My name is Michael Phillip; I’m a 35-year-old electrical engineer returning to school to scratch an itch. I recently began writing poetry and found a joy I didn’t know existed. I want to develop my poetry and overall writing ability in a more structured environment. This new interest is very surprising to my family, friends, and me; I was always the analytical-numbers child who was destined for a life in science or engineering – writing was never an interest of mine.
I find this course to be rather poignant since I’m already in a technological profession. I’m looking forward to the differing perspective of technology and language from, what Sir Charles Snow calls, “humanist” (Postman xi) as I’m a “scientist” (Postman xi) by training. I still do not have the course packet and cannot give any perspectives of its contents; the printing facility closed early on Friday. Never the less, I was able to use some wonderful twenty first century technology to acquire the requisite readings for last week and this week. I currently don’t have any questions, and I hope I’ve completed the requirements of the first post.
Neil Postman’s Technopoly attempts to make the case for “…when, how, and why technology became a particularly dangerous enemy” (Postman xii). In the first chapter titled “The judgment of Thamus” , Postman argues there are two sides to technological advancement: Technology can make a positive contribution to people’s lives, or it can have negative consequences. Postman’s salient point is technological development must be analyzed from both its positive and negative contributions to society. This analysis must be performed prior to the adoption of technology; however, in most societies, especially within the U.S., there exist a hyper acceptance of technology without the requisite cost-benefit analysis. This technological adoption is often times embraced by the people who will suffer most. Postman believes technophobic criticism is required to keep societies “eyes wide open” (Postman 7) before and during the adoption of any new innovation.
I believe there is significant truth to Postman’s arguments in “The judgment of Thamus”. I can see quite clearly in my own life. My parents are able to memorize the phone numbers of every family member, friend, or colleague with such ease; on the other hand, I can’t even remember my own phone number. I’m no longer able to navigate certain neighborhoods as I’ve developed a reliance on our society’s GPS systems, even if I return there routinely. I’ve observed how certain adult topics or ideas are routinely viewed by children too young to understand what they are seeing on both television and the internet. Also, I can’t help but notice similarities between Postman’s argument of modern society begetting fewer children as mortality rates have declined and the increased occurrence of autism. I have no idea if there is a correlation between the two, but – as Postman would say – the question needs to be asked.