Technology Day Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Technology Day. Here they are! All 100 of them:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete... Remember, to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person might not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
Bob Moorehead (Words Aptly Spoken)
V-Day…if you need this one day in a year to show everyone else you truly care for “your loved one” I think it’s quite stupid. I hate this commercialism. It’s all artificial, and has nothing to do with real love.
Jess C. Scott (EyeLeash: A Blog Novel)
At the end of a miserable day, instead of grieving my virtual nothing, I can always look at my loaded wastepaper basket and tell myself that if I failed, at least I took a few trees down with me.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.
Albert Einstein
We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past, like ancient stars that have burned out, are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about every day, too many new things we have to learn. New styles, new information, new technology, new terminology … But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
people seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us, but all it's really given us is Howard Dean's aborted candidacy and 24 hour a day access to kiddie porn. People... they don't write anymore, they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it's just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King's English.
Hank Moody
In the old days, writers used to sit in front of a typewriter and stare out of the window. Nowadays, because of the marvels of convergent technology, the thing you type on and the window you stare out of are now the same thing.
Douglas Adams
Cruelty is cheap, easy, and rampant. It’s also chicken-shit. Especially when you attack and criticize anonymously—like technology allows so many people to do these days.
Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are)
An eternal question about children is, how should we educate them? Politicians and educators consider more school days in a year, more science and math, the use of computers and other technology in the classroom, more exams and tests, more certification for teachers, and less money for art. All of these responses come from the place where we want to make the child into the best adult possible, not in the ancient Greek sense of virtuous and wise, but in the sense of one who is an efficient part of the machinery of society. But on all these counts, soul is neglected.
Thomas Moore
To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology, or in states of mind that allow us to travel to other worlds, to rise above our immediate surroundings. We may seek, too, a relaxing of inhibitions that makes it easier to bond with each other, or transports that make our consciousness of time and mortality easier to bear. We seek a holiday from our inner and outer restrictions, a more intense sense of the here and now, the beauty and value of the world we live in.
Oliver Sacks
When you visit countries that don't nurture these kinds of ambitions, you can feel th absence of hope...people are reduced to worrying only about that day's shelter or the next day's meal. It's a shame, even a tragedy, how many people do not get to think about the future. Technology coupled with wise leadership not only solves these problems but enables dreams of tomorow.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Some day perhaps our time will be known as the age of irony. Not the witty irony of the eighteenth century, but the stupid or malignant irony of a crude age of technological progress and cultural regression.
Erich Maria Remarque (The Night in Lisbon)
Next time you have a bad day, remember that it is amazing that you are alive at all, much less a member of a self-aware species living at the height of human technological progress.
Hank Green
Places don't matter to people any more. Places aren't the point. People are only ever half present where they are these days. They always have at least one foot in the great digital nowhere.
Matt Haig (How to Stop Time)
If they can’t survive alone for four days once a year, they deserve to die. (Acheron) That’s harsh, for you. (Dante) Harsh? Tell you what, you take my phone and skim through the three thousand phone calls I get every day and night and see how harsh I am. I truly hate modern technology and phones in particular. I haven’t had a full four hours of sleep in over fifty years. ‘Ash, I broke a toenail, help me. Ash, my head hurts, what should I do?’ (Acheron)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Stroke of Midnight)
Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation...tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.
Jean Arp
To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see overall patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or at least the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology or in states of mind which allow us to travel to other worlds, to transcend our immediate surroundings. We need detachment of this sort as much as we need engagement in our lives.
Oliver Sacks (Hallucinations)
Any technological advance can be dangerous. Fire was dangerous from the start, and so (even more so) was speech - and both are still dangerous to this day - but human beings would not be human without them.
Isaac Asimov
I am starting to get tired of relying on words. They are full of meaning, yes, but they lack sensation. Writing to her is not the same as seeing her face as she listens. hearing back from her is not the same as hearing her voice. I have always been grateful for technology, but now it feels as if there's a little hitch of separation woven into any digital interaction. I want to be there, and this scares me. All my usual disconnected comforts are bieng taken away, now that I see the greater comfort of presence.
