my Tech Club group by her 5th grade AIG students. It's a great question and something for 5th graders to certainly think about as they look toward their future of high tech gadgets. I suspect that most people who are involved in Facebook, Twitter, on-line gaming, chat rooms, and the like, already experience a certain detachment to the "humans" they associate with on these networks.
But how does this technologically dehumanizing effect affect literacy? In my mind's eye I see a little boy all curled up with mom in a dimly lit bedroom eagerly awaiting his "night-night" story. They're snuggled together as she reads his favorite bedtime story, "Bony Legs." It's just scary enough for him to need the comfort and reality of mom's closeness. She creates the characters with the intonation and inflection of her voice. The little boy can feel the suspense of the story and yet the safety of his mom's presence. Because she's read this story with him so many times, he is able to fill in some of the words as mom hesitates in order to allow him a chance to interact with the story. This is an interactive human experience.
By contrast, I see another little boy going to his bedroom for the night. His bed time story is read to him by a voice in the computer. He can hear the story multiple times, read in exactly the same way each time. Who does he snuggle with if he's a bit fearful? He can interact with the story by saying the words or reading along, but who is there to encourage him when he's correct or guide him if he's not?
Both boys have had an experience in literacy. One, a very human experience, the other, a very technologically oriented experience. I would argue that the human literacy experience is a richer learning experience. My desire is that as we move deeper and deeper into this technologically advanced society, we continue to value the human experience.
Culture Passed On From One Generation To the Next The Opening Salvo: Continuing African Cultural Transmission Ethics
"To manipulate history is to manipulate consciousness: to manipulate consciousness is to manipulate possibilities; and to manipulate possibilities is to manipulate power. Herein lies the mortal threat of Eurocentric historiography to African existence. For what must be the form and functionality of African consciousness and behavior if they are derivative of an African history written by their oppressors?

The history of the oppressed, as written by their oppressors, shapes the consciousness and psychology of both oppressed and oppressor. It helps to legitimate the oppressive system and to maintain the imbalance of power in favor of the oppressor. Eurocentric history writing is essentially an exercise in publishing apologetics for the European oppression of African people; often a gross and crude attempt to create and shape subordinate an inferior African consciousness and psychology.

It seeks to impose a social/historical/cultural amnesic tax on the heads of African peoples and thereby rob them of the most valuable resources — their knowledge of truth and reality of self; their cultural heritage and identity, minds, bodies and souls; their wealth, lands, products of their labor and lives.

"Eurocentric historiography is the most formidable ally of White racism and imperialism. It's treacherous role in this regard must be explored and reversed by an African-centered historiography, written by African historians, and dedicated to historical accuracy and truth — historians who are unafraid to speak truth to power.

"The clarion call for the writing of a restorative African-centered historiography — a critical undertaking — is a call for the healing of the wounds of African peoples; for African unity; for the freeing and expansion of African consciousness; for the re-conquest of African minds, bodies, lands, resources, and African autonomy.

"Every Eurocentric social institution conspires with Eurocentric historiography to handcuff and incarcerate African consciousness, to justify and facilitate the subordination and exploitation of African peoples." (Wilson)

"Until The Lion Has A Historian, The Hunter Will Always Be A Hero"... African Maxim

Post 2015 June 16 Trailing Murmurs: Structural Racism And History…

What I have come to realize is that we act and talk and behave as we have been conditioned in the Pavlovian mode. We are so incarcerated in our ways which have been cobbled into us over 500 centuries that with the advent of the Internet, we are now beginning to think, some of us anyway, how to unpack this imprisonment of our whole being and minds-and use the internet, social media, to analyze it and debunk it if necessary. But we need people who are prepared to cover this area and sector of life known as being a historian. We need to decode, we also must record these events as they are happening to us without fear or favor to no one, but truth to our people. Our writings cannot be neutral, as observed by Sankara.

We speak English because historically the British colonized many people and countries around the globe. But in our learning English, as taught to us by our colonizers, be it French or Dutch, we were infected with and affected by culture, traditions and ways of our colonizers. We were so beaten-down, that as we served our masters in whatever capacity, we worked assiduously very hard to be accepted, acknowledged and approved-of by our detractors. This was inculcated into our Ancestors, right on down to us in the span of 500+ years-to date.

