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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> double-ended pen digest [byfield, cisler]
Carl Guderian on Sun, 7 Oct 2001 14:45:40 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> double-ended pen digest [byfield, cisler]


I think National Lampoon, the late and probably unlamented US humor
magazine, really deserves the credit for the best restatement of the
"double-edged sword theory." The theme of the January 1978 issue of
National Lampoon was "Technology - Poisonous Junk, Stuff That Blows Up,
and Large, Dangerous Things That Go Fast." I consider technology to be
more of a flying guillotine: useful and dangerous, but also with a
cheesy side (or a side of cheese fries).

Carl



nettime's_armchair_historian wrote:
> 
> Re: <nettime> Steven Levy: Tech's Double-Edged Sword
>      t byfield <tbyfield {AT} panix.com>
>      cisler <cisler {AT} pobox.com>
> 
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> Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2001 12:12:27 -0400
> From: t byfield <tbyfield {AT} panix.com>
> Subject: Re: <nettime> Steven Levy: Tech's Double-Edged Sword
> 
> geert {AT} xs4all.nl (Sat 10/06/01 at 10:15 PM +1000):
> 
> > What do nettimers think of the double-edged sword theory? The 'discovery'
> > that evil forces also use technology can hardly be called new. The rise of
> > this discourse tells more about the collective dream, uphold by so many,
> > that technology is something essentially good (which then suddenly, in a
> > shockwave, gets 'misused'). Technology criticism, for example the one
> > developed after Hiroshima, so dominant in the 20st century and particular in
> > the post World War II period, seems to be forgotton. The unwareness of this
> > rich tradition of thought by Bill Joy and now Steven Levy I find stunning.
> > Both can hardly be called anti-intellectuals. They are not ill-educated.
> > They are brilliant and have deep a deep understanding in information
> > technology and its broader science context. Is it a lack in humanities
> > knowledge? Have they never heard of the decades long struggles amongst
> > scientists about the ethics of science related to atomic power? Or the
> > enormous debates within cybernetic circles over exactly this issue in the
> > fifties? We cannot expect from 'leading' technologists (and their
> > journalists) to be aware of contemporary post-modern theory. Geek culture
> > has associated itself with New Age and science fiction, not with Zizek,
> > Butler and Negri. So be it. The least these thinkers could do is to show a
> > basic awareness of their own history. Perhaps that's too much to ask. I read
> > into the pop culture commentary below a cry for the need to teach the
> > philosophy of technology. Technology is sophisticated, so why shouldn't its
> > discourse? Geert
> 
> geert, maybe the best way to make clear to you why what you ask for
> is absurd would be to describe bachelard, theweleit, and flusser as
> 'americans.' obviously, they aren't americans. why, then, would you
> ask bill joy or steven levy to think like 'europeans'? they are not
> 'thinkers' in the sense that you mean at all: they're practitioners.
> one is a computer scientist, and one is a journalist. if you really
> think that an american who's written a book is therefore a 'thinker'
> by european standards, you're, uh, missing out. (please remember--i
> know it can be hard for europeans to grasp this--that being a think-
> er doesn't have anything to do with writing a good book, or even an
> excellent or useful or enduring book.)
> 
> in the US we have a well-established cultural tradition of speaking
> WHILE you are thinking or even BEFORE you think. it isn't better or
> worse than the european obsession with thinking *before* you speak--
> it's just different; each has benefits and drawbacks.
> 
> for example, you europeans never could have come up with a category
> like 'technologist,' which you now use very freely. obviously, it's
> an american idea. why? because it involves an -ism that's devoid of
> any moral, ethical, social, or political component. sorry, but only
> us americans could think that kind of shit up *while we're talking*.
> you euros would get all bogged down in your overweening 'responsibi-
> lity' to the past. our responsibility is to the FUTURE. i can't say
> we're 100% sure what that means just yet, but it's not like you eur-
> opeans have a friggin clue what a responsibility to the past means--
> footnotes? war? good design? funny costumes? good cheese? uh-huh...
> 
> having said that, i have absolutely *no* idea what the double-edged
> sword theory is, beyond being a phrase that reeks of a certain earn-
> estness. is it related to the exegetical tradition of two swords? i
> bet it is.
> 
> cheers,
> t
> -
> 
> \|/ ____ \|/
>  {AT} ~/ oO \~ {AT}     a nationalist is a globalist whose city got bombed
> /_( \__/ )_\
> \_U__/
> 
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> Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2001 09:48:48 -0700
> Subject: Re: <nettime> Steven Levy: Tech's Double-Edged Sword
> From: cisler <cisler {AT} pobox.com>
> 
> Please keep in mind that news magazines favor journalists who can put things
> into a clear (or black and white perspective). Most of them will not carry
> long articles addressing every part of the issue.  Binary treatments of
> complex issues have been standard. this includes politics and certainly
> technology. Look at the discourse on the "digital divide."
> 
> As for the history of science and technology (not just philosophy) it has
> been taught for quite a while.  The one academic I know, Langdon Winner, has
> a long and respected body of work, but he is rather marginalized at the
> present in his current job.
> 
> Another group, the Jacques Ellul Society, comprised of many techno-skeptics,
> is not that active and by their very nature, does not favor the Internet as
> a medium of exchange.
> 
> Steve Cisler
> 
> > From: "geert lovink" <geert {AT} xs4all.nl>
> > Reply-To: "geert lovink" <geert {AT} xs4all.nl>
> > Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2001 22:15:12 +1000
> > To: <nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net>
> > Subject: <nettime> Steven Levy: Tech's Double-Edged Sword
> >
> > What do nettimers think of the double-edged sword theory? The 'discovery'
> > that evil forces also use technology can hardly be called new.
> 
>  I read
> > into the pop culture commentary below a cry for the need to teach the
> > philosophy of technology. Technology is sophisticated, so why shouldn't its
> > discourse? Geert
> 
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-- 
Happiness is the maximum agreement between reality and desire -- Joseph
Stalin


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