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Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology

a book by Neil Postman

(our site's book review)

The Technopoly We Are Headed for Is Even Worse Than Postman Predicts

The Amazon blurb says: In this witty, often terrifying work of cultural criticism, the author of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business chronicles our transformation into a Technopoly: a society that no longer merely uses technology as a support system but instead is shaped by it—with radical consequences for the meanings of politics, art, education, intelligence, and truth.

Claiming that our current educational system teaches students to worship technology and consumerism, Postman argues for more humanistic 'narratives' as the basis for schools
Claiming that our current educational system teaches students to worship technology and consumerism, Postman argues for more humanistic 'narratives' as the basis for schools

Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology was published in 1992, before the internet became a big deal, before Facebook, Twitter, Google, social networking, texting, etc. In other words, before technology and the internet changed life as we know it into something unrecognizable from 1992 perspectives. And yet this book is still relevant, if severely dated.

Postman is not a Luddite, which has come to mean one opposed to industrialization, automation, computerization or new technologies in general; he merely bemoans its effect on culture
Postman is not a Luddite, which has come to mean one opposed to industrialization, automation, computerization or new technologies in general; he merely bemoans its effect on culture

Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology notes that "in the long run, television may bring a gradual end to the careers of schoolteachers since school was an invention of the printing press and must stand or fall on the issue of how much importance the printed word has. For four hundred years, schoolteachers have been part of the knowledge monopoly created by printing, and they are now witnessing the breakup of that monopoly. It appears as if they can do little to prevent that breakup, but surely there is something perverse about schoolteachers being enthusiastic about what is happening. Such enthusiasm always calls to my mind an image of some turn-of-the-century blacksmith who not only sings the praises of the automobile but also believes that his business will be enhanced by it. We know now that his business was not enhanced by it; it was rendered obsolete by it, as perhaps the clearheaded blacksmiths knew. What could they have done? Weep, if nothing else. We have a similar situation in the development and spread of computer technology, for here too there are winners and losers."

Printer in 1568-ce
Printing press

The Age of Technopoly Gives Us the Dangerously Reductionistic Viewpoint of a Computer

Postman says: "To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." This is known as "Maslow's hammer," and should be attributed to Abraham Maslow. It ultimately means if you only have one skill you will try to use it to solve every problem, even if it is not the best solution. So, like Postman says, to a man with a computer, everything looks like data and a guy with a camera sees things as images. Modern technology users see from the computer context and the camera context. To reduce things to either or both contexts is called reductionism, since things, ideas, people, nature—they're all more than any single or collective perspective, as Picasso's art expressed and as the parable of the blind men and an elephant pointed out. The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to project their partial experiences as the whole truth, ignoring other people's partial experiences. Also, one should consider that one may be partially right and may have only partial information. The collective perspectives of the blind men are a reasonable approximation of the truth, but are still not truth, since a thing is greater than the sum of its parts.

The blind men and an elephant parable says humans have a tendency to project their partial experiences as the whole truth
The blind men and an elephant parable says humans have a tendency to project their partial experiences as the whole truth

Maslow's Toward a Psychology of Being is a major psychological classic, defining the third force in psychology after the forces of psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Finally a humanistic BEING psychology not that interested in analyzing or manipulating people but rather in empowering them by showing them what is fundamental to human nature and psychological well-being, and what is needed to promote, maintain, and restore mental and emotional well-being and self-actualization. We mention this particular genius because the deficiency-cognition and being-cognition concepts are his and they epitomize the crux of the matter of Postman's hammer-nail comment.

