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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Comments

Brian Day

I'm still waiting for my copy ordered through my local Catholic bookstore.

As an aside, I wish Ignatius Press had the publishing rights. I'd bet that I would have had my copy months ago. ;)

Margaret

Nyah nyah. I ordered mine from Amazon and got it last week. It is sweet. :-)

Ed Peters

Nice post Carl....you know, on judgment day, the MSM's culpability is going to be all the higher, for they will not be able to say, "Hey, we didn't know any better. No one ever corrected us."

Jackson

Hope for the best, expect the worst. The MSM, along with this coarse age in general, always brings to mind Hamlet's famous words:

"O shame, where is thy blush?"

I've read some of the new Compendium. It's good so far, but I prefer the greater depth of the CCC.

Speaking of great books, I've just finished Neil Postman's Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. Some highlights:

"One who believes Madonna to have reached the highest pinnacle of musical expression lacks the sensibility to distinguish between the ascent and the descent of humanity.... In our present circumstances, there is no excuse for schools to sponsor rock concerts when students have not heard the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, or Chopin.... These artists are relevant not only because they established the standards with which civilized people approach the arts. They are relevant because the culture tries to mute their voices and render their standards invisible."

In the final chapter, he writes:

"Those who resist the American Technopoly are people:

-who pay no attention to a poll unless they know waht questions were asked, and why;

-who refuse to accept efficiency as the pre-eminent goal of human relations;

-who have freed themselves from the belief in the magical powers of numbers, do not regard calculation as an adequate substitute for judgment, or precision as a synonym for truth;

-who refuse to allow psychology or any "social science" to preempt the language and thought of common sense;

-who are, at least, suspicious of the idea of progress, and who do not confuse information with understanding;

-who do not regard the aged as irrelevant;

-who take seriously the meaning of family loyalty and honor, and who, when they 'reach out and touch someone,' expect that person to be in the same room;

-who take the great narratives of religion seriously and who do not believe that science is the only system of thought capable of producing truth;

-who know the difference betweeen the sacred and the profane, and who do not wink at tradition for modernity's sake;

-who admire technological ingenuity but do not think it represents the highest possible form of human achievement.

A resistance fighter understands that technology must never be accepted as part of the natural order of things, that every technology - from an IQ test to an automobile to a television set to a computer - is a product of a particular economic and political context and carries with it a program, an agenda, and a philosophy that may or not be life-enhancing and that therefore require scrutiny, criticism, and control. In short, a technological resistance fighter maintains an epistemological and psychic distance from any technology, so that it always appears somewhat strange, never inevitable, never natural."

Postman's "loving resistance fighter" sounds quite Catholic to me.

Sandra Miesel

So how does Postman feel about the wheel, metallurgy, wind or watermills? Is it only technology based on engines, electricity, or electronics that bothers him. Perhaps he would regret not having been born a pre-contact Australian aborigine. Oh, but they had the boomerang so that alternative is out.

Jackson

He distinguishes between tool-using cultures, technocracies, and Technopoly. He analyzes the middle ages - and this might interest you - as a technocratic age. Humanity then was not enslaved by its technology, and still maintained an all-encompassing sense of the transcendent. Today, under the tyranny of Technopoly, humanity is the slave of its technology, and this slavery colors virtually every aspect of our being. For example, physical well-being is determined by CAT scan results; facts need the substantiation of a statistical study; sociology masquerades as science; the human mind needs "deprogramming" while computers catch "viruses."

The back cover of the book accurately captures his thesis:

"We live, then, in a Technopoly - a self-justifying, self-perpetuating system wherein technology of every kind is cheerfully granted sovereignty over social institutions and national life...[The book] chronicles our transformation from a society that uses technology to one that is shaped by it, as he traces its effects upon what we mean by politics, intellect, religion, history - even privacy and truth. But if Technopoly is disturbing, it is also a passionate rallying cry filled with a humane rationalism as it asserts the manifold means by which technology, placed within the context of our larger human goals and social values, is an invaluable instrument for furthering the most human endeavors."

Jackson

A perfect example of Technopoly is found on the front page of my illustrious local paper, the L.A. Times. It brazenly tells us:

"Underlying every personal difference in thought, attitude, and ability is an astonishing variety of brain cells, scientists have discovered."

Astonishing indeed! Any sense of the transcendent is thereby cut off - exactly part of Technopoly's program. All is reduced to the material. But is it really possible that this materialist conception can account for a Plato or Mozart? And can it account not only for differences in thought, attitude, and ability (astonishing!), but also for differences in virtue? For differences in love? I have my doubts. I'm reminded of three thoughts (merely attributable to brain cells?) of the great Benedict XVI:

"The real opposition that characterizes today's world is not that between various religious cultures, but that between the radical emancipation of man from God, from the roots of life, on one hand, and from the great religious cultures on the other."

-Benedict XVI


"We are inclined today as a matter of course to suppose that only what is palpably present, what is 'demonstrable,' is truly real. But is it really permissible to do this? Should we not ask rather more carefully what 'the real' actually is? Is it only the ascertained and ascertainable, or is ascertaining perhaps only one particular method of making contact with reality, one that can by no means comprehend the whole of reality and that even leads to falsification of the truth and of human existence if we assume that it is the only definitive method?"

-Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity


"The loss of transcendence evokes the flight to utopia. I am convinced that the destruction of transcendence is the actual amputation of human beings from which all other sicknesses flow. Robbed of their real greatness they can only find escape in illusory hopes."

-Benedict XVI

Brian Day

Margaret,

I could have ordered through Amazon, but I chose to support my local Catholic bookstore. I must have "Crunchy Con" tendenecies. :)

Margaret

Just razzin ya, Brian.

I wanted to get the book ASAP, hoping it would help me with a doctrine class I'm teaching, and lo and behold-- it is very helpful! :-) Trust me, I've dropped mucho dinero into the registers at my local Catholic bookstore.

Dawn Okey

I am just trying to find where I can buy a couple of my favorite books. I keep finding Catholic sites that have not heard of them. Please tell me where to go. Thank you. Dawn

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