Rapid tech development causes almost as much suffering as it alleviates
In this article Lawler presents views of different anti-Democratic Liberation Theory thinkers (LUDDITES are anti- Democratic Liberation Theory thinkers) (see my Lawler NOTES for a breakdown of LUDDITE views). Which of those different views do you find most flawed or most correct and why? Quote Lawler article please.
Each of you on the team should provide a short paragraph discussing one of the LUDDITE criticisms of Democratic Liberation Theory. In that paragraph, state what the Luddite criticism is and then say if you agree or not and explain why you agree or not. DO NOT DUPLICATE the same Luddite passage in your discussion that other team members have presented.
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Technology is a problem because we cannot do without it and our use of it clearly makes us both better and worse. Human beings are–among other things–technological or tool-making animals. We use our brains and our freedom to transform nature, and in doing so we transform ourselves. We also have a perverse capacity to make ourselves unhappy and a singular pride in our misery. We are both proud of and wish to free ourselves from the burdens of our technological success. So we find it almost impossible to judge how much and what kind of technology would be best for us. In principle, we should be free to accept or reject various technological developments. Technology, after all, is supposed to be means for the pursuit of whatever ends we choose. But, in truth, it might be our destiny to be moved along by impersonal and unlimited technological progress. We do not have much evidence of significant numbers of human beings resisting technological changes for long periods of time. (The peaceful and admirable Amish, for example, are a very small exception to a general rule.)
From a purely natural view at least, we do not know why human beings alone among the species are technological animals. Only we human beings can freely negate nature to satisfy our desires; only we human beings can create new and harder-to-satisfy needs through our technological success. Our technological acquisitions make us less happy than our being deprived of such acquisitions–of, say, air conditioning–can make us miserable, not to mention whiny. We do not know why we, through our inventions, came to dominate the rest of nature. One of the best pieces of evidence that we are different from chimpanzees and dolphins is that we can so easily control them if we want to, but they cannot give orders to us. We do not know why we have the capability and the desire to threaten the very existence of all life on our planet. It is almost impossible to call what we have achieved through technological success–from a natural view–progress.
Technological change really is progress from another view. It is the increase in the human power to control or manipulate nature. The general rule is that societies that encourage or are open to such change overwhelm those that are not. That is why the modern West has exerted its control over the whole world, and why the Europeans almost eliminated the Native Americans in our country. But this control, of course, is quite ambiguous. Technology is characteristically the imposition of human will over nature; we comprehend nature insofar as we control it. But our control and our comprehension are always far from complete. When we dam up a river to produce power or end flooding, we have often discovered, to our surprise, that we have transformed a flourishing body of water into a dying one. We did not know enough to anticipate the destructive effects of our control, but that knowledge does not usually free us to remove the dam on which we have come to depend. We now know enough, though, to be very reluctant to build dams.
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