Maslovian deficiency-cognition has people seeing according to their needs until their needs are filled, at which point there can be seeing from their beings rather than their needs—at which point they can see what is: truth. Seeing from ones being is being-cognition. The guy with a hammer sees nails everywhere and misses the truths of things—i.e., he sees from deficiency-cognition. The guy with the hammer, if coming from being-cognition, sees only nails as nails. Nothing else is a nail to him because he sees the truth. This clarifies Postman's statement: "To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

U.S. warmongering neocons mistakenly see Islamic people as nails because they have a huge hammer which they are eager to use
U.S. warmongering neocons mistakenly see Islamic people as nails because they have a huge hammer which they are eager to use

The Greatest Invention of the 19th Century Was the Very Idea of Invention Itself

It is important to differentiate a tool-using culture from a technocracy culture. In a technocracy, tools are not integrated into the culture; they try to replace it. So tradition, social mores, myth, politics, ritual, and religion are on the defensive, trying to preserve their existence. "The modern technocracies of the West have their roots in the medieval European world, from which there emerged three great inventions: the mechanical clock, which provided a new conception of time; the printing press with movable type, which attacked the epistemology of the oral tradition; and the telescope, which attacked the fundamental propositions of Judeo-Christian theology," says Postman.

Postman tells us that "Something has happened in America that is strange and dangerous, and there is only a dull and stupid awareness of what it is—in part because it has no name. I call it Technopoly."

Pourbus Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, the father of empiricism and the father of scientific method

Francis Bacon was a man who thought in big picture system terms, much like Postman himself. He saw how printing and gunpowder and magnets were key inventions that changed the world forever, as they had profound influences on literature, warfare, and navigation, respectively. Bacon was the first person to advocate for invention and technology being the key to progress. This is obvious today, but in the 1500s when Bacon roamed the Earth, it wasn't at all. Before Bacon, science was thought to be philosophy and speculation, not progress via pragmatic technology improving life. Baconian science led to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, which changed everything. Postman loves to sort things into systems and trends to make them comprehensible, so cultures are tool-using, technocracy, and technopoly. The greatest invention of the 19th century was the very idea of invention itself. (The 1800s had endless inventions for factory, farm, and daily life, and progress became a respectable word because it summarized life improving for the masses. Soon, expertise, efficiency, objectivity, standardization, and measurement evolved as concepts to guide all this progress and invention and manufacturing.)

Two-faced progress: it enslaves as it frees, exploits as it empowers, oppresses as it inspires
Two-faced progress: it enslaves as it frees, exploits as it empowers, oppresses as it inspires

Many writers began to bemoan the spiritual poverty of factory work, since in many cases it could get pretty grim. Bacon had never meant for progress to require such soul-sucking drudgery. But it was a trade-off. There is a downside to every aspect of human progress, so people—especially writers—commented often on this trade-off. More working (including children at first) in factories meant more money which meant buying more stuff which meant consumerism, market orientation, greed, exploitation, and so on. Where do ethics, morals, values, and priorities fit into this fast changing world? As the author makes clear, culture, society, community, civic life and many more all paid the price for technological advances leading to better lives. To this day people are still writing about the trade-offs that are the price of progress. And with computers and the internet once again changing nearly everything, the skeptics are burning up their computer keyboards with challenges to this two-faced progress that enslaves as it frees, exploits as it empowers, oppresses as it inspires.

When conditions, safety, pay, health code violations and worker treatment in garment industry plants are bad, they're called sweatshops
When conditions, safety, pay, health code violations and worker treatment in garment industry plants are bad, they're called sweatshops

Technopoly is Totalitarian Technology in Which Meaning Must Be Found in Technocracy

In 1992, the U.S. was the only technopoly, according to Postman. A general meaning of techopoly is a company (like Google) that uses technology to create a monopoly in one area of commerce or society. It becomes so big that it is essentially the de facto government in that area. Technopoly eliminates any alternatives to itself similarly to the way that was outlined in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Technopoly is totalitarian technology, says Postman. Technocracy does not have as its aim a grand reductionism in which human life must find its meaning in machinery and technique. But technopoly does have that aim, which explains why Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are having such a great time playing lords of the universe, kings of the hill, and gods on Mt. Olympus. See The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires and Tech's Frightful Five: They've Got Us - The New York Times.

Orwell's 1984 was about a brutal dystopia based on weaponized lies and Huxley's Brave New World was about a dystopia of dumbed-down citizens chasing shiny objects—much like 2017 America.

