While reading Postman’s essay, I’ve discovered several key points in his argument that creates his stance, and, what I believe to be his center of discussion. Postman uses the story of Thamus (a king from Upper Egypt), to disprove that there is no concrete rule on the good, bad and the ugly of technology. He goes on to describe how Thamus’ statements are lacking in true understanding. Postman announces that Thamus has failed to acknowledge the benefits of technology, and that in any perspective, it shouldn’t be looked at with tunnel vision. Thamus strongly believed that technology, specifically writing, would make people ignorant and give them a false sense of superiority and wisdom. He went on to argue that it is not how much information a man is given that makes him wise, but his use of “internal resources”, which I assume to be life experiences and innate intelligence. I do believe that while Postman may have had personal opinions about the advancement of technology, one thing seemed to be constant in his argument: technology was neither all good or all bad, nor could it be predicted and foreseen.
My ideas about the essay are quite similar to that of Postman, but I honestly see more of my stance in Thamus’ argument. We currently live in a world where we have an abundance of information. So much so, that we truly do not know what to do with it. We do not see how important, nor do we care to utilize most of the information for good. It’s just there for us to use at our own leisure, or when it’s absolutely necessary. It’s no longer a way of life as it was years ago. For example, one may not know a thing about the political processes or about the government. However, with the simple click of a button, a person can log onto a computer and spend maybe a day or two catching up on information, and then find themselves in the middle of a passionate and informational debate. On the other hand, a person could’ve studied politics for years, and may have even put in a lot more work and research. This work could’ve been accomplished through speaking with politicians, writing a book, attending functions and more. In an instant, this person’s wisdom will unfortunately be compared to someone who merely spent 48 hours researching their information on the internet and solely retained the information for the debate. It gives people a false sense of pride, superiority and wisdom.
While watching the first part of The Corporation, a point that stood out to me was when society was compared to the story of Frankenstein. This analogy was perfectly suited for the world we live in today. A society where we have created our own “monster”. The Corporation discusses the monopolization of businesses in the modern world and the things they do to remain on top. I was actually saddened by the lust, for lack of a better word, that human beings have for superiority and control. The exploitation of peoples of other cultures truly disgusted me, especially how disposable they seemed to all be. The Corporation, which is recognized as a mortal person, was made to out to be a heartless person whose sole focus is leeching off of the backs of the less fortunate and self-preservation.
I’ve noticed quite a few comparisons between the documentary and Postman’s essay. As I stated above, in The Corporation, society and their monopolies were compared to the story of Frankenstein. It was described as a society that created its own “monster”. Thamus’ argument was that people will use the discovery as writing as a way to propel themselves into an entitled and undeserving sense of wisdom and superiority. This will create people who are not truly wise, but people who have simply retained or “recollected” information for application when necessary, which he thought was “ignorant”. In The Corporation, society has developed somewhat of a lack of humanity when it comes to propelling their businesses into mega entities. Everyone is disposable, and their main focus is making money and making sure those that work for them are doing the same. It gives them a false sense of power, when in reality, they truly don’t know what it takes to become powerful outside of riding the backs of innocent people.