Neil Postman on Technology

My friend, Greg Gilbert, is guest blogging at Between Two Worlds this week and he asks some questions regarding theology and technology. Yesterday I read a great transcription of a talk Neil Postman gave to the German Informatics Society in 1990. For those of you not familiar with Neil Postman, he wrote a stellar book called Entertaining Ourselves to Death – which is a look at how entertainment has impoverished our thinking. This talk is related to this book as it is entitled, “Informing Ourselves to Death.”

An acquaintance of mine, Josh Sowin, peaked my interest in Postman by his numerous posts on him. You can find those here.

I have included some stirring quotes that capture the essence of what Postman spoke about.

Neil Postman, German Informatics Society, 11 Oct 90, Stuttgart

“Anyone who has studied the history of technology knows that
technological change is always a Faustian bargain: Technology giveth
and technology taketh away, and not always in equal measure. A new
technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it
destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided.

The invention of the printing press is an excellent example. Printing
fostered the modern idea of individuality but it destroyed the
medieval sense of community and social integration. Printing created
prose but made poetry into an exotic and elitist form of expression.
Printing made modern science possible but transformed religious
sensibility into an exercise in superstition. Printing assisted in
the growth of the nation-state but, in so doing, made patriotism into
a sordid if not a murderous emotion.”

Thoughts on technology??

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