With social media spewing fake news and Presidents spewing lies and ignorance and Google becoming a propaganda engine by dumping progressive sites from its index, the U.S. is being dumbed down mercilessly
With social media spewing fake news and Presidents spewing lies and ignorance and Google becoming a propaganda engine by dumping progressive sites from its index, the U.S. is being dumbed down mercilessly

" . . . rereading Orwell, one is reminded of what Orwell got right about this kind of brute authoritarianism—and that was essentially that it rests on lies told so often, and so repeatedly, that fighting the lie becomes not simply more dangerous but more exhausting than repeating it. Orwell saw, to his credit, that the act of falsifying reality is only secondarily a way of changing perceptions. It is, above all, a way of asserting power. . . . People aren’t meant to believe [a Trump lie]; they’re meant to be intimidated by it." (Source: Orwell’s “1984” and Trump’s America, Adam Gopnik, New Yorker) It does suggest a question: does Trump know his presidency is not a reality show? It further suggests this question: could it be that his presidency transformed regular politics, elections and the presidency itself into a reality show where he—learning on the job as an apprentice—is simply trying to be such an apt contestant that he never hears those dreaded two little words: "You're Fired!"? If he gets himself impeached, will we be saying: "It's not personal—it's just business."?

Could it be that Trump's presidency transformed regular politics, elections and the presidency itself into a reality show where he—learning on the job as an apprentice—is simply trying to be such an apt contestant that he never hears those dreaded two little words: 'You're Fired!'?
Could it be that his presidency transformed regular politics, elections and the presidency itself into a reality show where he—learning on the job as an apprentice—is simply trying to be such an apt contestant that he never hears those dreaded two little words: "You're Fired!"?

Postman points out that Aldous Huxley's Brave New World was, like Orwell's 1984, a dystopia. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. A dystopia of oppression is not the same as a dystopia of distraction. George Orwell, in 1984, warns that "we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression." But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. See Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

There are still a few people who read books—65% of Americans reported reading a printed book in the past year
There are still a few people who read books—65% of Americans reported reading a printed book in the past year

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. In 2017, most people don't read meaningful books that shed light on our country's and our people's dilemmas (like those reviewed on this website)—including President Trump. No banning is needed.

Book publishing industry revenue in the United States in 2017: 40.32 billion dollars. According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans reported reading a printed book in the past year, compared to only 28% who read an e-book. A quarter of the population hadn't read a book of any kind, whether in print, electronic or audio form. The most popular categories for readers are kids' books, religion, and business/investing. Print book sales are up, digital book sales are down for the last few years.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. They are both right. We suffer from information overload, but few of us can distinguish true info from false info, so fake news sites are very popular. We are being deprived of information about who runs our government, who decides about wars, and how much misinformation and propaganda is being fed to us via colluding corporatocracy of the mainstream media. See Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market, National Security and Double Government, The Rise of the American Corporate Security State, and Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Few of us can distinguish true info from false info, so fake news sites are very popular
Few of us can distinguish true info from false info, so fake news sites are very popular

Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Both are quite true.

Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

Huxley's Brave New World is much more like 2017 America than most of us would like to admit. Postman nailed it that Huxley was the better forecaster—his predictions hit way too close to home, but so do many of Orwell's. Huxley's public was oppressed by their addiction to amusement. Orwell's public were oppressed by state control.


Orwell and Huxley Were Both Right, but Huxley Was Much Righter

How accurate is Orwell's externally imposed oppression? He's part right: We experience externally imposed robbery constantly but it is only oppressive when we become aware of it. Our rights and privacy have been robbed by the Patriot Act and the NSA, and our wealth is being robbed by the Shadow Government oligarchs who also rob us of our democracy in a subtle enough manner so that we don't notice it. See Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power and Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.

Here an NSA thug is burning the Constitution—our rights and privacy are a joke to them
Here an NSA thug is burning the Constitution—our rights and privacy are a joke to them

The U.S.'s ambitions have outgrown its capabilities and resources. And we should never forget that these "ambitions" are NOT those of the American people, nor are they the desires of the bulk of our elected leaders and representatives. They are the sick obsessions of the shadow government neocons—the empire builders who want to have it all (for themselves) AT OUR EXPENSE! And elected leaders and representatives simply lack the courage to represent their constituents and restrain these imperialist wackos from their empire building actions. See Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire.