David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
     ‘The onboard computer just wants to say a few words before we leave.’      The speakers in the cabin crackled into life. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome you on-board the presidential shuttle for tonight’s illicit flight, Alfa Bravo Charlie. I would just like to say it’s a pleasure to meet you all and thank you so much for coming here tonight to steal me. To be honest I don’t get out much these days so this is something of a special occasion.’      ‘It will be for us too if we get caught,’ Semilla said sardonically.
A.R. Merrydew (Our Blue Orange)
Two or three times a year, set aside four days, away from work, family, and technology, to check in with yourself, gain perspective, daydream, and evaluate your life.
Art Rios (Let's Talk: ...About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional)
Writing: such has been my crime ever since I was a small child. To this day writing remains my crime. Now, although I am out of prison, I continue to live inside a prison of another sort, one without steel bars. For the technology of oppression and might without justice has become more advanced, and the fetters imposed on mind and body have become invisible. The most dangerous shackles are the invisible ones, because they deceive people into believing they are free. This delusion is the new prison that people inhabit today, north and south, east and west...We inhabit the age of the technology of false consciousness, the technology of hiding truths behind amiable humanistic slogans that may change from one era to another...Democracy is not just freedom to criticize the government or head of state, or to hold parliamentary elections. True democracy obtains only when the people - women, men, young people, children - have the ability to change the system of industrial capitalism that has oppressed them since the earliest days of slavery: a system based on class division, patriarchy, and military might, a hierarchical system that subjugates people merely because they are born poor, or female, or dark-skinned.
Nawal El Saadawi (Memoirs from the Women's Prison (Literature of the Middle East))
As a technology startup, from the day you start until your last breath, you will be in a furious race against time. No technology startup has a long shelf life. Even the best ideas become terrible ideas after a certain age.
Ben Horowitz (The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers)
Everyone knows that the Internet is changing our lives, mostly because someone in the media has uttered that exact phrase every single day since 1993. However, it certainly appears that the main thing the Internet has accomplished is the normalization of amateur pornography. There is no justification for the amount of naked people on the World Wide Web, many of whom are clearly (clearly!) doing so for non-monetary reasons. Where were these people fifteen years ago? Were there really millions of women in 1986 turning to their husbands and saying, 'You know, I would love to have total strangers masturbate to images of me deep-throating a titanium dildo, but there's simply no medium for that kind of entertainment. I guess we'll just have to sit here and watch Falcon Crest again.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
These days, insecure in our relationships and anxious about intimacy, we look to technology for ways to be in relationships and protect ourselves from them at the same time.
Sherry Turkle (Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other)
The gravitational waves of the first detection were generated by a collision of black holes in a galaxy 1.3 billion light-years away, and at a time when Earth was teeming with simple, single-celled organisms. While the ripple moved through space in all directions, Earth would, after another 800 million years, evolve complex life, including flowers and dinosaurs and flying creatures, as well as a branch of vertebrates called mammals. Among the mammals, a sub-branch would evolve frontal lobes and complex thought to accompany them. We call them primates. A single branch of these primates would develop a genetic mutation that allowed speech, and that branch—Homo Sapiens—would invent agriculture and civilization and philosophy and art and science. All in the last ten thousand years. Ultimately, one of its twentieth-century scientists would invent relativity out of his head, and predict the existence of gravitational waves. A century later, technology capable of seeing these waves would finally catch up with the prediction, just days before that gravity wave, which had been traveling for 1.3 billion years, washed over Earth and was detected. Yes, Einstein was a badass.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
If Paul Revere had been a modern day citizen, he wouldn't have ridden down Main Street. He would have tweeted.
Alec Ross
We fill our days with ongoing connection, denying ourselves time to think and dream.
