Munmun Masud

April 5th, 2011

Eisenberg and Technology

Posted by munmunmasud in Uncategorized

The line, “Alphabet users have a hard time giving up their literate intuitions, for the adoption of writing systems transformed human thought” is provocative, yet very true. Specifically, when Eisenberg adds that “human consciousness, perceptions, relationships, society” and “values were different from what they were before this innovation.” The first line I quoted seems like it is euphemized. Eisenberg substitutes the words, “writing system” but I get the sense that the direct usage of the word technology is better suited in regards to his argument. When Eisenberg writes, “literate intuitions,” I get the sense that he is writing about a time before the existence of technology; a point of time when information was stored in our minds (mentally), not necessarily on technologies like paper, computer or other modes of (physical) storage.

It is in fact true that before technology, human consciousness and perceptions were different. However, I disagree to the extent Eisenberg elevates it to. It is implied that it isn’t easy for us to look back into our own pasts and recall the technological changes that helped form our own culture. Personally, this line produces a feeling of inferiority in my part. I feel compared to a piece of technology (i.e. a computer) that can locate information from prior decades in a matter of a few seconds, whereas for a human being, it would take several minutes, hours or even days. Perhaps the insinuation is correct; it necessarily is not easy for us, as opposed to technology. However, behind technology stands the entity who meticulously devise and develops it—human beings. Therefore, the technological changes that transform human thought are induced by human beings, not technology.

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