The NSA is also developing another tool that Orwell’s Thought Police might have found useful—an artificial intelligence system designed to know what people are thinking
The NSA is also developing another tool that Orwell’s Thought Police might have found useful—an artificial intelligence system designed to know what people are thinking


The NSA is monitoring everyone everywhere like Big Brother—good-bye privacy!
The NSA is monitoring everyone everywhere like Big Brother—good-bye privacy!


Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!
Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!

No Wonder the Public Seems So Confused and Nothing Ever Changes—They're Choking on Misinformation

The U.S. has for the last century been a country more and more dependent on propaganda to pacify its ignorant citizens. From 1915 on, the news the public heard—and later saw—was more and more filtered by shadow government elites and the CIA so that only reports with the elites' blessings got to the masses. See Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion, Propaganda, and Fake News: How Propaganda Influenced the 2016 Election, A Historical Comparison to 1930's Germany.

No wonder the public seems so confused and nothing ever changes. They're choking on misinformation that comes their way via political manipulation of citizens and via the Culture War!
No wonder the public seems so confused and nothing ever changes. They're choking on misinformation that comes their way via political manipulation of citizens and via the Culture War!


The public has been drinking the Kool-Aid so long it is sure the propaganda must be true. Most could barely conceive of the idea of how much they've been duped!
The public has been drinking the Kool-Aid so long it is sure the propaganda must be true. Most could barely conceive of the idea of how much they've been duped!


American Empire building is mostly a way to pull cash from our wallets that they stick into oligarchs' pockets
American Empire building is mostly a way to pull cash from our wallets that they stick into oligarchs' pockets

Google's Threat to Democracy Has Hit AlterNet and Other Progressive News Sites Hard

"Google's Threat to Democracy Hits AlterNet Hard. In late June, Google introduced a new algorithm aimed to fight fake news. It sounded like a good idea—until it became clear that Google was targeting progressive news sites fighting racism and fake news. Many progressive sites were hit, but none more than AlterNet, which lost 2.4 million readers this summer, compared with the past two-and-a-half years. That's a lot of lost impact." Please DONATE to this wonderful site before democracy, freedom, freedom of the press, privacy, and rights all go the way of the dodo bird (an extinct flightless bird).

It would help a lot if Google got letters and calls explaining that Alternet.org has the realest news in the U.S. and that fake news most often comes from the mainstream media or actual fake news sites built in Second or Third World countries (e.g., Macedonia) to exploit Google for money, and not from progressive sites like AlterNet.org. Tell them that opinions unpopular with the mainstream media are MORE likely to be real news than those expressed on the mainstream media, which consistently sells out to untrue establishment propaganda generated by greedy, misguided neocons. Alternet.org news is as real and worthy as it gets, and the people at Google need to readjust their algorithm on an emergency basis! Alternet.org does more to protect our democracy, freedom, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, privacy, and rights than all the mainstream media sites put together.


Google, Shockingly, Doesn't Understand How Journalism or Democracy Work

Google is a monopoly on steroids. They don't understand how journalism works. The true "watchdogs of democracy" will often express unpopular opinions that go against the government's party line. THIS MEANS THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOB, Google! As most of us know, the Kochs are spending huge fortunes to push climate denialism and Trump played right into their hands. So will this mean that Google will begin de-indexing environmentalism sites as fake news because Big Money is pressuring them to do so? Only denialism sites are real news and all else is fake news?! That is what will happen if Google keeps using their algorithm in its current biased, naive, reductionistic form to censor sites not oligarch-approved.

Cheney said stuff like Iraq has WMDs so let's go over and attack them, unprovoked. Let's start a war or they'll build nukes and soon there will be mushroom clouds over Manhattan!
Cheney said stuff like Iraq has WMDs so let's go over and attack them, unprovoked. Let's start a war or they'll build nukes and soon there will be mushroom clouds over Manhattan!

