I think my eyes are about to fall out after reading that piece about technique on my machine…
So…technique is used to represent the word technology and the word science (as stated on p. 11). Interesting…and all the more confusing to me.
I pulled several quotes from the reading, and thought I would reflect briefly on them:
“…technique has taken over all of man’s activities, not just his productive activity.” (p. 4)
I found this particular quote very interesting, assuming in this quote that technique can be replaced with the word technology. Every where we look today there is technology, everything we do is lead by or improved by some type of technology. I find it hard to think of an activity that involves technology that doesn’t improve our productivity because in many cases it makes most events take less time. I was trying to think of a simple activity that did not have to do with productivity, and considered something like taking a shower. While taking shower doesn’t directly relate to productivity, the ways in which the shower have been improved make it possible to take a shower in less time (we no longer have to wait to heat the water, it’s already done through technology). So because I spend less time taking a shower I can complete other tasks or more tasks than I could in the past.
“‘The machine is antisocial,’ says Lewis Mumford.”
When I read this quote, the first that comes to mind for me is social networking, not really an antisocial tool, though some may argue that social interactions that take place via the computer are not as meaningful as those in a face-to-face interaction. However, as I pointed out in a previous post, I keep in touch with a lot more people because of technology and the machine, in this case, my computer. I find the machine can be a social tool.
“It is efficient and brings efficiency to everything.”
This relates mostly to my first point about thinking technology improves many activities, many of the improvements are improvements on the efficacy of things. This leads to efficiency in all fields.
“The discovery enters the public domain before anyone has had a chance to reckon all the consequences or to recognize its full import.”
Someone made a similar statement about not taking into consideration all the effects a certain technology might have on society, but even if they did, you can’t predict every one. I think it was Andy, but I’ll have to go back and review to double check. I thought it was interesting that it came up again.
“…a need to hold that technical progress is unconditionally valid-which leads to the selection of the most positive aspect of technical progress, as though it were its only one.”
This statement made me realize that not all technology is good, but many of us always try to see the good in technology fir before we consider any consequences that may come as a result of it being introduced to our society.
an entire realm of effects of technique-indeed, the largest-is not reducible to numbers;
Because we can not quantify the success of some technology, we can not always describe it’s effect on our society. However, most times those are the elements we remember most or those that are used most often to convince us that a technology is good or necessary.
“…gathering of fruit among primitive peoples-climbing the tree, picking the fruit as quickly and with as little effort as possible, distinguishing between the ripe and the unripe fruit, and so on. However, what characterizes technical action within a particular activity is the search for greater efficiency. Completely natural and spontaneous effort is replaced by a complex of acts designed to improve, say, the yield. It is this which prompts the creation of technical forms, starting from simple forms of activity. These technical forms are not necessarily more complicated than the spontaneous ones, but they are more efficient and better adapted.”
I found this quote fascinating and so true. We are always looking to improve the way that we do things so that they can take as little time, effort, thought, etc. as possible
Here we find the supreme Greek virtue…self-control. The rejection of technique was a deliberate, positive activity involving self-mastery, recognition of destiny, and tlle application of a given conception of life. Only the most modest techniques were permitted-those which would respond directly to material needs in such a way that these needs did not get the upper hand.
I feel that the use of many technologies today requires self-control, while it’s easier for me to email a colleague or do something via “machine,” sometimes it’s necessary to exert that self-control and go have a conversation with somebody to keep those social interactions alive.
More later…need coffee 🙂