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Western University
Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2500A/B
Warren Steele

Introduction 16/09/2013 4:30:00 PM What is the meaning of technology?  Devices leave no lasting impact (is one theory) o Leads us to believe that we are indestructible  Technology „doesn‟t‟ affect our feelings  If we admit technology changes us o The impact become necessary and inevitable o We were always going to have this happen o Technology=progress Technology is fun/better/connects us Ted talks  Tech will one day free us. Ensure moving forward  Do it to have feelings confirmed not messed up  Allows us to continue on this path, we don‟t have to fear tech  Technology will always protect us never do anything wrong  Marketed to appeal to us Technology doesn‟t lead to perfect society (fascism) If we reject the notion that tech isn‟t positive it is also never neutral Technology has no values (meaningless)  Even though we can‟t live without it  It is a value of a larger value system  The system determines how we think we accept this without knowing We need to be critical as most people take no stance on technology Already adopt value system about technology and world too Technology is powerful we need to interrogate and look critically at it or else we will just slip into that mindset (attitude)  Learn to live with loss because of technology Technology creates new was of living BUT also destroys all that came before it We are rapidly loosing old ways of living even though they were still good  Technology doesn‟t care that it was still good, it just wants to keep moving forward and we follow because we accept it and do not question or wonder We never ask what is being replace?  What are we losing?  BUT we never ask we just accept it  Only think of what we are gaining and thus hide the loss  Will we lose not only what means the most to us but what if we lose feelings We can only watch this happen  Snowball effect What it means to be determind What it means to be free  We are not free  Lives are mediated by tech we do not control  We area also the place/time period we are o we moulded to the tech and time we live in we don‟t just communicate with technology  we feel and love with it/through it we are fused to the tools we use all necessary for our work lives student lives and relationships our lives are conditioned by technology  filtered through screens iPhone commercials  phone is the bond/social bond which keeps people together despite distances  community/family  wants us to think iPhone is a good/equal to being exactly with the person  no one talks about phone in commercial the phone is conduit doesn‟t interfere it helps/progress  preserves the integrity of what we love  picks the best moments and only shows those o as long as we are connected we are never alone o we fear being alone and iPhone promises to disperse that fear  Apple wants to create a world dependent on isolation but also without loneliness o Consumerism helps to fill holes but doesn‟t hold up Meaning is never stable  Different in technology  Evolves with time Money new set of meanings  Hidden under feelings Product surrounded by nothing  Just appeared  Nothing connected Technology is about what is next  Sell feeling slightly out of time Apple products made in facort  Threatened suicides because working so badly  Run like a prision  (people_ “become numb and turn into a machine”  not allowed to talk or make eye contac  used interns for free  monthly income of $716 Apple produces „love‟ for us on the other end but they are not built with it Congo has minerals everyone wants but it‟s violent and dangerous  No way to know that computer not made with blood Colton  Death to get a shiny iPhone Convince us technology has meaning  How can I approach technology to derive meaning Tutorial Responses  4 short responses  two responses before midterm  10% of grade  2-3 pages  turnitin  first assignment due sept 24 Tutorial 16/09/2013 4:30:00 PM Ta email: [email protected] five question or 1 long one for the readings  thematic/plot based  ask the questions to everyone else  participation grade! Readings resonpse The “uncanny”  Under resource with one question, write a response  One to two pages  Two before midterm and two after  This week due next week o Do week after readings  Work sited page  Bringing in outside readings  Page numbers Nov 18 th quiz on required book  Do androids dream of electric sheep  5 questions  plot based Uncanny  When something begins to look strange  Familiar things hidden parts feel uncomfortable  When we think something is alive but it‟s not  Different from what it appears to be  Perception is off  Setting  1% difference really separates androids from us Sandman  Automaton, is Nathanial actually one?  