They really need to dump the ridiculous idea that non-mainstream opinions and unpopular opinions are fake news! Google, would you like a perfect example of fake news? "Iraq has WMDs so let's go over and attack them, unprovoked. Let's start a war or they'll build nukes and soon there will be mushroom clouds over Manhattan!" THAT, Google, is the truly fake news your algorithms need to catch. Or "Hillary is running sex rings from pizza parlors." That's another example. Please stop penalizing great sites like Alternet.org for doing what the mainstream media often just won't do—tell the truth in the post-truth era!

Googleplex-Patio-Aug-2014The Googleplex—Google's headquarters

Google is tromping on free speech and democratic dialog by killing off NON-mainstream positions. If Google doesn't believe in democracy—which utterly depends on a free press that expresses both popular AND UNPOPULAR social, cultural, and political positions to remain viable—then what DO they believe in? Google, please tell us all what your alternative is to a vibrant democracy where people are free to discuss whatever they want and blog about NON-mainstream political positions. Honest—we'd all love to hear it—and if the Founders were still alive, they'd like to hear it too. Note that when fascism occurs or 1984 begins or the rest of our rights disappear and we hear stormtroopers approaching our houses like in 1930s Germany, Google will have been one of the causes, since when democratic freedoms disappear, fascism will be quick to fill the void and Google's radical rightwing purge of progressive websites is the first carpet-bombing on their war on freedom and democracy. Nature abhors a vacuum. Political vacuums never persist.

Google, we and the Founders would love to hear what your alternative is to a vibrant democracy where people are free to discuss whatever they want and blog about NON-mainstream political positions
Google, we and the Founders would love to hear what your alternative is to a vibrant democracy where people are free to discuss whatever they want and blog about NON-mainstream political positions

Let's see: in 2016 Google is a search engine. In 2017 Trump assumes Presidency, and he hates progressive positions and freedom of the press. In mid-2017 Google becomes a propaganda engine since without the progressive sites it dumped from their indexes, they are no longer neutral as they claim—they're pushing a point of view, using their power to keep people from learning about non-mainstream points of view, censoring our news like in 1930s Germany when fascism dominated information distribution. Google pretended that dumping progressive or alternative opinions was related to dumping fake news, which is a baldfaced lie and they know it. Google doesn't seem to realize that the only hope the U.S. has to stay a free country is if we have access to progressive or alternative points of view. How in the world did a huge entity—Google—end up cowering in fear before a small insignificent entity—Trump? The whole thing seems like the launch of a fascist takeover of the U.S. but we keep hoping Google has more love of country than that, like we do. What gives, Google?

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-034-21, Warschau, Parade vor Adolf Hitler
If we ever lose our alternative media websites and publishers like Aternet.org, or if we let Trump's demagoguery get out of control, all is lost and fascistic stormtroopers will be goosestepping their way to our door

The end result of the Party in power dictating search results (by having only government approved CW opinions findable) would closely resemble the Orwell novel 1984 as well as the fascist evolution of 1930s Germany. Google's equating CW (conventional "wisdom") with truth or bizarrely deciding that not towing the party line was the same as being a dirty liar deserving de-indexing would signal the death rattle to freedom of the press and soon democracy itself. See Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion and Democracy—an American Delusion.

The greed of a few are dictating the misery of the many and the utter failure of democracy as a system of governance—the elites are burying democracy 6 feet under
The greed of a few are dictating the misery of the many and the utter failure of democracy as a system of governance—the elites are burying democracy 6 feet under

Postman thinks of technopoly as "the totalitarian submission of all forms of cultural life to the sovereignty of technology and technique." If the government desires our culture to submit to totalitarian intentions wonderfully enabled and empowered by the Search Engine of the Party, the Googlemonster that has convinced itself that various points of view are bad for the Party and only the CW of the mainstream media is fit to be discovered in searches, then the truths represented by the banned progressive sites will find themselves so marginalized that the citizenry will soon have no idea that varying points of view even exist, and the mainstream media will present a caricature of diversity of opinion. It will be two versions of the CW that are virtually identical. This happened in Germany when alternatives to the Nazi point of view were brutally stamped out and declared illegal or treasonable. Google uses not physical violence but existential violence. Making a website or blog cease to be found is equivalent to making it viruually cease to exist. Is our country's love of democracy so puny and weak that we will allow a Brave New World propaganda engine to rule what we can find? A propaganda engine is a search engine minus a point of view they do not like: progressivism, and alternative political viewpoints to the lies told by neocon politicians.

