Ivan Illich said in his interview with David Cayley
that there is a type of tool where you cannot the envision user as separate from the tool, they become a new and indivisible cybernetic organism. A good term for that is technology, which we know to separate mentally from the screwdrivers and saws of old. You can see the youth pulled into their cellphones, Ipods, computers and video games. They are pulled into a different world, and you cannot get their full attention. Alot of times, I find it happening to myself, I am using the computer and it takes my whole attention as I have to keep my mind on the output of the screen and inputs of the keyboard and mouse, so I ignore everything else around me. People talk to me, and I cannot respond, though on some level I think I already did, or wish to respond. This modern tech is qualitatively different than the tools of old, like a hammer. Most modern people spend many hours in such digital trances before glowing screens. It does a number on anyone's mental acuity, and thus most people are imbecilized. Like I said before, forget dharma, anything requiring single pointed focus is harder for the new technological man, he is not adapted for such tasks.
I was taking the piss out of you. I see you're from JerZ - in more local colloquial terms, "I'm fuc-in with you." ... - unless of course that's who you really are and you really do communicate like that without any irony - in that case...
Not just histrionics but lots of angst, and cheap castigation. Irony doesn't translate to the internet: 1) people on the net are not even acquaintances, 2) tonality, gesture and facial expression are lost.
Holden Caufield, is that you?
I had to laugh at that, since that is what I just read recently. However I am nothing like Holden who was quite base and a drinker.
A lot of people here probably sympathize with the gist of what you are writing. But, when you sound like an ureformed, foaming at the mouth marxist - you play up to a caricature that very, very few in the grownup world can take seriously, and if they do, its because they're miserable misanthropes, or at least tend to speak and think like one, like you apparently do.
By grownup world
I take it you mean middle class white professionals. I figure alot of them are getting ready for ski season, since there has not been alot of snow in my area. It is a good chance right now to display your wealth by helping subsidize artificial snow on the mountains, not to mention all the travel costs and hotel expenses. As Thorstein Veblen
observed, many people like to peacock
their social station by wasting as much resources in wanton ways as they can given their recompense. When I was younger I could have maybe believed nonsense like what you preached above. However, people will be who and what they were before they met you, long after they met you. What tone I adopt, which is lesser than your vitriol, does not have the power to transform others. What is inside them decides that. It is not a failure of a messenger that people don't come to realizations or change who they are. Maybe you can say it is a failure for a father, how his son turned out. But it is ridiculous to say I as a forumer, fail for what other forumers get or don't get out of life and its interactions.
Believe it or not, some of us folks have a few years on you - some of us were actually alive when Ellul published "The Technological Society" and have been aware of the problems you point to in the world around us - call it modernity or whatever - since you were grabbing for your mommy's teet, and when we were raising our fists, screaming about injustice and covering the back of our beat-up old civic in political bumper stickers, there were old timers who had been at it already for a long time, too. Look, some of us have lived our adult lives keenly aware of these problems and have been trying to do something about them - despite their overwhelming scale.
I don't see people in this thread being terribly familiar with all the numerous critiques of modernity, or how because you were alive when someone wrote something, you know what he wrote. Infact all the worse, you have been alive far longer and refuse to see the even greater changes which unfolded in your lifetime. I remember when I was younger that kids my age actually went outside in the late 80's and 90's, but now American children are largely shut-ins. They are totally engulfed by the technoculture, whereas my peers were only partially so. Another aspect is that Americans have no social trust to allow their children out, because every life process has been monetized. They haven't needed their neighbors for socialization or anything, and now they no longer trust the neighborhood.
Everyone can see the fruits of the baby boomer generation or those close to them like you. They had lots of so called ideals during the 60's, which they just gave up or traded for the pursuit of wealth. Also age does not give one wisdom anymore, not at this level of modernity. All people do, whether young or old is use money to insulate themselves from as much of life as they can and to procure their needs. Someone older is just a different consumer demographic, not necessarily someone who possess superior wisdom or experience. The old are for the nursing homes, care facilities and Florida(for non-Americans: popular retirement destination), nowadays.
Kristof, the author of the column I linked to, is one of these people. Admittedly, he is a softie; he has a great heart but is also in my view, a bit naive.
No the article was just bad, these comments from readers sum it up best:
NYTimes comments wrote:
David, Hebron, CT
I have seldom seen such complete nonsense written in the comments for a NYT article. In an IQ test the mean score within an age group is set to 100. Always.
Let me repeat - on average the average IQ is 100. It has to be. That's what it means.
And tests are time specific - you can certainly give a 75 year old test to modern persons, but it is meaningless to infer changes in ability to differences in scores. You simply must always normalize the scores so that the mean score within an age group is set to 100.
...Jonathan Staebler, Nissequogue, LI, NYT Pick
Bravo, Kristof, for bringing the Flynn effect to people's attention. And bravissimo for pointing out that IQ is "a rubbery and imperfect metric." I've read a couple of Flynn's books and even he concedes this point. In fact, it may well be that IQ tests are entirely worthless: imagine if someone you don't know were to invite you to take a test. What test, you ask? Well, a warzel test. What does it measure? It measures warzel, obviously. How was it put together? That's secret. What is its purpose? To classify you. What will be the result of classification? It depends; if you do poorly, reduced access to good education and a lifetime of discrimination. How will it be scored? That's secret, too.
And that's an IQ test.
I am happy to see you calling out Buddhists who use dharma and practice as means of escape - in my estimation, our kindred have been calling out fellow dharma seekers in a similar manner, possibly since the beginning, agitating for a more "engaged" practice.
The point is, don't be such a dick and let's see what we can do to heal this world.
The more I am on this forum, the more I am convinced I am dealing with fairly typical Westerners who use dharma to become what they think is a better Westerner. Modern people cannot heal this world. Back to escapism: I just saw another JRR Tolkien sourced film. Westerners know well how that fictional universe functions thanks to director Peter Jackson, however they don't know and want to know much about the actually lived realm, the purposes of the social institutions they interact with and their true functions. Because if they did, they would have stop their whole life trajectory up to this point and stop co-operating. Ignorance is the grease that allows them to continue to be gears in the machine of technological domination.