Leo Marx’s The Machine in the Garden presents the concept of the ‘pastoral ideal’ as a way to explain mankind’s relationship between the natural world and the industrial world. Marx establishes what he sees as a longstanding conflict between the pastoral ideal and technological advancement. The conflict between pastoralism and technology is not a completely alien concept as other works in this course have displayed technology being in conflict with other aspects of human life. Other conflicts can be witnessed in both the course materials and the contemporary world between technology and privacy, technology and tradition, and technology and human actions.
A conflict between technology and privacy can be observed in multiple iterations in the materials from the course. One specific example that was looked at and discussed in lecture was the issue of Apple being asked by the FBI to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. The desire of the FBI to have access to the cell phone of a terrorist creates a dilemma. While the creation of a ‘backdoor’ could allow law enforcement to prevent future terror attacks with the encrypted information on that phone, it could also take away a layer of security that could keep everyday citizens’ information safe on their phones. The interaction between consumers wanting to have and use a cell phone for their daily needs with the issue of who is to do something if that cell phone is being used for nefarious purposes can be compared to the conflict in Marx. Marx portrays pastoralism as an insurmountable goal for Americans, thus, he calls it an ‘ideal’. Marx sees technology as being far too penetrable in society for there to be a complete withdrawal from the technology itself....
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...o our lives. Marx speaks of how an all-out rejection of technology is a fool’s errand as the technology of the industrial age would be unavoidable. The necessity of moving a statue as a result of pedestrians’ enamorment with their devices speaks to how technology is having such a vast impact on human lives and, as a result, we must shape the world to meet new needs brought forth as a result of technology.
Leo Marx’s The Machine in the Garden is a text about the conflict between pastoralism and industrialization. The other conflicts presented in this course thus far can be examined through the lens of how Marx presents the conflict between pastoralism and industrialization. As a result of the applicability of Marx’s thoughts on technology in the United States, his ideas are given greater credence as they still ring true today when considering the contemporary world.
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