Is our country's love of democracy so puny and weak that we will allow a Brave New World propaganda engine rule what we can find? A World Values Survey found that democracy isn't nearly as popular as it used to be and acceptance of authoritarianism is rising sharply
Is our country's love of democracy so puny and weak that we will allow a Brave New World propaganda engine rule what we can find? A World Values Survey found that democracy isn't nearly as popular as it used to be and acceptance of authoritarianism is rising sharply

So if we are willing to have the Google God tell us what to think and learn, does that mean we've switched our allegience from our leaders and churches to this Brave New World propaganda engine, or that we still are loyal to the U.S. oligarchy but accept Google as our determiner of truth, reality, and worthiness? Are we, in essence, saying we are willing to have them do our thinking for us? See Is Google God?

When Google and the corporatocracy prevail, democracy takes it on the chin
When Google and the corporatocracy prevail, democracy takes it on the chin

To support our point that democracy is dead when the holders of the keys to the knowledge kingdom dump progressive knowledge to please the government, the more rightwing elements of their advertisers, the CIA, the shadow government, and the morons that equate progressivism with fake news, note that there are 106,000,000 SERP results for "google god" and other search terms implying that Google is God, but progressive sites are getting either partially or entirely de-indexed. Apparently both Trump and the propaganda engine Google share the same egomaniacal delusions of grandeur. Wouldn't it be more reasonable to re-index progressive sites and de-index the delusional sites that use blasphemy and think it is funny? Actually, to be a true search engine and not a propaganda engine, Google needs to leave the google=god stuff indexed AND the progressive stuff indexed, since, however distasteful to some, blasphemous points of view are legitimate points of view to those of us who happen to believe in a little thing called democracy, freedom of speech, and the First Amendment.


Postman Couldn't (because he published the book in 1992) Notice What the Technopoly Monster—Google—Is Doing to Democracy and Press Freedom and the First Amendment

Postman, stating the obvious, says that science and techology are the chief instruments of progress. They are also the chief instruments underlying the creation and success of Google. Isn't it a bit hypocritical to de-index progressive ideas like those found on Alternet.org or this site? Isn't it biting the hand that feeds them or cutting off their noses to spite their faces? It was the progressive era of science that was the true mother of Google. Why would it occur to them or anyone to jail or kill their own mother? As we've proven, the corporatocracy's megacorporation called Google shows no sign whatever that it understands progress, progressivism, journalism, free speech, censorship, propaganda, or democracy. Can Google people truly be this ignorant and uninformed? Do they really only undertand search engine stuff and are otherwise a bunch of silly, drooling morons? And yet big G founder Sergey Brin famously suggested that “the perfect search engine would be the mind of God.”

Google shows no sign whatever that it understands progress, progressivism, journalism, free speech, censorship, propaganda, or democracy. Can Google people truly be this ignorant and uninformed? Do they really only undertand search engine stuff and are otherwise a bunch of silly, drooling morons?
Google shows no sign whatever that it understands progress, progressivism, journalism, free speech, censorship, propaganda, or democracy. Can Google people truly be this ignorant and uninformed? Do they really only undertand search engine stuff and are otherwise a bunch of silly, drooling morons?