Uncanny to our own life o What is familiar yet strange  Letters yet not real, uncanny  Child-like ideas/feeling something familiar from childhood  Moment when things break down into confusion  Concept of getting eye stolen o Fear of losing limbs (Freud) o Fear of blindness  Them of eyes/vision/loss of vision  Lost site of what was real and what isn‟t  Themes o Tries to burn eyes (fire) o Fire=life, cleansing his humanity o Can become uncanny helps and hurts Coraline  Loss of sight  Eyes are the window to the soul  Eyes are important ot communication  eyes are expression and emotions line 236  the double is a thing of terro  other is moral horror  splitting of character  border with familiar goes to the uncanny  almost the same but not quite Unheimliche (Uncanny) 16/09/2013 4:30:00 PM Freud fails at interpreting the Sandman  Because of the industrial industry (fire)  Glass scope and Nathaniels desire Martin Heideberg (?)  We move forward and create an uncanny life  Rapid destruction of natural habitat  Never ending developments of our habitats o Under threat from expansion o Changes how we are social in these places  No protection from modern life  Dense network o No one is attached o Live/work/breath with people we don‟t care about Fear of changing environment that we will someday no longer recognize these places  anonymous/ inhospitable participate in online, digital environment abstractions  participate in „social‟ activities externalize our inner life, pouring it online as a spectacle for other  we get pride form showing our pain to other  we „get off‟ on this  why?  How?  WRITE AN ESSAY ON THIS GODDAMN IT HELL DO THE FIRST THINGY ON THIS THAT‟D BE A BITCHIN IDEA Quotes from Freud “The Uncanny”  “It is only rarely that a psychoanalyst feels impelled to investigate the subject of aesthetics even when aesthetics as understood to mean not merely the theory of beauty, but the theory and quality of feeling”  “compelling of strange and familiar”  “The uncanny is that class of terrifying which leads back to something long known to us something once very familiar heimliche/Unheimliche  despite their differences, they can only be felt from the other Heimliche  Friendly, intimate and homelike  Familiar, the term, the intricate, the hospitable, and the comfortable  For what is heimliche because to the house and the family (home) o Appeal  According to Freud, the heimliche is a feeling of the “friendly, intimate, and the homelike.” It signifies the familiar, the tame, the intimate, the hospitable, and the comfortable. For what is heimliche “belongs to the house and the family, or is regarded as so belonging” Unheimliche  Sullies the home  Uneasy, malicious, fearful, inhospitable in the face of something we once thought of as familiar  Even horror depending on the appearance  Uncanny  The unheimliche sullies the qualities of the home. It is a feeling of the uneasy, the malicious, the fearful, and inhospitable in the face of something we usually think of as familiar. It can even entail feelings of horror, depending on the experience. Heimliche/ Unheimliche  “What is heimliche thus comes to be unheimliche,” because in order for the uncanny to exist as it does there must first be some transformation, transition, or ambivalence, whereby that which was once both comforting and familiar is now rendered terrible, unsettling, and/or strange.  But not because some terror is introduced into the familiar that sullies or destroys our experience of it. Instead, the unheimliche reveals an obscenity that was always already there. An obscenity that prior to our experience of this uneasy feeling either went unnoticed or unsaid. And which, even in the midst of the experience, we find difficult to pin down and articulate.  “The uncanny in reality is nothing new or foreign, but something familiar and old-established in the mind that has been estranged only by the process of repression.”  Terror stems from uncanny o Our world rendered strange  Something menaces us but we don‟t know what  Death is real, future kills  Current state of living will kill us eventually  Make world more visible by making the familiar strange Facebook  We feel on the outside without it o Belonging a part of something  As we connect and communicate we are always alone  Seems to provide ideal platform  Network, embed you in a community  Facebook foster simulated friendships  Cheapens friendship  Sustains unwanted friendships o TO CREEP PEEPS Social Network (film)  Story of loneliness, isolation, on an international scale  We don‟t see the person we see the “simulation” of that person  Always something between us (technology)  Tragedy with rise of social media o It must tear us apart to pretend to bring us together  Friendship is deluded from spectators in the past  Era of media is the era of loneliness  In the future “men will become accustomed to listening to machines and talking to machines… No more face to face encounters, no more dialogue.” o Jacques Ellul The Technology society We live our lives in isolation with a screen  Only thing truly real  Screen allows us to ignore our surroundings  Driving us apart o Just for the sake of doing it Technology CAN bring us together  BUT divides us, actually damages social fabrics where we live Empathy is declining in American college students  We‟ve become dicks  Narcissisms is rising Hypercompetitive and focuses on success society, also fast-paced nature  People are less likely to slow down and really listen  To busy worrying about selves and their issues don‟t have time to spend with others  Because of technology Can‟t