Sherry Turkle (Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other)
Precisely because technology is now moving so fast, and parliaments and dictators alike are overwhelmed by data they cannot process quickly enough, present-day politicians are thinking on a far smaller scale than their predecessors a century ago. Consequently, in the early twenty-first century politics is bereft of grand visions. Government has become mere administration. It manages the country, but it no longer leads it.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
We in our age are faced with a strange paradox. Never before have we had so much information in bits and pieces flooded upon us by radio and television and satellite, yet never before have we had so little inner certainty about our own being. The more objective truth increases, the more our inner certitude decreases. Our fantastically increased technical power, and each forward step in technology is experienced by many as a new push toward our possible annihilation. Nietzsche was strangely prophetic when he said, “We live in a period of atomic chaos…the terrible apparition…the Nation State…and the hunt for happiness will never be greater than when it must be caught between today and tomorrow; because the day after tomorrow all hunting time may have come to an end altogether.” Sensing this, and despairing of ever finding meaning in life, people these days seize on the many ways of dulling their awareness by apathy, by psychic numbing, or by hedonism. Others, especially young people, elect in alarming and increasing numbers to escape their own being by suicide.
Rollo May (The Discovery of Being: Writings in Existential Psychology)
The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” Trying out crazy ideas means bucking expert opinion and taking big risks. It means not being afraid to fail. Because you will fail. The road to bold is paved with failure, and this means having a strategy in place to handle risk and learn from mistakes is critical.
Peter H. Diamandis (Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World (Exponential Technology Series))
Capitalism, he noted, is not something imposed on us by some outside force. It only exists because every day we wake up and continue to produce it. If we woke up one morning and all collectively decided to produce something else, then we wouldn’t have capitalism anymore.
David Graeber (The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy)
On the first day of a college you will worry about how will you do inside the college? and at the last day of a college you will wonder what will you do outside the college?
Amit Kalantri
There are days technology is a complete bother.
Rachel Hauck (Once Upon a Prince)
Does he know that I called him three times and hung up right after we broke up? (I totally *67'd my number to block it, but with technology these days, you never know when someone's going to invent a way to get around that. Nothing's private anymore, you know?)
Lauren Barnholdt (Sometimes It Happens)
I believe the day Einstein feared the most is when people circulate pictures of dead bodies of relatives on WhatsApp and get Thumbs Down and Crying smileys as response.
Ketan Waghmare
It turns out that knitting isn't about the yarn or the softness or needing a hat (although we really can't argue with these secondary motivators). It's really about this: Knitting is a magic trick. In this day and age, in a world where science and technology take more and more wonder and work out of our lives , and our planet is quickly becoming a place running out of magic, a knitter takes silly, useless string, mundane sticks, waves her hands around (many, many times...nobody said this was fast magic), and turns one thing into another: string into a hat, string into a sweater, string into a blanket for a baby. It really is a very reliable magic.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
I hate technology. It provides so many different channels of loneliness. Every time you check your email and don’t see a new message, you know that, even though people have the ability to contact you at any time of the day from anywhere on the planet, no one is interested in doing so. Phones are constant reminders that 160 people you know fairly well have nothing to say to you most of the time.
Adi Alsaid (Somewhere Over the Sun)
My filmmaking education consisted of finding out what filmmakers I liked were watching, then seeing those films. I learned the technical stuff from books and magazines, and with the new technology you can watch entire movies accompanied by audio commentary from the director. You can learn more from John Sturges' audio track on the 'Bad Day at Black Rock' laserdisc than you can in 20 years of film school. Film school is a complete con, because the information is there if you want it.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Unsettling are the days in which everyone is an expert.
Criss Jami (Healology)
in these shitty plastic days ...
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
God, don't they teach you how to spell these days?" "No," I answer. "They teach us to use spell-check.
