New Sherwood

The Loving Resistance Fighter

An essential book for the Catholic Restorationist’s library (someone please come up with a list of essential books before I have to do it for you) is Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by the late Dr. Neil Postman. The importance of this book for our technology-drenched generation cannot be overstated. Here’s a sample from his chapter titled “The Loving Resistance Fighter”:

“Those who resist the American Technopoly are people –

who pay no attention to a poll unless they know what questions were asked, and why;

who refuse to accept efficiency as the pre-eminent goal of human relations;

who have freed themselves from the belief in the magical powers of numbers, do not regard calculation as an adequate substitute for judgment, or precision as a synonym for truth;

who refuse to allow psychology or any ‘social science’ to pre-empt the language and thought of common sense;

who are, at least, suspicious of the idea of progress, and who do not confuse information with understanding;

who do not regard the aged as irrelevent;

who take seriously the meaning of family loyalty and honor, and who, when they ‘reach out and touch someone’, expect that person to be in the same room;

who take the great narratives of religion seriously and who do not believe that science is the only system of thought capable of producing truth;

who know the difference between the sacred and the profane, and who do not wink at tradition for modernity’s sake;

who admire technological ingenuity but do not think it represents the highest possible form of human achievement.

A resistance fighter understands that technology must never be accepted as part of the natural order of things, that every technology – from an IQ test to an automobile to a television set to a computer – is a product of a particular economic and political context and carries with it a program, an agenda, and a philosophy that may or may not be life-enhancing and that therefore requires scrutiny, criticism, and control.”

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May 16, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

10 Comments »

  1. That list is most interesting: I should read that book when I have time. I think this list is pretty good, as well. As someone who has studied psychology somewhat, I can say that it say it certainly shouldn’t pre-empt thought and common sense. In my opinion, it is a perfectly fine subject for humanities, that for some reason goes around pretending to be a science. If it found its real place it would be a lot more palatable.

    Furthermore, and the only thing I might object to in this list, is the last point. Of course there are certain philosophies and agendas which lead to certain technologies. However, I am cautious of anything that seems to approach McLuhan’s “The medium is the message” idea. Many technologies have good and bad applications, and even if the philosophy that resulted in the technology are utterly bad, that does not seem to negate the possibility of turning the technology to good use.

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    Comment by Daniel A. | May 16, 2007 | Reply

  2. Wow, that is an outstanding list!

    Is this a good book for technology lovers too? Or is it intended to reinforce a sympathetic audience?

    Like

    Comment by Lorraine | May 16, 2007 | Reply

  3. Wow. As a System Administrator, technology is the sea in which I swim, but every one of those points described me.

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    Comment by Danby | May 16, 2007 | Reply

  4. Jeff,

    Resistance is useless. You have the knowledge. You’d better start whipping up the bibliography.

    Like

    Comment by Steve | May 17, 2007 | Reply

  5. […] have completed the meme myself, I must inflict it upon others.  I would tag Jeff Culbreath, but he just said he doesn’t want to have to make a list of books.  So, I tag Felix Randal, Chris at Domine […]

    Like

    Pingback by My Very First Meme! « Ride of the Rohirrim | May 17, 2007 | Reply

  6. Other people are doing this too. Fr. Zuhlsdorf….
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/05/tagged-for-a-meme/

    has just tagged Fr. Finigan…

    http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2007/05/what-everyone-should-read-meme.html

    who tagged Fr. Ray Blake…who hasn’t done one yet, but has another tag for “Best Catholic Places in England” a meme I am watching carefully for my In Search of Catholic England project.

    All very interesting.
    Looks like it’s the latest cool thing to do.

    (I never get tagged. Nobody loves me.)

    Like

    Comment by hilary | May 21, 2007 | Reply

  7. It’s really good to see you back and blogging.

    Like

    Comment by annabenedetti | May 23, 2007 | Reply

  8. Thank you, AnnaBenedetti. You always have something kind to say. I hope to read more of your insightful comments in the future!

    Like

    Comment by Jeff Culbreath | May 24, 2007 | Reply

  9. (I never get tagged. Nobody loves me.)

    What, you want cheering crows of teenagers, all chanting

    H – J – W! WE LUV YOU!!!

    ??

    peace,

    Like

    Comment by Zach Frey | May 24, 2007 | Reply

  10. Thank you for the welcome. :)

    I always enjoyed your blog because it was so thoughtfully written, as if you’d turned ideas over in your mind a lot before you wrote them down. I had no idea you’d started a new blog until a couple of days ago.

    I ordered Technopoly from my local library.. I was kind of surprised they carried it! I’m looking forward to reading it because the subject interests me and I’m wondering what the author’s take on it will be. I’ve thought for a while that rise of computer technology was the great de-humanizing, soul-deadening event of our time, almost as if that technology had taken on a collective life of its own.

    And here I am, sitting at a computer telling you this. :) Such a dichotomy! And while I do see the good, I also see the mirror image: The human with his laptop, cell phone, i-pod, blackberry, text-messaging on his merry way; while the still, small voice of God is lost in the cacaphony of artificial intelligence and sound.

    Like

    Comment by annabenedetti | May 24, 2007 | Reply


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