recognize friendship  Listen to feelings and hard to fix these problems (which never existed)  “This is not the first study to find trends related to declining empathy in American college students.. we also found increases in the personality trait narcissism over time. The fact that there has been other research with similar trends is notable”  “possible causes include a society today that‟s hypercompetitive and focused on success, as well as the fast-paced nature of today, in which people are less likely than in time time past to slow down to really listen to others… College students today may be so busy worrying about themselves and their own issues that they don‟t have time to spend empathizing with others, or at least perceive such time to be limited.” The Question Concerning Technology 16/09/2013 4:30:00 PM Gestell: concept of framing, essence of technology, how truth reveals itself Objective: NEED SLIDES Gestell 16/09/2013 4:30:00 PM  Mars 1 Project  “‟the most important part of a philosophers is their philosophy  was a Nazi for a little but of time  lack of ethics  couldn‟t forgive Heidegger  “…whatever the debt of every contemporary thinker might be to Heidegger, it is a debt that he often owes to his regret”  “for me, Heidegger is the greatest philosopher or the century, perhaps one of the very great philosophers of the millennium but I am very pained by that because I can never forget what he was in 1933 even if he was that for only a short period o Emmanuel Levinas  Understanding of current relation to technology he knew there is something dangerously fascist about technology o Mars 1  need to question technology  capacity to see something more  we don‟t see the truth of our lives o need to learn to think in another way to see truth  “Heidegger is very ambivalent when it‟s a matter of characterizing the essence of technology, even though he‟s among those who have gone farthest in pointing out its contradictions and the incalculable range of our fascination with it. He asserts that the essence of technology poses the greatest danger to our future democracies. In the ineluctable and increasingly rapid development of technology…he was able to detect a very serious event.” o Avital Ronell, Fighting Theory Free Relationship to Modern Technology  What Heidegger wants to do most is establish what he calls a “free relationship to modern technology.”  In other words, Heidegger‟s goal in thinking about what technology is, and what it means, is to try and look beyond all that we have been taught about technology (because that stuff distorts thinking), in order to penetrate tight to the core of our relationship to the technical. And thus to the one quality, or essence, presently determining the way in which we engage with technology.  But, of course, one could and should ask: is a free relationship to technology even possible?  “I see the task of thought to consist in helping man in general, within the limits allotted to thought, to achieve an adequate relationship to the essence of technology. National Socialism… moved in this direction. But those people were far too limited in their thinking to acquire an explicit relationship to what is really happening today and has been underway for three centuries.” o Heidegger “Only a God Can Save Us”  US loves technology  Americans are to bound up in a way of thinking  “Americans are still caught up in a thought which favours functions and manipulations but which, at the same time, blocks the way to a meditation on what properly belongs to modern technology”  “A Particular wave of destruction, still in force began [in earnest] with the Nazi terrorist state, which was a state explicitly invested in technology… All the rhetoric, the so-called theory of Nazism, was devoted to technology… there was no theory of Nazism… it was the movement most lacking in intellectuals, books, or texts that had ever existed on the planet… Nazism was [instead] characterized both by its exaltation of technology… and its contemptuous refusal to support its own political ideas.” o Ronell, Fighting Theory  Dangers of technology  Clarification of form, efficiency, collapse of distances  Gestell with the essence of technology  Not interested in answers  The question is the (journey) o Ask the “right question”  Questioning will never end o Means to be human  Draws meaning between the distance work of thinking  May never be able to resolve question o What dose it mean to be a human in this world  Heidegger‟s work is a walk in the woods o Winding o Understanding what it means to be a person  Der Spiegel: We say now that we would rather be here [on the earth]. Who knows whether it is the destiny of man to remain on this earth… one could envisage the possibility that man would reach out from this earth to other planets. That will certainly not be for a long time. But where is it written that man‟s place is here?  