Thursday, April 12, 2012



“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” – I want to use Dekard’s reluctance to kill an android despite knowing it isn’t real and his society’s obsession over animals to show a side of compassion in a futuristic humanity. I also want to talk about the technologic advances that they have that are supposed to quite literally bring happiness and how they are false and sometimes a source of misery for Dekard and his wife.

“Jimmy Corrigan” – I want to use this source to highlight our contemporary time. Jimmy exists close to modern day and suffers from the technology around him. His obsession with the telephone only aids his loneliness and need for human interaction.

“One Dimensional Man” – Not going to lie, I’m not entirely sure exactly which parts I want to use from this, but I feel most comfortable with this text. I definitely want to use a bit from chapter 1 when he talks about technology being used to repress the individual. I’d also like to find a good passage about his views on the human spirit; I know he talks about what an individual away from the system is like, but I jus need to find the passage.

“Frankenstein” – The case here is nearly the opposite: a man created by technology that struggles with his humanity. However, it does show a bridge to be crossed between the two ideas and can be interpreted as technology as a whole not being able to relate to our human emotions. The human side of Frankenstein wants to be accepted and asks for a mate, but he struggles due to his technological roots.

“Technology and the Changing Face of Humanity” by Feist, Richard; Shukla, Rajesh; Beauvais, Chantal. 2010, Philosophica, ISBN 9780776607160. – A large theme in this book is that technology is actually changing our humanity and that new philosophies are born out of our new state. I want to work the evolution of a subjective humanity into the essay using this as a source.

The Bible – Since it’s been used as a modern moral compass for many, I think it’s a good source to accurately explain what we as humans should ideally feel for each other. I will likely use the Sermon on the Mount or perhaps just the golden rule.

My argument is that while technology can help us accomplish tasks quicker or improve our lives in certain ways, at our core, there are things imbedded in our humanity that we must individually accomplish to achieve happiness. These things, such displaying as empathy for another, a sense of community or compassion for living things cannot be replaced by technology, no matter how convincing it may be.

The counter argument to this would be that others are satisfied by things and that the characters portrayed are just weak, the least fit of their species. While their traditional values are noble, their inability to find happiness in their era leads to conflict in their stories.

The reader should care because technology has remolded our culture significantly in the past twenty years. Just the fact that I’m communicating with all of you through text while miles apart instantly would be groundbreaking to the average person a few decades ago. Now we accept it as mundane. So much of our lives revolve around a technological dependency, that it’s a common problem to have lost touch with our human psychological needs. In other words, we all have a little bit of Jimmy Corrigan in us.

I think my layout will consist of first explaining our needs as a human psychologically. I’ll probably place the beatitudes here, show how they all have to deal with the way we interact with others on a higher level and how they make us feel accomplished.

From this, I want to use “Technology and the Changing Face of Humanity” to describe the core problem of technology being used to replace humanity; that people use things and ideas to attempt to replace our needs. I haven’t finished this book yet, so I want to see what arguments they might add.

I want to discuss “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” here. There are a lot of things that show a difference between technology and true happiness. The Pemfield, the empathy box and Dekard’s relationship with androids and his internal dialogue will all be discussed.

To reflect back at the reader, Jimmy Corrigan will be mentioned to show these effects can be felt in time with more simplistic technology that today. I don’t expect a whole lot to be said about Jimmy Corrigan, just enough to make today’s culture relevant to the argument.

Then I’ll get into the more heady stuff with Marcuse. I want to compare his viewpoints on true humanity and how he sees technology controlling to my viewpoints and possibly Dekard’s. I’d also like to touch on Marcuse vs. the Bible.

I’d wrap it up with the counter argument of those who cannot adapt their feelings of humanity are weak. I’d also want to do a rebuttal of this, saying repression of instinct is a bad consequence as we are working to adapt to technology, not making technology that adapts to us.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I'll just add a little to my comments on the previous draft.

The concept is fine, but very broad. You need to find a way of making what is broad at least somewhat more specific and focused. The initial, easy way to do this is narrow your texts down - do a reading of Jimmy Corrigna by way of "Technology and the Changing Face..." for instance, using other books only in a secondary way. You need *some* way to focus - this is only one possibility.

Your argument isn't terribly clear, although your area of interest is. What I wonder here is whether your'e really arguing that technology is irrelevant (that is, that the things which *really* matter are in no sense unique to our time) or that technology is leading us in some bad directions (perhaps away from the things which really matter). That apparent tension may resolve as you focus on a more limited set of texts - or, it may help you to narrow your focus.

Short version: focus, focus, focus. Fewer texts, clearer argument, *within* this area of interest that you've defined.