Jodi Picoult
The peculiar predicament of the present-day self surely came to pass as a consequence of the disappointment of the high expectations of the self as it entered the age of science and technology. Dazzled by the overwhelming credentials of science, the beauty and elegance of the scientific method, the triumph of modern medicine over physical ailments, and the technological transformation of the very world itself, the self finds itself in the end disappointed by the failure of science and technique in those very sectors of life which had been its main source of ordinary satisfaction in past ages. As John Cheever said, the main emotion of the adult Northeastern American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment. Work is disappointing. In spite of all the talk about making work more creative and self-fulfilling, most people hate their jobs, and with good reason. Most work in modern technological societies is intolerably dull and repetitive. Marriage and family life are disappointing. Even among defenders of traditional family values, e.g., Christians and Jews, a certain dreariness must be inferred, if only from the average time of TV viewing. Dreary as TV is, it is evidently not as dreary as Mom talking to Dad or the kids talking to either. School is disappointing. If science is exciting and art is exhilarating, the schools and universities have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of rendering both dull. As every scientist and poet knows, one discovers both vocations in spite of, not because of, school. It takes years to recover from the stupor of being taught Shakespeare in English Lit and Wheatstone's bridge in Physics. Politics is disappointing. Most young people turn their backs on politics, not because of the lack of excitement of politics as it is practiced, but because of the shallowness, venality, and image-making as these are perceived through the media--one of the technology's greatest achievements. The churches are disappointing, even for most believers. If Christ brings us new life, it is all the more remarkable that the church, the bearer of this good news, should be among the most dispirited institutions of the age. The alternatives to the institutional churches are even more grossly disappointing, from TV evangelists with their blown-dry hairdos to California cults led by prosperous gurus ignored in India but embraced in La Jolla. Social life is disappointing. The very franticness of attempts to reestablish community and festival, by partying, by groups, by club, by touristy Mardi Gras, is the best evidence of the loss of true community and festival and of the loneliness of self, stranded as it is as an unspeakable consciousness in a world from which it perceives itself as somehow estranged, stranded even within its own body, with which it sees no clear connection. But there remains the one unquestioned benefit of science: the longer and healthier life made possible by modern medicine, the shorter work-hours made possible by technology, hence what is perceived as the one certain reward of dreary life of home and the marketplace: recreation. Recreation and good physical health appear to be the only ambivalent benefits of the technological revolution.
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. I want to grow really old with my wife, Annie, whom I dearly love. I want to see my younger children grow up and to play a role in their character and intellectual development. I want to meet still unconceived grandchildren. There are scientific problems whose outcomes I long to witness—such as the exploration of many of the worlds in our Solar System and the search for life elsewhere. I want to learn how major trends in human history, both hopeful and worrisome, work themselves out: the dangers and promise of our technology, say; the emancipation of women; the growing political, economic, and technological ascendancy of China; interstellar flight. If there were life after death, I might, no matter when I die, satisfy most of these deep curiosities and longings. But if death is nothing more than an endless dreamless sleep, this is a forlorn hope. Maybe this perspective has given me a little extra motivation to stay alive. The world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look Death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
Carl Sagan (Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium)
In a world facing the revolt of ragged and hungry masses of God's children; in a world torn between the tensions of East and West, white and colored, individuals and collectivists; in a world whose cultural and spiritual power lags so far behind her technological capabilities that we live each day on the verge of nuclear co-annihilation; in this world, nonviolence is no longer an option for intellectual analysis, it is an imperative for action
Martin Luther King Jr.
Man must learn to stand and walk with his spirit rather than crawl with his technology before he allows that technology - which is the physical expression of his spiritual Shadow - to destroy him. God’s ultimate aim for Man is not known and not even knowable in our present state; we must become spiritually adult before we can even discover what God holds in store for us as a spiritual species; all previous ideas of Heaven (or Hell) or Second Comings or Judgment Days are childish attempts to come to terms with our own ignorance.
Iain Banks (Whit)
this distinctive confusion: these days, whether you are online or not, it is easy for people to end up unsure if they are closer together or further apart.
