Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Disagreement, Modernity, Technology

In the last couple of weeks I have published three posts over at The American Conservative on disagreement and its management.

One

Two

Three

Since this blog largely deals with technological and academic questions, I tend to move over to AmCon when I have something to say about political and social issues … but there’s a lot of overlap to these broad categories, and I seriously thought about posting the third entry in that series here at Text Patterns.

Instead, I’m just linking to the series, but I want to point out something that seems important to me: that there is a clear and strong connection between (a) the need to think acutely about how social media shape our politics and ethics and (b) the need that I’ve been emphasizing here for a technological history of modernity. The pathologies of our shared socio-political life do not just arise from immediate contexts and recent technologies, but have been generated by disputes and technologies that go back at least half a millennium. The history of modernity’s rise and the critique of new media are in a sense a single enterprise, a point which, for all he may have gotten wrong, Marshall McLuhan understood profoundly.

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