The wrong kind of social life

We’ve apparently seen this all coming for a long time. Farenheit 451 was first published in 1953.

Again and Again

mcallister_porch

“No front porches. My uncle says there used to be front porches. And people sat there sometimes at night, talking when they wanted to talk, rocking, and not talking when they didn’t want to talk. Sometimes they just sat there and thought about things, turned things over. My uncle says the architects got rid of the front porces because they didn’t look well. But my uncle says that was merely rationalizing it; the real reason, hidden underneath, might be they didn’t want people sitting like that, doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong kind of social life. People talked too much. And they had time to think. So they ran off with the porches. And the gardens, too. Not many gardens anymore to sit around in. And look at the furniture. No rocking chairs anymore. They’re too comfortable. Get people up and running around….”

Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451

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7 thoughts on “The wrong kind of social life

  1. This reminds me of something I read recently about the Amish. They decided against the automobile, because it was too fast and too enclosed to talk to neighbors as you drove it. Different communities thought through the benefits and the disadvantages for a long time, then decided against it. Too disruptive to social connection.

    The Amish aren’t anti-technology, they’re just careful.

    Makes me wonder. Are we, collectively, just too trusting of technology, and too naive about it’s harmful effects? Or are there those in power who think long and hard about it, the collective benefits and disadvantages, then make their decision by what gives them more control, and then they sell us on their decision?

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    1. I have the sneaky suspicion that technology just has us running in place. We use a car instead of a horse, and the distances just get spread out, the car imposes more externalities, and we still have to work to pay for the car, like the horse. What’s gained? Greater speed but longer distances so net zero plus pollution, roads, corrupt road contractors, etc.

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      1. Neil Postman wrote a lot about that kind of thing. Technology entices us with a promise of ease and efficiency, but ends up taking over and making things worse (or at least wholly different). In the 80’s and 90’s, companies started using computers en masse, but now whole departments in all companies are devoted to maintenance of the computer system, and if it goes down, the company can’t function. Huge, unforeseen amounts of money and manpower are now devoted specifically towards the new technology. From a profit/loss standpoint, has it been worth it? More importantly, has that question even been asked?

        It’s not the technology itself, but the unwavering faith that any new technology is always good and to be accepted, without any forethought about the consequences of what it displaces. Is this a Western inclination, or is it part of human hardwiring? The Amish example leads me to believe this is a Western thing.

        Postman equated technological change with ecological change. If you have an ecosystem, and take away or add just one thing (for example, add or take away grasshoppers), you don’t get the same ecosystem minus or plus grasshoppers. It changes everything. Nature dictates that any changes should be slow and measured, and sudden changes bring ecological revolution.

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  2. Patrick Kelly

    Porches are coming back in my neighborhood. Some folks are adding them back close to their front doors.
    It’s one of my roundtuits…

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  3. Bert

    So with you being a Georgian I have to ask: what are your thoughts on the governor’s race? Now that Brian Kemp has won the nomination do you think he’ll win? The establishment loves to shit on him but I find it very hard to believe an ultraliberal butt-ugly sheboon could possibly beat him.

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    1. I think it’s good evidence that the Democrats are becoming the party of blacks, Jews, homosexuals, and Jewish homosexuals. Zell Miller and Roy Barnes both won the governor’s office as Democrats in the 1990s. An under-employed lesbian lawyer like Abrams would never have been nominated. Non-urban whites are fleeing the Democratic party.

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