Sherry Turkle (Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other)
In the old pre-technology days, it would have been almost impossible to replicate Facebook or Twitter. The closest you could get would be to mail dozens of postcards a day to everybody you know, each with a brief message about yourself like: "Finally got that haircut I've been putting off." Or: "Just had a caramel frappuccino. Yum!" The people receiving these postcards would have naturally assumed you were a moron with a narcissism disorder. But today, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, you are seen as a person engaging in 'social networking'.
Dave Barry (I'll Mature When I'm Dead: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood)
I have been corrupted as much as anyone else by the vast number of menial services which our society has grown to expect and depend on. We should do for ourselves or let the machines do for us, the glorious technology that is supposed to be the new light of the world. We are like a man who has bought a great amount of equipment for a camping trip, who has the canoe and the tent and the fishing lines and the axe and the guns, the mackinaw and the blankets, but who now, when all the preparations and the provisions are piled expertly together, is suddenly too timid to set out on the journey but remains where he was yesterday and the day before and the day before that, looking suspiciously through the white lace curtains at the clear sky he distrusts. Our great technology is a God-given chance for adventure and for progress which we are afraid to attempt. Our ideas and our ideals remain exactly what they were and where they were three centuries ago. No. I beg your pardon. It is no longer safe for a man to even declare them!
Tennessee Williams
Any technological advance can be dangerous. Fire was dangerous from the start, and so (even more so) was speech—and both are still dangerous to this day—but human beings would not be human without them.
Isaac Asimov (The Caves of Steel (Robot, #1))
The parts of humanity that use to be civil are dead and gone. The only thing left is a technological, emotionless, colorless, dead version of reality we live in every day.
James Wheeler
What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?
Richard Louv (The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age)
We saw a pale echo of what is now possible in 1990-1991, when Saddam Hussein, the autocrat of Iraq, made a sudden transition in the American consciousness from an obscure near-ally - granted commodities, high technology, weaponry, and even satellite intelligence data - to a slavering monster menacing the world. I am not myself an admirer of Mr. Hussein, but it was striking how quickly he could be brought from someone almost no American had heard of into the incarnation of evil. These days the apparatus for generating indignation is busy elsewhere. How confident are we that the power to drive and determine public opinion will always reside in responsible hands?
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
One day, James Williams--the former Google strategist I met--addressed an audience of hundreds of leading tech designers and asked them a simple question: "How many of you want to live in the world you are designing?" There was a silence in the room. People looked around them. Nobody put up their hand.
Johann Hari (Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention— and How to Think Deeply Again)
The one plentiful herds of magazine writers would continue to be culled - by the Internet, by the recession, by the American public, who would rather watch TV or play video games or electronically inform friends that, like, 'rain sucks!' But there's no app for a bourbon buzz on a warm day in a cool, dark bar. The world will always want a drink.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
In high-performing organizations, everyone within the team shares a common goal—quality, availability, and security aren’t the responsibility of individual departments, but are a part of everyone’s job, every day.
Gene Kim (The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations)
One day I would like to make up my own DSM-111 with a list of “disorders” I have seen in my practice. For example, I would want to include the diagnosis “psychological modernism,” an uncritical acceptance of the values of the modern world. It includes blind faith in technology, inordinate attachment to material gadgets and conveniences, uncritical acceptance of the march of scientific progress, devotion to the electronic media, and a life-style dictated by advertising.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
In another thirty to fifty years, the demand for cheap labor will have produced even more machines over the employment of actual humans. And in that time frame, humans will have lost their voice, their power, all freedoms, and all worth. It is inevitable that machines will one day become the ultimate enemies of mankind. We are not evolving or progressing with our technology, only regressing. Technology is our friend today, but will be our enemy in the future.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
They have had their moment of freedom. Webley has only been a guest star. Now it’s back to the cages and the rationalized forms of death—death in the service of the one species cursed with the knowledge that it will die…. “I would set you free, if I knew how. But it isn’t free out here. All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all. I can’t even give you hope that it will be different someday—that They’ll come out, and forget death, and lose Their technology’s elaborate terror, and stop using every form of life without mercy to keep what haunts men down to a tolerable level—and be like you instead, simply here, simply alive…..” The guest star retires down the corridors.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
We have become so trusting of technology that we have lost faith in ourselves and our born instincts. There are still parts of life that we do not need to “better” with technology. It’s important to understand that you are smarter than your smartphone. To paraphrase, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your Google. Mistakes are a part of life and often the path to profound new insights—so why try to remove them completely? Getting lost while driving or visiting a new city used to be an adventure and a good story. Now we just follow the GPS.
