domingo, janeiro 25, 2015

T. K.

A technological advance that appears not to threaten freedom often turns out to threaten freedom often turns out to threaten it very seriously later on. For example, consider motorized transport. A walking man formerly could go where he pleased, go at his own pace without observing any traffic regulations, and was independent of technological support-systems. When motor vehicles were introduced they appeared to increase man's freedom. They took no freedom away from the walking man, no one had to have an automobile if he didn't want one, and anyone who did choose to buy an automobile could travel much faster than the walking man. But the introduction of motorized transport soon changed society in such a way as to restrict greatly man's freedom of locomotion. When automobiles became numerous, it became necessary to regulate their use extensively. In a car, especially in densely populated areas, one cannot just go where one likes at one's own pace one's movement is governed by the flow of traffic and by various traffic laws. One is tied down by various obligations: license requirements, driver test, renewing registration, insurance, maintenance required for safety, monthly payments on purchase price. Moreover, the use of motorized transport is no longer optional. Since the introduction of motorized transport the arrangement of our cities has changed in such a way that the majority of people no longer live within walking distance of their place of employment, shopping areas and recreational opportunities, so that they HAVE TO depend on the automobile for transportation. Or else they must use public transportation, in which case they have even less control over their own movement than when driving a car. Even the walker's freedom is now greatly restricted. In the city he continually has to stop and wait for traffic lights that are designed mainly to serve auto traffic. In the country, motor traffic makes it dangerous and unpleasant to walk along the highway. (Note the important point we have illustrated with the case of motorized transport: When a new item of technology is introduced as an option that an individual can accept or not as he chooses, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional. In many cases the new technology changes society in such a way that people eventually find themselves FORCED to use it.) 128. While technological progress AS A WHOLE continually narrows our sphere of freedom, each new technical advance CONSIDERED BY ITSELF appears to be desirable. Electricity, indoor plumbing, rapid long-distance communications . . . how could one argue against any of these things, or against any other of the innumerable technical advances that have made modern society? It would have been absurd to resist the introduction of the telephone, for example. It offered many advantages and no disadvantages. Yet as we explained in paragraphs 59-76, all these technical advances taken together have created world in which the average man's fate is no longer in his own hands or in the hands of his neighbors and friends, but in those of politicians, corporation executives and remote, anonymous technicians and bureaucrats whom he as an individual has no power to influence. [21] The same process will continue in the future. Take genetic engineering, for example. Few people will resist the introduction of a genetic technique that eliminates a hereditary disease It does no apparent harm and prevents much suffering. Yet a large number of genetic improvements taken together will make the human being into an engineered product rather than a free creation of chance (or of God, or whatever, depending on your religious beliefs). 129 Another reason why technology is such a powerful social force is that, within the context of a given society, technological progress marches in only one direction; it can never be reversed. Once a technical innovation has been introduced, people usually become dependent on it, unless it is replaced by some still more advanced innovation. Not only do people become dependent as individuals on a new item of technology, but, even more, the system as a whole becomes dependent on it. (Imagine what would happen to the system today if computers, for example, were eliminated.) Thus the system can move in only one direction, toward greater technologization. Technology repeatedly forces freedom to take a step back -- short of the overthrow of the whole technological system. 130. Technology advances with great rapidity and threatens freedom at many different points at the same time (crowding, rules and regulations, increasing dependence of individuals on large organizations, propaganda and other psychological techniques, genetic engineering, invasion of privacy through surveillance devices and computers, etc.) To hold back any ONE of the threats to freedom would require a long different social struggle. Those who want to protect freedom are overwhelmed by the sheer number of new attacks and the rapidity with which they develop, hence they become pathetic and no longer resist. To fight each of the threats separately would be futile. Success can be hoped for only by fighting the technological system as a whole; but that is revolution not reform.

Blues Fúnebres

Parem todos os relógios, desliguem o telefone,/ Não deixem o cão ladrar aos ossos suculentos,/ Silenciem os pianos e com os tambores em surdina/ Tragam o féretro, deixem vir o cortejo fúnebre./ Que os aviões voem sobre nós lamentando,/ Escrevinhando no céu a mensagem: Ele Está Morto,/ Ponham laços de crepe em volta dos pescoços das pombas da cidade,/ Que os polícias de trânsito usem luvas pretas de algodão./ Ele era o meu Norte, o meu Sul, o meu Este e Oeste,/ A minha semana de trabalho, o meu descanso de domingo,/ O meu meio-dia, a minha meia-noite, a minha conversa, a minha canção;/ Pensei que o amor ia durar para sempre: enganei-me./ Agora as estrelas não são necessárias: apaguem-nas todas;/ Emalem a Lua e desmantelem o Sol;/ Despejem o oceano e varram o bosque;/ Pois agora tudo é inútil./ W. H. Auden

quarta-feira, janeiro 21, 2015

terça-feira, janeiro 20, 2015

Clarividência - para leitura pausada e releituras

quinta-feira, janeiro 15, 2015