I’m ready for the laughing gas

Posted: July 31, 2006 in Theo/Philo




A new blog is brought screaming and clicking into cyberspace every second, why is this so popular, are we all voyeurs or hopeless narcissists?

Do bloggers create a community or are they the nitrous oxide of 21st century?

Neil postman wrote about the effect of television on culture in his excellent book ‘Amusing ourselves to death’; here is part of the foreword:

‘We were keeping our eye on 1984…. we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling vision: Audous Huxley’s Brave New World …Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us too much information…That we would be reduced to passivity and egotism..feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance’.

It seems that Huxley’s fears are not groundless, when we watch the news on TV we are given news item after news item with no relevance between the items, a few minutes are devoted to each item, there is a rhythm and speed to the news –this leaves us as impotent bystanders, desensitised and unaffected.

Are bloggers adding to the information overload, or is there another motive and outcome?

Why Blog; is it primarily for you or me? Is it a diversion from thinking or an aid to it?

An unthinking unquestioning headlong dive into the current technological developments leaves us like a child with our arms out stretched ready to receive an unknown present, we say yes to everything. What are we not doing what are we saying no to in order that we embrace the Internet and new technology like we are?

Neil postman says: ‘…anyone who has studied the history of technology knows that technological change is always a Faustian bargain: Technology giveth and technology taketh away, and not always in equal measure. A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided.’


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