Define: Technophobia

18 Sep

As times change, so does the environment we live in and the tools we use as a society to survive. Some tend to change their ways and adapt to embrace these changes to social norms while others fight against it. Neil Postman belongs to the latter category, as can be seen in his article “The Judgment of Thamus.” Citing Greek philosophers such as Plato and psychologists like Freud, Postman makes a case for slowing of technological advancement, if not for its demise. Such technophobic statements and beliefs, I believe, can be a hindrance to our society and prevent breakthroughs. With all due respect to Postman, by remaining stagnant we would cease to develop as a race and would die out.

Although Postman makes a very compelling argument by displaying his ability to quote philosophers and psychologists, he never really expresses why technology is such a bad idea. The most prominent and compelling thing I could find from his work was that whether or not previous generations could accommodate their behaviors or way of life to the advancing technology as well as “that technology imperiously commanders our most important terminology. It redefines ‘freedom’, ‘truth’, ‘intelligence’, ‘fact’, ‘wisdom’, ‘memory’, ‘history’—all the words we live by” (367). My response to the first claim is that the new generation could provide instruction to the former, in spite of how annoying it may be to both parties, and that ways could be found to ease the transition and make it smoother. As for redefinition of values, is it necessarily a bad thing? Our values now are not what they were 50 years ago, and although some may consider that a bad thing as they belonged to that generation, I see it as just time passing and the cycle of life continuing. Ideas are maintained, civilizations rebuilt, technology is improved, and the last generation is forced to change while the new is born into it. Like it or not, it’s just how the world works and how it will continue to work for many more years.

Works Cited

Postman, Neil. “The Judgment of Thamus.” Common Culture: Reading and Writing about

American Popular Culture. Ed. Michael Petracca and Madeleine Sorapure. Sixth ed.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009. 363-375. Print.

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