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View Diary: The Wisdom of Deathbed (Nuclear) Conversion (39 comments)

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  •  hi Barath:-) actually that arguement doesn't work (1+ / 0-)
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    Imputing psychosocial values to technology is the logical error of anthropomorphizing.  

    Clinical psych calls objects of this type "complex equivalents."  Common examples include "the flag" and "marijuana," where the physical object becomes a symbol for an enormous load of attributed meaning that varies widely among individuals.  

    Since it's so inherently subjective, anthropomorphizing generates endless wrangling without conclusion, like arguing about angels dancing on pinheads.  That doesn't get us anywhere: it's a digression that can be put to great use by climate deniers and growthers.  

    When arguing technology it's best to stick to empirical facts that are not open to subjective interpretation.  Deniers will continue to deny facts but that tactic is more easily overcome.  

    By analogy, you wouldn't prosecute someone for "being a terrorist" because that can become a matter of interpretation.  Instead you'd prosecute them for "possession of explosives" because there is no interpretation possible: is the material an explosive?, and did the person have possession of it?  If so, the jury must convict.  Slam-dunk.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:08:54 PM PDT

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    •  I agree it's a wishy-washy point (1+ / 0-)
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      It's hard to make a firm point on the notion of anti-democratic technology, because it does have to do with human behavior rather than the technology itself.  I guess I'm influenced by Mander's writing about TV---that there is something about the way that medium is set up that makes it tend towards anti-democratic use.  Similarly, you could imagine that while technology doesn't have a specific leaning, the way people are likely to use it might have some specific bias. - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:45:06 PM PDT

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      •  the medium; and the nature of humans. (0+ / 0-)

        In the earliest days of television, AT&T proposed that it be treated like a common carrier: every locale would have X amount of broadcasting capacity on Y number of channels, and federal regulation would set the hourly rates for broadcasting on those channels.  This was called the "step into my telephone booth" model of TV (anyone can "put a dime in the slot" and broadcast to their community).  

        Under that model, where the carrier (AT&T) was entirely separated from the content (programming), TV would not have become a centralized medium of propaganda.  But there was too much money to be made following the "radio" model of privately-owned stations operating under FCC licenses, and the rest as they say is history.


        Ultimately we are dealing with the characteristics of human behavior, which is to say, biology and neurophysiology plus the influence of culture.  

        Humans are dissipative structures (energy converters that utilize ambient entropy to drive localized syntropy, per Prigogene, Order from Chaos and peer-reviewed papers).  Humans also seek to maximize their net energy gain from the ambient.  These two factors together drive most forms of technological progress.  But they also drive interpersonal exploitation from slavery to wage labor, and the exploitation of natural resources, and are key factors in overconsumption behavior.  

        Genetic selfishness, utilized by established churches as yet another entropy gradient to be harvested (in this case via control of sexuality), drives overpopulation.  This is highly visible in the propaganda of groups that urge higher birth rates to prevent "our people" from being "swamped" by "their people," something we see even in some European nations right now in the form of "baby bonuses" and so on.  

        Ultimately we are dealing with an evolutionary crisis that will be amplified by the coming evolutionary bottleneck.  The question is, what perishes and what persists?

        If what persists is a plutocratic neo-slave state with theocratic control of the culture, then humanity or what it becomes, will fail the cosmic darwin-test: they will spiral downward and back to the caves, fail to spread to other planets and star systems, and go extinct when some astronomical event destroys the Earth.

        If what persists is a more "enlightened" humanity operating on a sustainable footing, then there is a high probability that continued progress in science & technology will eventually result in spread to other planets and star systems: humanity and its distant descendants will pass the cosmic darwin-test and persist until the heat-death of the universe.  

        Ultimately that's what's at stake, and our lifetime is one of the turning points along that road.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:17:36 PM PDT

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