The 20th century was the peak of the Industrial…

The 20th century was the peak of the Industrial Age, and it culminates with the invention of the Internet. The mythical structure is that of the Titans, warring and fighting and love-making in order to give birth to the Gods that ultimately overthrow them.

Industrialization is about ordering; when humanity is the one so ordered the result is #alienation . In this fabulous interview, Postman delivers the 20th century's worries about the Digital Age as clearly and humbly as one can. The potential for radical alienation is, he thinks, the stakes of this Faustian bargain.

What everyone in the 20th century missed was that the Digital Revolution isn't just a continuation of the ordering of the Industrial Age. Instead, the Digital Age is about organization. Understanding how order and organization differ is the conceptual basis for the paradigm shift, but you don't need to understand the concepts to see it's implications. This paradigm shift is precisely why the paradigmatic structures of the digital age are the communities that Postman worries might not exist in the Digital World. In fact, such communities thrive in abundance, largely because we've worked out the ways for being co-present and assembling digitally. In 1995 those communities were still distant and hard to reach, but today billions of us are there, and it works.

Postman expected that technological change breeds only order, and thereby alienation, and so his worries here are entirely appropriate. In fact, technological change can also breed organization, and organization is holistic and presents only solutions to the alienation of the Industrial Age. Our deeply human sociality won out over the imposed alienation, and for this reason the Digital Age is reworking the fundamental organizational structure we've inherited from the age of industry.

Via +joe breskin

Neil Postman on Cyberspace, 1995

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