New Philosopher #11: Technology

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New Philosopher is an independent quarterly magazine devoted to exploring philosophical ideas from past and present thinkers on ways to live a more fulfilling life. Commentary on New Philosopher aims to guide readers into living a happier and freer mode of existence.

In this issue: Technology, in one form or another, has been part of human life since time immemorial. Early inventors developed flints and axes, wheels and pulleys, presses and pens, engines and electricity; and early adopters reaped the rewards – cutting, rolling, learning, and powering their way ahead of the pack.

Thanks to the technologies of earlier eras, much of the modern world gained access to clean water and abundant food, was safeguarded from many crippling diseases, could communicate freely and widely, and was granted admittance to a library that would have made an enlightenment thinker gasp.

With the technologies of today, we’re undoing centuries of work: we’re polluting the water and destroying the land, we’re awash with disorders of the mind, we’re contacting without communicating, and we’re using our plenitudinous library – the Internet – to watch videos featuring funny felines. Yes, we have access to those earlier technologies, and better ones still, yet we’re using them to – as Neil Postman put it some 30 years ago – amuse ourselves to death.

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