Neil Postman's Technopoly Essay

Neil Postman's Technopoly Essay

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Neil Postman, writer, educator, critic and communications theorist, has written many books, including Technopoly. Mr. Postman is one of America's most visible cultural critics, who attempts to analyze culture and history in terms of the effects of technology on western culture. For Postman, it seems more important to consider what society loses from new technology than what it gains. To illustrate this, Postman uses the Egyptian mythology called "The Judgment of Thamus," which attempts to explain how the development of writing in Egyptian civilization decreases the amount of knowledge and wisdom in the society. He traces the roots of technology to show how technology impacts the moral and intellectual attitude of people. Postman seems to criticize societies with high technologies, yet he seems naive to the benefits technology has given society. Postman can be considered fairly conservative in his views regarding technology. His lucid writing style stimulates thoughts on issues in today's technological society; however because of his moral interpretations and historical revisions, his ethos is arguable. For every good insight he makes, he skips another mark completely.

Postman divides history into three types. He begins his argument with discussion of tool-using cultures. In these cultures, technology has an "ideological bias" to action that is not thought about by users. He says that this is a time of "logic, sequence, objectivity, detachment, and discipline," where historical figures such as Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and others clung to the theology of their age. This was a world with God, which was concerned with truth and not power. Postman remarks that the mass production of books and the invention of the printing pre...


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... Review. v42 n18 (Sept. 14, 1992) Copyright National review Inc. :58.

Lubar, Steven." Engines of Change: The American Industrial Revolution 1790-1860." Smithsonian Institution. http://www.si.sgi.com/organiza/museums/nmah/homepage/docs/engin10.htm ( 1986).

Mack, John. Out of Many, v 2, Prenther- Hall, Inc (1995) : 405-423.

Moulthrop, Stuart. "Very Like a Book" Wired Subscribe. Wired ventures LTD.http://www.hotwired.com/wired/3.11/departments/moulthrop.if.html (1995).

Ravvin, David. "Without Judgement or Morality, Technology becomes God" (I couldn't connect on-line so couldn't get the addess again when I went to do it- it kept saying the file was not found).

Star, Alexander. "Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology." New Republic. v207 n5 (July 27, 1992):59.

Weir, Stuart. Nation. v255, n6 ( Aug. 31, 1992) The Nation Company Inc.: 216.

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