What innovation does:
Everything we invent, Marshall Macluhan concluded, has four essential effects:
€ First, each invention enhances or exaggerates the body part or faculty of which it is an extension. Thus, the car allows us to "run" faster and farther, thereby shrinking our experience of physical distance. Cars created suburbs and ‹ because we climb into them and wear them like skin ‹ they also create private space in public places.
€ Second, each invention obsolesces an old technology by replacing it with a new one. Thus, just as the telegraph displaced hand-carried messages, telephones displaced the telegraph, thereby shortening time and contributing to the immediacy McLuhan called the "global village".
€ Third, each new invention retrieves something old by using it in a new way. Thus, the first content of television became old movies, thereby inviting a nostalgia by rekindling our reflection of the past. TV has also rekindled our interest in nature by bringing it ever more vividly into our living rooms. Cities have inspired a romance with nature.
€ Fourth, when pushed to the limit, each new invention reverses the effect for which it was intended. Thus, the car, which was supposed to eliminate the horse manure that polluted 19th century cities, has now rendered some cities nearly uninhabitable because of toxic air emissions. And suburbia has created the traffic gridlock that increasingly renders car travel impossible.
Each of our inventions "massages" us into a new shape, changing how we think and behave. We become what we make. "You shape your tools and they shape you," McLuhan said. "It's a loop ‹ you start out a consumer and you wind up being consumed."
But its more than context that makes this happen...as Latour notes, only sociology seems to get away with blaming the social on the social.
So the seeds of destruction are built in to the object...
We invent cars...i want one, get one, use one...and so does everone else...we have to pay for them, drive to work, manufacture the traffic jam...more time driving less time working to pay for the car...and i find myself in a mobius strip...consumed by consumerism.
Its not 'the social' that creates this havoc...its collected beings, human and otherwise making it so.
I like to be in contact, i take to email...i get 10 a day, no sweat, 20 a day alright...how many a day before being overwhelmed...30-50? And then i stop looking...i dont want to know...so i switch media...i go to blog...but get spam..facebook...twitter but before i know it there's too much junk there too... want to gain my attetion?
quaint...write me a letter :)
they are so rare now
i would open it
Thursday, December 16, 2010
What innovation does: