Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Where's the Technocriticism?

I realize that to the extent that Amor Mundi could be said to have anything like a loyal readership it would consist of people drawn to my more technocentric technoprogressive technocritical writing.

Just like last year about this time I am teaching intensives in Summer Sessions here at Cal and it is a real sponge of my time and attention -- with the added problem this time around that I am responding to my Committee's editorial suggestions for this blasted dissertation and trying to finish everything in time to file ahead of going on the job market. As you see, I'm posting more conventional political commentary these days rather than the more technocentric stuff that interests me (and most of you) most, just because it is so much easier to toss off.

But, be assured, posts on chimeras, prostheticizing consent, nanoscale social democracy, peer-to-peer social service provision, proportionate precaution as a democratizing framework for developmental deliberation, vegetarian cyborgs, and why Battlestar Galactica threatens patriarchy more appealingly than any show in living memory will all find their way to Amor Mundi soon enough.

And speaking of "Amor Mundi" -- the personal motto of the incomparable philosopher Hannah Arendt to whom this blog is dedicated -- Arendt's new book The Promise of Politics, never before published in anything like its full form, will arrive at long last later this month to fill the gap in my Arendt shelf between The Origins of Totalitarianism and The Human Condition. I've got the book on order and will likely have something to say about it here soon after I read it. More to come, but for now, probably mostly more current events....

1 comment:

Pace Arko said...

Well--you've got a loyal reader here, Dale.

I've been following speculations and news about transhuman technologies for many years now and I've always found the libertarian mindset of many transhuman advocates terribly smug. Their rants where always very alienating to me even though I acknowledged the validity of the emerging technology they discussed.

At the same time I was also very alienated with those fearful people on the far left, the deep ecologists, who had simply consigned all of science and technology to a dustbin.

Ever since I was a young physics major I missed the left's old perspective on science and technology--the Wellsian perspective. The belief that if we keep our wits and use it wisely, science can be a very powerful liberating social force--that it could elimate poverty, that it could heal the sick, that it could heal the planet, that it could reveal new wonders of the universe to us and maybe even slowly give us wisdom.

I guess the atomic bomb, Minimata, Bhopal and the Silent Spring destroyed that trust and optimism, and with good reason, but I was always sad to see it go.

It seems like almost no-one thinks this way anymore. I think it's time we revisit it. But this time, we remain mindful of the mistakes we made the last time we thought this way.

Your's and other's (Worldchanging springs to mind.) perspectives were very refreshing for me to discover.