Postman sees the idea of human progress to create a better life for us all—as sought after by Bacon—as having been replaced by the idea of technological progress. The aim is not humanistic—to reduce ignorance, strife, suffering, and superstition. The aim is to accommodate ourselves to the requirements of new technologies. And in so doing, of course, the tech empire kings will exact prices from us at every turn as ads draw us in, as we consume via ecommerce, as subscripions are purchased, as ebooks are bought . . . ad infinitum. Since Jobs told Woz "let's sell this thing" (1970s early Apple II, it launched the personal computer industry), and Gates made his fabulous deal with naive IBM execs, and Jobs sold the world a phone there was no real market for until he created it—creating it as he went, telling people what they wanted and needed and sure enough, they all suddenly needed that iPhone! Smartphone indeed! Jobs was smart squared.


We and Postman Find Ourselves Questioning Life Quality in a Technopoly

This, then, is one of the requirements of new technologies: for us consumer suckers to spend like drunken sailors. Humanism be damned—this was capitalism at its best: Invent new tech and sell it, then invent new software to operate on this tech and sell it, then create apps and sell them, then sell peripheral devices like DVD players, thumbdrives, earphones, and webcams, with each entrepreneurial success spawning dozens more. Do the techno-mess orgy and its accomplices create a better life for us? A busier, more expensive life full of TV/laptop/cell phone sound and fury but signifying nothing, to be sure. But a BETTER life? Ouch!

Your first instinct upon seeing this questioning of life quality is to mentally list all the great tech stuff you have. And that's Postman's point—culture HAS surrendered to technology—we're all running around chasing shiny objects. We're addicted. Every day we shoot up another tech fix and have little idea what we'd do with ourselves if there wasn't tech to distract us—surely we'd tremble and shake and scream for a fix, as addicts usually do. As Postman says in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, When Everything Becomes Entertainment, Where Does the Serious Stuff Fit In?

Your first instinct upon seeing this questioning of life quality is to mentally list all the great tech stuff you have. And that's Postman's point—culture HAS surrendered to technology—we're all running around chasing shiny objects.
Your first instinct upon seeing this questioning of life quality is to mentally list all the great tech stuff you have. And that's Postman's point—culture HAS surrendered to technology—we're all running around chasing shiny objects.

The techno-mess orgy and its accomplices do not create a better life for us. A more distracted life where we are too busy being entertained to relate to friends or family, yes. A more escapist life in which we are so busy vicariously living through characters playing parts in movies or video games to have any time to stop and smell the roses or think about serious subjects, yes. A more consumption based life where we experience emotions that tell us we are alienated from each other and reality so to escape the pain of this we consume a few things we do need and a lot of things we don't need, yes.

The tech sellers and their accomplices laugh all the way to the bank as they monetize our unhappiness, our depression, our alienation, our confusion, our loneliness. Their formula for success is to monetize every part of life, and then to increase profits, make life even less emotionally satisfying so we'll use consumption to dull the pain. Look at the epidemic of obesity that manifests people using food to dull the pain. People with all the latest tech use entertainment to dull the pain. The opioid epidemic shows how people use Big Pharma to dull the pain. But must life be a pain to dull? Where is the BETTER life in all this? Folks, we're being duped. Led down the garden path.

The tech sellers cash in as people with all the latest tech use entertainment to dull the pain. Where is the BETTER life in all this? Folks, we're being duped. Led down the garden path.
The tech sellers cash in as people with all the latest tech use entertainment to dull the pain. Where is the BETTER life in all this? Folks, we're being duped. Led down the garden path.

A better life would have more love, more friends, deeper relationships, happier families, better jobs, safer neighborhoods and communities. Much of the technology boom actually diminished our lives, as people got even more lonely than they had been on Facebook and people unsuccessfully attempted to use cybercommunities as a replacement for real irl f2f communities, and everyone in families had their own computers, TVs and smartphones in their own rooms and no one talked to any other family member, and friends stopped being with friends but instead texted and video-chatted with them, and, finally, education failed as kids in classrooms got so busy obsessing on text messaging that they never heard a word the teachers were saying. See Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? and Why Do We Need Communities?. And if you'd just love to know how the BETTER life described above could be attained, please see The Forest Through The Trees and the better life.

A better life would have more love, more friends, deeper relationships, happier families, better jobs, safer neighborhoods and communities
A better life would have more love, more friends, deeper relationships, happier families, better jobs, safer neighborhoods and communities