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Holidays and other Social Technologies Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 8:49 AM
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About the area in the middle where you can "integrate the values and then go from antithesis to synthesis": I like to view it as a Mandelbrot set. The vast majority of the values are either in the set or not. On the edges, however, you have infinite complexity. It is on the edges where all of the interesting things occur.
Post #1397856
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 11:06 AM


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GSquared (12/18/2012)
Carse's concept of looking at life as a game isn't anything new. It's been a key part of Scientology.


Thanks for the book citation. I'll have to look and see what's there. Carse has something interesting with finite versus infinite games - however awkwardly said.


The concept of technology being broader in scope than electronics/computers is actually inherent in the word itself.


True. Postman points this out - and then looks at what the word has come to mean in society today. What people don't think to include is language, teachers, culture or questions. Those things disappear from attention unless someone calls attention to them and sort of inrich the discussion by bringing them up.


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Post #1397939
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 11:15 AM


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Bill Nicolich (12/18/2012)
GSquared (12/18/2012)
Carse's concept of looking at life as a game isn't anything new. It's been a key part of Scientology.


Thanks for the book citation. I'll have to look and see what's there. Carse has something interesting with finite versus infinite games - however awkwardly said.


The concept of technology being broader in scope than electronics/computers is actually inherent in the word itself.


True. Postman points this out - and then looks at what the word has come to mean in society today. What people don't think to include is language, teachers, culture or questions. Those things disappear from attention unless someone calls attention to them and sort of inrich the discussion by bringing them up.


I guess I'm so used to looking at a broad scope that it never occurs to me that the scope could be narrowed.

I carry a pocket-knife. Humanity's first invention (as opposed to discovery), and still one of the most useful pieces of technology ever. And I think of it that way. I guess that probably says something about me. Not sure what, or if it's good/bad/indifferent.


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Post #1397946
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 11:37 AM
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I don't see why we can't talk about our social and behavioral responses to technological advances without having to redefine perfectly functional words like the word "technology" itself. Is it really that hard to discuss relationships between areas of interest and how they combine or not without doing this word redefinition?



Post #1397962
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 11:40 AM


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patrickmcginnis59 (12/18/2012)
I don't see why we can't talk about our social and behavioral responses to technological advances without having to redefine perfectly functional words like the word "technology" itself. Is it really that hard to discuss relationships between areas of interest and how they combine or not without doing this word redefinition?


I missed where we redefined that word.


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Post #1397966
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 2:11 PM
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GSquared (12/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (12/18/2012)
I don't see why we can't talk about our social and behavioral responses to technological advances without having to redefine perfectly functional words like the word "technology" itself. Is it really that hard to discuss relationships between areas of interest and how they combine or not without doing this word redefinition?


I missed where we redefined that word.


From the editorial:


Ever since reading Neil Postman's book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, I've been interested in broadening out the definition of technology to include far more than computing, and to include things like the various emotions in our register as a species, games, rituals and the like.


Post #1398043
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 2:30 PM


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I don't think Bill Nicolich intended to redefine the word technology as much as point out that making technology is what humans do, and limiting the definition of the word to mean only whiz-bang hardware is to limit our views of what it means to be human. In that context (and speaking anthropologically) I think it's a very interesting slant on things to see our human events, rituals, holidays, etc. as just another category of technologies.

A pocket knife is a survival tool and surely counts as technology. But think of how many human societies have some sort of midwinter festival or ritual or whatever, many of them involving lights or candles or bonfires to symbolize the coming return of the sun. It's pretty clear that these rituals play some positive role in helping those cultures survive.

That fits the anthropological definition of a technology well enough for me.


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Post #1398046
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 2:49 PM


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patrickmcginnis59 (12/18/2012)
GSquared (12/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (12/18/2012)
I don't see why we can't talk about our social and behavioral responses to technological advances without having to redefine perfectly functional words like the word "technology" itself. Is it really that hard to discuss relationships between areas of interest and how they combine or not without doing this word redefinition?


I missed where we redefined that word.


From the editorial:


Ever since reading Neil Postman's book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, I've been interested in broadening out the definition of technology to include far more than computing, and to include things like the various emotions in our register as a species, games, rituals and the like.




That's not actually a redefinition. That's a reversion from a redefinition. Technology = computers/electronics is a very recent redefinition of the word. He's just reverting to a definition that has existed and been in use for centuries, over a definition that's really only been in use for a few decades.

