The book itself was written in an engaging manner, and I think it would be accessible to most readers of almost any education level. I would especially encourage any teachers or educators to read the book, for many of his critiques have fascinating and significant implications in the realm of education.
I would also encourage pastors to read the book, because it offers a critique of modern culture which includes many specific areas which will help Pastors think well about culture and how it impacts people. Overall a great and insightful book, and a pretty easy read. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Stunning and original work. The author Neil Postman sets the tone at the outset that this is no ordinary work. His interpretation of Plato's Myth of Thamus and Theus is one of the wisest and perhaps most penetrating openings I've ever read.
This sets up a lucid description of the interplay between man, religion, and machine thru time dating all way back to ancient Greeks. Although he overplays his hand a bit when discussing what he perceives as technology's totalitarian grip on society, more broadly his argument has merit, explanatory insight, and predictive value.
Overplayed for example that "Technopoly" completely robs us of history, when in fact the data boom it can be argued is creating a clearer record of it. But this is a minor criticism, as overall his critiques and insights are spot-on From this he raises important challenges to the Information Age ethos that insufficient information is the assumed source of major problems, for example from this passage: Is it lack of information that keeps these conflicts at fever pitch?
Is it lack of information about how to grow food that keeps millions at starvation levels? Is it lack of information that brings soaring crime rates and physical decay to our cities? Is it lack of information that leads to high divorce rates and keeps the beds of mental institutions filled to overflowing? It's ultimately about the age of old challenge of converting qualitative information into quantitative information, so it be made into a form to make generalized observations about large populations and bespoke ones about its individuals.
Postman clearly reasons that abstraction and generalization that are made to seem irrefutable by attaching the qualifier "science" to "social" clearly do much more harm than good. This book goes to dark places, and perhaps "dark" is the best word to describe its overall tone. At times I found myself reading it not because I wanted to, but because I had to. But with an inspiring final chapter on how to counter the negative consequences of what he calls "Technopoly", and uplifting commentary on mankind derived from the classic "Ascent of Man", it ends on a liberating note.
Again I'm not saying it's a perfect work either I wonder for example how Postman would view advances in AI nearly 30 years since publish date at being more "human-like". He seems to assume that people will always be more morally responsible than machines. But with all the strife in the world can we rely on human judgement and action, versus a machine that be programmed to behave within strict guidelines?
He also makes his own presumed unchallengable "leap of faith" that life without meaning is essentially the worse kind. Something that a zen Buddhist could launch a serious challenge to, as in destructiveness of "gaining" notions.
Technopoly — the Surrender of Culture to Technology
My own criticisms aside, this remains one of the most fundamentally important works I've ever read. It's also very topical and an important reality-check with all the hype-selling these days in tech some of it most certainly legit, some most certainly not. Data, rankings, and pseudo-science have come to dominate our culture, and order our thinking so that no one actually thinks anymore. Nothing that Postman says in this book is particularly surprising or fresh, but he writes in such a refreshing and entertaining way that I thoroughly enjoyed the read. See all reviews.
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According to Tiles and Oberdiek, pessimistic accounts of technology overriding culture are based on a particular vision of human values.
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They emphasise "artistic creativity, intellectual culture, development of interpersonal relations, or religion as being the realms in which human freedom finds expression and in which human fulfilment is to be found". They suggest that technological optimists merely adhere to an alternative worldview that values the "exercise of reason in the service of free will" and the ability of technological developments to "serve human ends".
He in fact suggests that new technologies have had remarkably little effect on pre-existing human beliefs. Postman speaks of technological change as "ecological…one significant change generates total change". Star conversely argues that new tools may create new environments, but do "not necessarily extinguish older beliefs or the ability to act pragmatically upon them". Postman makes a good, if not entirely sufficient argument The next time that you're lost in cyberspace, wondering if all of this information has made us wiser, kinder, happier, pick up Postman's book.
It's a healthy defense against the blather about computer technology that you'll find in the morning paper or on the evening news. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Surrender of Culture to Technology Original paperback version cover. Selected Writings 2nd ed. Croteau, David; Hoynes, William Industries, Images and Audiences 3rd ed. De Palma, Paul McLuhan, Marshall ; Fiore, Quentin The Medium is the Massage.
The Surrender of Culture to Technology. Tiles, Mary ; Oberdiek, Hans Living in a Technological Culture: Human Tools and Human Values. Retrieved from " https: Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from January Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 19 August , at