Book Review: Technopoly

I finished the book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman last week. I was a little disappointed with this book, but I also recognize that I had very high expectations after reading Postman’s most popular book Amusing Ourselves to Death. And yet, this book still had much to offer. The premise of the entire book is a dissection of technology, and how it acts as a double-edged sword. What I mean with this is that with every advancement in technology, there is some sort of negative effect that comes along with it. Listen in on some words from Postman:

The Technopoly story is without a moral center. It puts in its place efficiency, interest, and economic advance. It promises heaven on earth through the conveniences of technological progress. It casts aside all traditional narratives and symbols that suggest stability and orderliness, and tell, instead, of a life of skills, technical expertise, and the ecstasy of consumption.

Throughout this book, it is not like Postman is trying to put a negative spin on technology. Rather he is proposing us to look deeper into the technologies we develop, and reflect upon them. The great myth of Technopoly is that to stay ahead, we can’t slow down enough to reflect on what we have. Postman says, that ‘time became an adversary over which technology could triumph. And this meant that there was no time to look back or to contemplate what was being lost.” The book raises an awareness of the side of technology that we often do not see – the drawbacks. This book makes one think about how our technologies affect our lives. One final quote from Postman:

New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop.

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One Response to Book Review: Technopoly

  1. Paul says:

    Technology in itself is not inherently good or bad, it is the application of technology which shows the negative/positive impact.

    We increasing use and think of technology as a vice of benefit when in actuality the usual outcome is fool’s gold.

    Does technology really improve communication? Relationships? Does instant access to information make us better thinkers? More inquisitive? Do I have more “time” because of technology or do I have more distractions (traps of busyness)?

    We have to be discerning as to how we “apply” technology and its control over us.

    I’ll have to add this book to my reading list.

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