If we say that we are supposed to write our own histories and stories, we simply mean that we use history as our consciousness, reality, reference and towards understanding the present and figuring if not shaping our own self-determined and autonomous future. Once we are born and grow, our lives is our own
Responsibilities. We have to understand history in its real and hard core facts. But we should not dumb down ourselves into thinking that it is the past and what's happening now in our lives has no relationship to the past or to history. My role when I am wearing my historical cap, is to flesh out the real facts that African History and World History Lives!

Here's a statement that was made by Henri Juno:

"I speak of resignation. It is necessary to the Blacks(Africans), for despite all that has been written on the fundamental axiom of the absolute equality of mankind, they are an inferior race, a race made to serve. It would be harmful to them to cover up this evident fact under a pile of sentimental eloquence. ... Christianity alone will make out of the Black(African) servant satisfied with his lot, for it alone can bring him to a free and voluntary submission to the plans of Divine Providence. ...

"Everyone, I will even say the whole of humanity, is deeply concerned that the "Negro"(African) should accept the position assigned to him by his physical and intellectual faculties. Without the arms of the 'Natives'(Africans), the gold mines of Johannesburg, which have built up the prosperity of South Africa, would cease to exist from day to the next, for it is these arms which accomplish the entire manual labor in the extracting of Gold.

"Then again, when we consider the immense plains on the coast of Delagoa, the valleys of the Nkomati, the Limpopo and the Zambezi, how could these fertile territories be exploited if the Blacks(Africans) refused their aid? In these tropical latitudes, the European dies of fever, especially if he starts working the soil himself ... and the White man's role is that of organizer, the Master, under whose watch must work million arms of the native population"

Historians job is to not only cite the most amazing or terrible or great facts about and done to Africans, with the new communications system and media, it is also our duty to marry that information to our contemporary realities. We do this by stitching together factual historical data, and narratives from the living and present-day people.

Whenever we try to configure our present social miasma and successes, some of us remember what led us to the present, and some of us who know, conveniently forget, and many, the younger ones do not really know nor understand why it is that their lives might all of a sudden turn topsy-turvy or unpleasant. Many of our children and their children have no clue why they are what they are today-successful or failing in life. As historians, who are on FB and other social media, we clamor for and try our darnest to inform the present reading African intelligentsia, to come home to the reality of the poor and suffering African masses. This is not easy, and there are still not many takers.

Back to Wilson under the "Opening Salvo," the reader would do well at this point re-read the quote at the beginning of the article in order to be able to taken in and let settle the discourse thus far. So that, what we do with history, is up to us and we are the ones in control/charge, so long as we understand what the uses of history, or the relevance and importance of history is to us. Many people always choose to ignore or jump their coming to terms and understanding history. Well, like the aphorism above, without historians, I am paraphrasing it now, "African people who have no historian, will have their detractors as their heroes"(My spin here now).

This is precisely what has happened to us. We know and can read what the Europeans have been saying to us over the centuries and we have already internalized it. It is what we are going to do with the knowledge and understanding we garnered from the citation above the likes of Juno, that we might begin to have alternate ideas and directions. How we decide, henceforth whenever we get exposed to our stories, histories and realities, how we are going to deal with that, is what we have to begin to use as a conscientizing mind-set-Change the link and break it-form a new way of thinking, seeing, feeling and knowing that is predetermined and applied and made possible by our ways of doing, thinking and living our lives anew.

If we read something historical, the essence of who we are that has been ignored and invisible, we become a critical mass consciousness by virtue of our knowledge and awareness of our stories and history, that, we really do not have to depend on one person historians, we become a nation of historically aware nation, and we are able to ascend one hurdle towards becoming a Nation.

