Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology

Topics: Technology, Science, Luddite Pages: 7 (2510 words) Published: June 9, 2013
According to Neil Postman, technopoly is term where a society worships the power and the limitless of technologies. In the book, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Postman states that technology can be a friend or an enemy. However, he believes that technology is more likely to be an enemy than a friend since it changes or alters the society's perspective of life and future. Technopoly causes dangers to civilization because it changes the culture we once live in, changes the traditional values we once believe in, changes "the character of our symbols: the things we think with" 1, changes "the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop." 2 A technology is not to be seen as adding or subtracting something to a society because once a technology is introduced to the community, the technology will cause change to everything. Postman separates cultures into three categories: tool- using cultures, technocracies, and technopolies. All three types of cultures can be found on Earth at different period of time. In tool- using cultures, the two main characteristics are "to solve specific and urgent problems of physical life, such as in the use of waterpower, windmills, and the heavy- wheeled plow" 3 and "to serve the symbolic world of art, politics, myth, ritual, and religion... [etc.]" 4 In here, tools were not replace the original usage when they were first introduced to the society. However, tool- using cultures are disappearing nowadays because of our increase usage of modern and advance technologies. Each technology is created to have multiple functions, as a result, the original function of a tool is being replaced for efficiency and convenience. In technocracies, "tools play a central role in the thought- world of the culture." 5 The tools change the culture of the society and taking over and "to become the culture". 6 As a result, traditions, politics and religions of the culture are forced to fight for their existence, if not, they would be eliminated and replaced by technocracies. There are three great technocracy inventions where they are still currently heavily impacting the modern society and the inventions were the mechanical clock, the printing press and the telescope. Originally, the invention of mechanical clock was used for monks to have a regularity to their routines of monasteries. However, overtime the mechanical clock was introduced to the society and slowly, the mechanical clock, became a precise technology for people to have a sense of time. Eventually, this invention slowly changed the culture and the people of the society which led to capitalism and the modern world. Originally, Gutenberg's printing press was to mass- produced the bible, so that he could get rich. However, the mass production of the bibles gave each individual to have his or her own theologian which created a difference "between unity and diversity of religious belief." 7 In the end, the printing press has a different function than it was originally introduced and now the printing press is used to diversify knowledge and media throughout the world. The invention of the telescope has an effect on both what the reality is and what the church believes in. This 1, 2 Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, 20 3, 4 Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, 23 5, 6 Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, 28 7 Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, 15 invention has led to many debates and trials not only in the field of science, but also in the field of religious beliefs. Postman argues that in technocracy, ”the technological and the traditional world views -- coexisted in uneasy tension." 8 Technological perspective is the stronger one; however, the traditional perspective still existed and still exerting some influence on the technological perspective, but the effect is very minimal.

Postman states that there are...
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