Communication and Technology – A Response Paper
Summarizing the three articles centers around the primary focus on "Industrial Society and Its Future" by Theodore Kaczynski making this one person's view of how technology in the modern world is restrictive on freedom the framework of all three articles authors' views. The claims of Kaczynski as well as Illich author of Tools of Conviviality, and Schumacher author of Small is Beautiful proclaims how modern technology continues ruining the planet's environment and humanity in general. The message of the Kaczynski article in particular, professes how this ongoing modern technology is the cause of countless types of humanity's suffering. According to the three articles, humanity continues being too involved socially and greatly overstressed by the way modern technology effects how people are with one another.
These articles continue explaining that humanity finds itself at a crossroads particularly in the view of Kaczynski, where the choice must turn society back to the more simple time of happiness or the destruction of humanity is evident. The main message of these articles is how again, Kaczynski in particular, argues about the loss of freedom because of modern technology. He lists how the complexity of existing modern technological systems make it necessary – it even forces people to turn over their personal freedoms. The only way to return to a more free time is the return to a time with as little or even no technology exists.
Clearly, these authors make an argument about humanity turning back to a less technical time with Kaczynski's hope that anyone reading his article will see the message about the loss of freedom this technologically based world continues causing. These articles in their own manner make a plea about the way humanity exists without freedom. This, according Kaczynski (1995) because everything relies on technology they will form a great social movement that stands for what he calls "an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial system (p. 21)."
Reading "Industrial Society and Its Future" by Theodore Kaczynski, Illich's Tools of Conviviality, and Schumacher's Small is Beautiful, all prove intellectual views of the impact of technology on humanity. While few may debate, his intelligence nonetheless the way his mind works in general does not make sense. Most of what Illich and Schumacher write is a calmer view of the subject while Kaczynski writes insulting attacks about groups he provides no clear definition. Of the three articles, clearly, Kaczynski's text requires having to get through both sociological and philosophical figures of speech to realize, his argument again, makes no sense. Reading Kaczynski reminds of other writings like Marx, and the world knows the great 20th century, experiment in communism was full of problems so down comes, the government of the Soviet Union by its own people. The point is what Kaczynski writes is not new, original, and repeats the ideas of how industry exploits nature and turns humanity into an alienated pack of lost souls. Here, Illich (1975) agrees to some extent. He writes, "As the power of machines increases, the role of persons more and more decreases to that of a mere consumer (p. 11)."
Illich (1975) expounds on the realities of technology far more creatively than Kaczynski. His description of the opposite of productivity in the term of conviviality is according to his description and intention is "to mean autonomous and intercourse among persons with their environment" Like Kaczynski, but in a more organized point of view Illich (1975) explains, "I believe that, in any society, as conviviality is reduced below a certain level, no amount of industrial productivity can effectively" meet society's needs created by technology (p. 11).
Kaczynski attempt to go over this old material in a new manner he calls the "power process." Here he tries presenting the disruption of the world because of modern technology. The claim he presents is how the natural "drives" of men become replaced by industrial society's synthetic drives. This is because the "system" replacement – or displacement – then produces this type of emptiness of the spirit that is not only dangerous but could be fatal (1995, p. 4).
Perhaps Schumacher (1989) takes a kinder approach to technology in his point of view that in part mirrors Kaczynski's view of the threat of technology to nature and humanity. Schumacher (1989) writes, "The modern world has been shaped by its metaphysics, which has shaped its education, which in turn has brought forth its science and technology." Schumacher (1989) then poses a far more realistic view about humanity and technology. He thinks if whatever shapes technology begins looking "sick" maybe "it might be wise to have a look at technology itself." The advice Schumacher (1989) offers about any threat to society coming from technology then "we might do well to consider whether it is possible to have something better – a technology with a human face (p. 155)."
A main issue of the entire Kaczynski argument about humanity and the so-called threat of technology and its by-products affecting the morality of humanity comes across as more ranting without substance. The only recourse to his vision of the world changing from the curse of technology and there is no other rationale except for humanity's return to its primitive state, which itself, when explored and intellectually analyzed has its own set of undesirable realities like rampant disease, starvation, and anarchy.
Jones (2006) in his book "Against Technology – From the Luddites to Neo-Luddism" is also a comparative reading to the article in question and discusses in a more realistic manner – including the ironies of laptops in backpacks of those who support Kaczynski's view. Jones (2006), talks about the terrorism of computer hackers ability to disrupt this global system. Jones (2006) who calls the Kaczynski the just as well-known name of Unabomber talks about his view of the article or "manifesto" as "symptomatic, no so much of its author's personal pathologies as of the driving assumptions behind a great deal of twentieth century neo-Luddism (p. 224)."
Finally, the author's obvious struggle with his perception of the existence of some superior law on how humans should live – possibly, he means the "good life" – in comparison to what he views as humanity's advanced society placing more demands on people. These demands on people, according to the author do not result in helpful contact with one another so society becomes the better but, rather, what contact people have within this demanding world results in influencing people away from living an ethical life
Response to the Chapter Readings
The three chapters of this week's class reading increased the ability to understand the
"Industrial Society and Its Future" by Theodore Kaczynski, Illich's Tools of Conviviality, and Schumacher's Small is Beautiful, from the point of view of particularly, the readings of Chapter Five about Luddism, Appropriate Technology, and the Unabomber (Kaczynski) defines what Kaczynski again, in particular, is about. "To be labeled a Luddite, is to be accused of being rabidly and ignorantly anti-technology and ant progress (p. 68)."
Throughout Chapter 5, a clearer picture emerges of what lay behind the rationale of someone ascribing to this type of philosophy. Of course, Kaczynski stands for nothing more in the end but a cowardly act of terrorist murderer. Moving forward, to Chapter 6, and the topic of "Appropriate Technology" (AT) - the explanation of this concept describes how it "rejects the idea and practice of large-scale, industrial mega technology as indicative of progress" In this, "Appropriate Technology" is about recognizing the "integral nature of technology in the quality of everyday life (p. 75)."
The examples of the kinds of AT such as railroads and dams creating better society has a legitimate logic than the Luddism view falls dead. Of the readings, this Chapter speaks a more intellectual and responsible message of technology being (again) the tool of humankind. The discussion in this chapter about the strengths and weaknesses of AT provides the opportunity for contemplating the true condition of technology's impact on humanity.
The final chapter on the Unabomber is of course, the dissection of Kaczynski's beliefs as the Unabomber, his motivations and his insanity. Killing is never the answer. What this chapter does provide in a more productive view is as the author puts it, "to provide readers some tools for recognizing" the effect of technology on culture and every living of humanity. In addition, to recognize "what is legitimate in the Unabomber's complaint, but incorporate it into a world view" providing understanding the complexities of a technological society with what actions humans has (p. 89).
Illich, I. (1975). Tools of Conviviality. Harper and Row.
Jones, S. (2006). Against Technologies: From the Luddites to Neo-Luddism. Routlage.
Kaczynski, T. (1995). The Industrial Society and Its Future.
Schumacher, E. F. (1989). Small is Beautiful. London: Blond and Briggs,