Negativity is positive
'The Internet I'd grown up with, the Internet that had raised me, was disappearing...The very act of going online, which had once seemed like a marvellous adventure, now seemed like a fraught ordeal. Self-expression now required such strong self-protection as to obviate its liberties and nullify its pleasures. Every communication was a matter not of creativity but of safety.... When I came to know it, the Internet was a very different thing.
It was a friend and a parent. It was a community without border or limit, one voice and millions, a common frontier that had been settled but not exploited by diverse tribes living amicably enough side by side, each member of which was free to choose their own name and history and customs.... Certainly, there was conflict, but it was outweighed by goodwill and good feelings - the true pioneering spirit.... You will understand, then, when I say that the Internet of today is unrecognizable ' - Edward Snowden Permanent Record
'I'm here today because I believe Facebook's products harm children, stoke division and weaken democracy. The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safe but won't make the necessary changes because they put their astronomical profits before people' - former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifying in 2020 to Senate consumer protection sub-committee
'1. Since most of what we are told about new technology comes from its proponents, be deeply sceptical of all claims.
2. Assume all technology 'guilty until proven innocent'.
3. Eschew the idea that technology is neutral or 'value free'. Every technology has inherent and identifiable social, political, and environmental consequences.
4. The fact that technology has a natural flash and appeal is meaningless. Negative attributes are slow to emerge.
5. Never judge a technology by the way it benefits you personally. Seek a holistic view of its impacts. The operative question in not whether it benefits you, but who benefits most? And to what end?
6. Keep in mind that an individual technology is only one piece of a larger web of technologies, 'megatechnology'. The operative question here is how the individual technology fits the larger one.
7. Make distinctions between technologies that primarily serve the individual or small community and those that operate on a scale outside of community control. The latter is the major problem of the day.
8. When it is argued that the benefits of the technological lifestyle are worthwhile despite harmful outcomes, recall that Lewis Mumford referred to these alleged benefits as 'bribery'.
9. Do not accept the homily that 'once the genie is out of the bottle you cannot put it back', or that rejecting a technology is impossible. Such attitudes induce passivity and confirm victimization.
10. In thinking about technology within the present climate of technological worship, emphasize the negative. This brings balance. Negativity is positive' - Jerry Mander writing in his 1981 book In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations.
Recent listening and reading:
Time of the Skeleton Lords - Tashi Lhunpo Monks
Fried in a Hubcap - Sukoshi Rice
Wagner Dream, Jonathan Harvey - Ictus Ensemble, Martyn Brabbins
Psalm at Journey's End - Erik Fossnes Hansen
Alive in the Vortex - Steve Roach
Afterzen, Experiences of a Zen Student Out on his Ear - Janwillem van de Wetering
Dave Brubeck Quartet - Original Album Classics
Nick Drave, the Life - Richard Morton Jack
Music in the Age of the Pyramids - Hathor Ensemble
The Bells of Old Tokyo - Anna Sherman
Frescobaldi, Complete Keyboard Music - Roberto Loreggian