Heidegger: According to our human experience and history, at least as far as I see it, I know that everything essential and everything great originated from the fact that man had a home and was rooted in a tradition  Fundamental dependence on the world o Need it to be „us  Work is all about the triumph of the will  Core: human is the site of fundamental interdependency o Interdependence/ reliance/ with one another o Rely on each other and world o This makes us human  We need to rely on each other for our basic needs o Keeps us grounded  All that under threat by technology  We will never be a collection of independent beings  “…there is no such thing as man who exists solely and singly on his own” o Heidegger  Solaris (1972) o Disconnect yourself totally from who you are o Detached from environment where you make sense  Capacity to disconnect our self from everything that matters o Is what technology does  “What is dangerous is not technology. Technology is not demonic; but its essence is mysterious. The essence of technology as a destining of revealing, is the danger.” o Heidegger  When Heidegger was younger he was to naive about technology o Lacked distance to critique technology and meaning o Why he fell to Nazism  Must not view technology in a negative light o Never be a moment in our lives when technology will not control how we live  Need to think critically about technology o We may lose touch with world and being human  “The Question we face is this: for what destructions is technology responsible, and exactly what does it endanger?” o Ronell, Fighting Theory  The first step towards philosophy is incredulity o Diderot  “We live in the sway of Gestell.” o Avital Ronell o Ex. Airports (worlds unto themselves) o Enter one and feel cut off  At the airport the earth is flat o Everything thing serves a purpose  The world is being rendered uncanny  “…technology tears men loose from the earth and uproots them… We don‟t need any atom bomb. The uprooting of man has already taken place. The only thing we have left is purely technological relationships. This is no longer the earth on which man lives.” o Heidegger Ge-stell  Gestell is translated as “en-framing”  For Heidegger, Gestell is the essence of modern technology  In accordance with his philosophy, Gestell must be thought of as a verb, in that is denoted a way of thinking and doing, or what Heidegger calls a way of being, that determines how we think about and relate to the world.  As the essence of technology, Gestell has one command: that is, to store up replacements, to collect and to alter that material of nature into stores of homogenous supplies  Der Spiegel: …what is to be overcome here? Everything is functioning. More and more power plants are being built. We have peak production. Men in the highly technologized parts of the world are well provided for. We live in prosperity. What is really missing here.  Heidegger: Everything is functioning. That is exactly what is so uncanny, that everything is functioning [and about the attainment of perfect functioning] and that [this] functioning drives us more and more to even further functioning…” o “Only a God Can Save Us”  Does technology really contribute to a sense of connection  OR  Does technology rob our lives of meaning, is that what technology means? o Does engagement of technology help me get a sense of my world or does it help me to be efficient.  One directive, uncritical exaltation of technology  “[Through Gestell] the earth now reveals itself as a coal mini district, the soil as mineral deposit… The revealing that rules in modern technology is a challenging, which puts to nature the unreasonable demand that is supply energy which can be extracted and stored as such” o Heidegger Bestand  Bestand is often translated as “standing reserve”  A standing-reserve refers to an aspect of the world that‟s been reformulated as something to be exploited by the way of being that is Gestell  For example, a river that‟s been dammed to produce hydro-electric power is not a river anymore but a standing-reserve (i.e. stored energy made ready for exploitation)  Gestell and Bestand  Gestell is a way of thinking and living (or way of being) that describes not just how human beings present the elements of the world to themselves in order to be used (i.e. as standing-reserves). It also refers to an un-thought desire, or “challenging claim”, to order all the stuff we see as standing-reserves into a global system of consumption and utility. This act can include other humans, since humans are also organized and order about in the same way Tutorial 16/09/2013 4:30:00 PM Technique (amazon unpacked)  How you apply technology  How we study technology  How we modify it  Around us all the time, involved in it  Efficiency  Autonomous, self-augmenting evolve)  Self directing guided by efficiency  Automatic, directs its own progress  Modism = unity of effect o Can‟t disassociate good from bad  Requires standardization from a universal, level o Mono-culture = stripped diversity all the same  Diversity and variety are bad o Technique = efficiency o Means we haven‟t solves a problem yet o Expect to get same product every time Efficiency, rationalization  Use of (technique)  To solve problems & create best products  Solving problems we just created  Create “harder” tomatoes to help industrial picking to go better  Machine is to efficient  Technique causes new problems  Technique is striving
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