Thursday, January 17, 2008


The network begins at home. Isn't there MUCH more we can do to make the existing learning environments more social, collaborative and meaningful whether electricity is involved or not? Why do we constantly jump from melodramatic tales of school to some utopian world of online alchemy?

~ Gary Stager
The quote above is from a recent post by Stager at Stager-to-Go.

IMHO, these are essential questions that are increasingly being dismissed by technocrats and other true-believer change enthusiasts.

To once again quote Neil Postman in Informing Ourselves to Death:

Here is what Henry David Thoreau told us: "All our inventions are but improved means to an unimproved end." Here is what Goethe told us: "One should, each day, try to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it is possible, speak a few reasonable words." And here is what Socrates told us: "The unexamined life is not worth living." And here is what the prophet Micah told us: "What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?" And I can tell you -- if I had the time (although you all know it well enough) -- what Confucius, Isaiah, Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, Spinoza and Shakespeare told us. It is all the same: There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory.

Even the humblest cartoon character knows this, and I shall close by quoting the wise old possum named Pogo, created by the cartoonist, Walt Kelley. I commend his words to all the technological utopians and messiahs present. "We have met the enemy," Pogo said, "and he is us."

Are we hoping that technology will SAVE the world?

What IS progress?

Related Links:

Technological Singularity
Ethics of Technology


Joe Makley said...

I often think when we express such concerns we are holding up a straw dog, because most of the techo-zealots we know have the same concerns. I spend a lot of time trying to bring common sense to technology and sooth the hysteria and deflate the hype, but I am often labeled in the "pro-technology zealot" camp, just because that's the field in which I work... .

Jim Burke said...

You are correct, of course, Joe. Thanks for calling me on it.