A big chunk of this week’s popcorn entertainment comes from the writer Jonathan Franzen and his
wrath Guardian rant on perils of techno-consumerism as it’s summarised in the latest Ether. Franzen mentions the perils –
…And meanwhile the overheating of the atmosphere, meanwhile the calamitous overuse of antibiotics by agribusiness, meanwhile the widespread tinkering with cell nucleii, which may well prove to be as disastrous as tinkering with atomic nucleii. And, yes, the thermonuclear warheads are still in their silos and subs.
It’s ‘nuclei’, dude.
Franzen pays particular attention to social media that exacerbate our dehumanisation, he even goes as far as to express his discontent with Salman Rushdie using Twitter. Being the tradpub writer, Franzen has an ambigious relationship with Amazon. He states:
In my own little corner of the world, which is to say American fiction, Jeff Bezos of Amazon may not be the antichrist, but he surely looks like one of the four horsemen.
And that’s considering his new book is available for preorder on Amazon. Consistence issues?
What’s the technology to do with dehumanisation? If we abandoned technolgy – it’d be a Stone Age comeback. What is more dehumanising than returning to our troglodite roots?
Franzen’s essay is long yet I still don’t have the answer to my question, How is technoconsumerism driving us into apocalypse?
I mean everything has its downside, any technology can be used for good and for harm, it’s up to us, the society, to regulate its use. It’s called ethics and law. I don’t think technology can dehumanise us. It’s just a tool that we use to change our habitat and ourselves. It’s a part of our evolutionary process.
Any technology that does not fit well with our nature we rarely accept. Why do some gadgets, some design concepts fail? Because they are not user-friendly? Franzen’s Mac vs PC argument is ridiculous: who makes decision to buy computers based on TV ads? I think he’s missing a point here. Mac conquered the market once they became affordable mostly due to the seamless design and architecture of the Apple ecosystem.
Moving on. Social media is a human creation and I can’t see how it can dehumanise us if used in moderation. I know if one stays online for hours every day, this could lead to a neurosis. Apparently, common in teenagers. Well, the world has gone digital, we just need to further develop the digital milleu for our comfortable use. Nobody is saying that the digital revolution brought no problems, but was it evil?
In my opinion, scientific progress can both protect us from extinction or lead to one. It’s not evil in itself. We create tools and change our environment. And when I hear about technophob writers, I just want to suggest them to write their manuscripts long hand in the candle light and send their writing to the publisher with post riders.