How do we relate ourselves to own history? Knowing it for one is one way, and living it is another good way to get to begin to know more about ourselves, for ourselves, without apologizing to no one-Ever. This is important, but also, it is a motivation as to where are we headed in our ways of knowing about ourselves. We do not have to remember ourselves and be historical — just because in was June 16 remembrance. Post the celebrations, we are and still remain those troubled people who will need another holiday to jolt us back into awareness about our reality and existence. We only need to remember that remembering and upgrading and keeping up our awareness about our own history, is not a crime, but a good thing, and do it Everyday!

As the shot of history is ringing through the ether with this article, we should remember that history is not temporal, but a fast splurging past reality presently and hurtling into the future. That is history and how it affects and effects us today. We cannot relegate it to the back burner of Father-time, we are going to have to look for it, take, and live it. As historians, some of us, that is what makes us tick. It is not a profitable vocation, but it is the real deal-All of humanity is logged in into history, and it's about time we took our chairs or seats in the Earth Space planet and do what we are here to be and do.

What are we to do then, some ask?

In this case, I will defer to Asa:

"African socialization practices served to assist communities in day-to-day operations, collective survival, interpersonal relation, and basic quality of life issues. The content of an African education and socialization process contains many components which are modified according to the specific goal and aims of a community. It includes at least the following parts:

-Study the whole heritage of the community
-Study of the spiritual significance of everything
-Study of the whole life of the community
-Study of the whole environment and ecology
-Study of how to maintain health
-Building and understanding of MAAT(Balance)
-building strong community values
-Building fundamental and advanced skills
-Building strong social bonds
-Building a strong ethnic family identity
-Study of geopolitical and economic forces
-Building Respect for elders
-Building and maintaining effective nurturing systems for children

Asa continues:

"Our methodology for socialization follows from the above. Bonded relationship among teachers and students are the foundation for method. Collective efforts of students, teachers, families and communities are essential. Meditation and reflection is essential. Conducting socialization in specially prepared "sacred spaces" is essential. With all of this, critical reflection is a must.

"The character of traditional African education reflects thousands of years of development. It is unique in terms of its purpose,its methods, its content, and its outcomes.

" As African people, we occupy an environment that is physical, social, cultural, and above all, spiritual. While our survival needs must be met, African educators are admonished to "build for eternity," not merely for the temporal. Our exploiters see us merely as hard labor for their schemes as they scramble to attain power to manipulate and control people and resources…

"We must not be distracted by the false argument that, using African traditions in the modern or postmodern world" is useless and misguided, trivial, and irrelevant. Technology is a part of Africa's heritage, and even under conditions of slavery, colonization, segregation, and White supremacy ideology, Africans have been at the forefront of science and technology; in nuclear research, information technology, engineering, etc.

There is no conflict between high technology and African Traditions. The difference is that it must be balanced with the traditional values which emphasize that technology must compliment nature, not destroy it. ... Even in the face of our greatness in these areas, some Africans ridicule our concern with the value of elements of antiquity as a source of orientation and practice for today. These same Africans, however, raise no objection to Europeans constant and pervasive use of their ancient culture."

Asa has a penchant to encapsulate what I would like to say from an African centered point of view. The practice of history in contemporary times can be done effectively and successively utilizing and applying African cultural transmissions by combining present-day technologies and techniques with our traditional and customary/cultural bearings and moorings…

The upshot is that, we should not only get stuck in the celebration of ourselves in one day . It is a continuing and ever evolving process and we need to have some guidelines what it is; what we ought to be doing, or should be doing to lift our people out of sheer ignorance, out of poverty and into activism and collective action and rule.

This is what we should be doing, and learning from the best we can get from our own African Master teachers and go-getters. We need not be trying hard to be other people, we have enough on our life's plate to last us until the earth ends. What are we then waiting for then? We should share these ideas with as many of our people and help enlighten each other, than hoard knowledge and flaunt our being educated whilst our people languish in misery and ignorance. That does not make us any good, and we can only see tangible change with aggressive and powerful pro-active endeavors on our people and nation's part…

The Struggle Moving Forward Is Hard, But Continues...
Popular][ ][ ]by Jimmie Quick115

[ ][ ][ ]by Reality Bytes38

[ ][ ]by Barb McCoy30









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