Just like if I call a certain packaged meat product "spam", you shouldn't consider that a redefinition, just because we've adopted (from that definition and a Monty Python skit), a newer definition meaning unwanted commercial e-mail.


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Post #1398053
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 3:24 PM
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Sigerson (12/18/2012)
I don't think Bill Nicolich intended to redefine the word technology as much as point out that making technology is what humans do, and limiting the definition of the word to mean only whiz-bang hardware is to limit our views of what it means to be human. In that context (and speaking anthropologically) I think it's a very interesting slant on things to see our human events, rituals, holidays, etc. as just another category of technologies.

A pocket knife is a survival tool and surely counts as technology. But think of how many human societies have some sort of midwinter festival or ritual or whatever, many of them involving lights or candles or bonfires to symbolize the coming return of the sun. It's pretty clear that these rituals play some positive role in helping those cultures survive.

That fits the anthropological definition of a technology well enough for me.


I don't see the need to call technology a ritual, or a ritual technology. Clearly the interaction between the two could be interesting, heck I bet people resort to ritual like behavior in their interactions with technology. I don't have a problem with a pocket knife being called an example of technology. You guys can honestly go with this, we should all honor everyones personal dreams and aspirations, I just don't see the need, especially in fuzzing up otherwise well defined terminologies.

What happens if my computer dies? Do I ask somebody to fix my ritual? Or maybe I call the hergulflufleluf and get a replacement hoogamypratzlewazzer? I mean c'mon, this is a tech forum. Are we really going to redefine things on the fly now? "I'll write this query," if by saying "write this query" you mean "take the rest of the day off".

LOL ok now I'm just having a bit of fun, really, Bill is welcome to post what he wants.
Post #1398072
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 4:16 PM
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GSquared (12/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (12/18/2012)
GSquared (12/18/2012)
patrickmcginnis59 (12/18/2012)
I don't see why we can't talk about our social and behavioral responses to technological advances without having to redefine perfectly functional words like the word "technology" itself. Is it really that hard to discuss relationships between areas of interest and how they combine or not without doing this word redefinition?


I missed where we redefined that word.


From the editorial:


Ever since reading Neil Postman's book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, I've been interested in broadening out the definition of technology to include far more than computing, and to include things like the various emotions in our register as a species, games, rituals and the like.




That's not actually a redefinition. That's a reversion from a redefinition. Technology = computers/electronics is a very recent redefinition of the word.

I don't believe the word technology has ever been limitted to computers and electronics, I can't recall anybody using it that way, the only way I could possibly think it works like that is because computers and electronics are used practically everywhere, and the non electronic tech is just not being waived around in pop culture like all the digital stuff is, ie., computers and digital tech is often the technology being discussed and it often just sort of defaults in. This does not stop me from discussing "optical technology" for instance, manufacturing technology, etc...

He's just reverting to a definition that has existed and been in use for centuries, over a definition that's really only been in use for a few decades.

I don't believe he's reverting to any definition that I can think of. I like the typical dictionary definition just fine. He did mention that he'd like to expand the definition.

"In the culture I'm in, living in the USA, technology mostly refers to computer technology. The last thing on people's minds when they think of technology are things like holidays and celebrations. But they are. They're social technologies designed to heighten social interaction, mark the passage of time, create anticipation and so forth. "

This is more of what I don't agree with. In no way would I view holidays and celebrations as being a technology. Now don't get me wrong, if this actually catches on, would I have any choice then in the matter? Of course not, just like in the 1980's I did not call unsolicited email "spam", nor would I start calling unsolicited email "spam" based on a single fellows definition unless it was an understood inside joke of some sort, or if a monty python script had it (and I had seen or heard it of course).

Theres not even a compelling need to call holidays and celebrations "social technologies" in my opinion. These sorts of new invented terms and usages do happen, and whether or not they become common in usage really depends on how society "votes" so to speak. Along those lines, consider my mild protest a bit of a vote on the issue. Certainly there are other votes here too. I will see for the next few years if his use pans out.


Just like if I call a certain packaged meat product "spam", you shouldn't consider that a redefinition, just because we've adopted (from that definition and a Monty Python skit), a newer definition meaning unwanted commercial e-mail.

I can offer some help here. "I am having a spam sandwich." This has context, you can read this with some certainty that I'm not putting unsolicitted email between two slices of bread.

Now, "I'm getting spammed like crazy!!!" What comes to mind?
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