“Is our technology changing what it means to be human that much?
This is a question without a definitive answer … so far. Futurists claim we are already cyborgs (we have glasses and pacemakers and use Google instead of memorizing things) and are going to keep changing, while leading sociologists of technology like Sherry Turkle point out that this often has more in common with malnutrition than evolution: just as eating junk food will keep us alive but not make us healthy, social networking and modern media are a cheap substitute that doesn’t really fulfill our needs as human beings.
New Existentialist Eugene Taylor has suggested that trying to deliberately “advance” the human species has been tried many times before, and always failed. “
This is from a very interesting article on the subject. Well worth the read.
What are your thoughts on how technology is changing human society & the actions/thoughts of Individuals? Do you think Empathy is something we can teach, or are (as the author suggests) times of solitude also important to help humanize ourselves? Let me know your thoughts in the comment space below.
3 thoughts on “Existentialism For The 21st Century”
Most importantly we need to realize that the new generations are being raised by technology. We raised a ‘YOLO generation’ that lost it’s contact with reality (partly) because of all the technology that makes human contact and interaction almost surreal. The problem is that philosophy is not taught in homes and in schools. Teens are not taught to think. Mindless multitasking is key to everything. Young people must be educated in basics of philosophy. Then they might be able to use technology responsibly and creatively.
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Thanks for your thoughts, Philip! Yes, I agree with what you say about this “YOLO Generation”. In a world where everything seems to be done with a tap, a swipe or a touch of a button, what is the use of true human relationships? You’re right about Philosophy not being taught, more specifically Critical Thinking. People these days seem to be all about “productivity” & “economic improvement” (is it not funny that some of the biggest news stories are how much the GDP grows or does not grow?). There is very little concern for the deeper issues that plague our planet, our species & the many cultures that make up the human family. I think people have to remember that Technology is simply a Tool. A means to an end. It seems we have become slaves to the very technology that was supposed to make life easier for everyone. Yet we have more disease, more stress & less time to spend on the pursuits that are Truly important to us as Individuals.
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The simple act of face to face conversation has almost become a thing of the past. Now if you don’t tweet or comment of Facebook, it would seem that you are not contributing to Social Discourse. But then, is there anything of true meaning in the Twitterverse or on Facebook? Where are the revolutionary ideas? Where are those deeper questions? Where are the Philosophers? It seems more important then ever that we begin to Philosophize with hammer strokes, as Nietzsche proclaimed over a hundred years ago.
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