Jocelyn K. Glei (Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind)
She never answers during the day," Max explained. "She lets her machine pick up." People like you are the reason other people get answering machines to begin with," Miles told him. "In fact, people like you are driving a lot of modern technology.
Richard Russo (Empire Falls)
When I went to Pixar, I became aware of a great divide. Tech companies don’t understand creativity. They don’t appreciate intuitive thinking, like the ability of an A&R guy at a music label to listen to a hundred artists and have a feel for which five might be successful. And they think that creative people just sit around on couches all day and are undisciplined, because they’ve not seen how driven and disciplined the creative folks at places like Pixar are. On the other hand, music companies are completely clueless about technology. They think they can just go out and hire a few tech folks. But that would be like Apple trying to hire people to produce music. We’d get second-rate A&R people, just like the music companies ended up with second-rate tech people. I’m one of the few people who understands how producing technology requires intuition and creativity, and how producing something artistic takes real discipline.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
We have everyday habits—formative practices—that constitute daily liturgies. By reaching for my smartphone every morning, I had developed a ritual that trained me toward a certain end: entertainment and stimulation via technology. Regardless of my professed worldview or particular Christian subculture, my unexamined daily habit was shaping me into a worshiper of glowing screens. Examining my daily liturgy as a liturgy—as something that both revealed and shaped what I love and worship—allowed me to realize that my daily practices were malforming me, making me less alive, less human, less able to give and receive love throughout my day. Changing this ritual allowed me to form a new repetitive and contemplative habit that pointed me toward a different way of being-in-the-world.
Tish Harrison Warren (Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life)
However, once technology enables us to re-engineer human minds, Homo sapiens will disappear, human history will come to an end and a completely new kind of process will begin, which people like you and me cannot comprehend. Many scholars try to predict how the world will look in the year 2100 or 2200. This is a waste of time. Any worthwhile prediction must take into account the ability to re-engineer human minds, and this is impossible. There are many wise answers to the question, ‘What would people with minds like ours do with biotechnology?’ Yet there are no good answers to the question, ‘What would beings with a different kind of mind do with biotechnology?’ All we can say is that people similar to us are likely to use biotechnology to re-engineer their own minds, and our present-day minds cannot grasp what might happen next.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
Gilan,” she said, “you’re looking well.” And apart from those wrinkles, he was. He smiled at her. “And you grow more beautiful every day, Pauline,” he replied. “What about me?” Halt said, with mock severity. “Do I grow more handsome every day? More impressive, perhaps?” Gilan eyed him critically, his head to one side. Then he announced his verdict. “Scruffier,” he said. Halt raised his eyebrows. “’Scruffier’?” he demanded. Gilan nodded. I’m not sure if you’re aware of recent advances in technology, Halt,” he said. “But there a wonderful new invention called scissors. People use them for trimming beards and hair.” “Why?” Gilan appealed to Pauline. “Still using his saxe knife to do his barbering, is he?” Pauline nodded, slipping her hand inside her husband’s arm. “Unless I can catch him at it,” she admitted. Halt regarded them both with a withering look. They both refused to wither, so he abandoned the expression. “You show a fine lack of respect for your former mentor,” he told Gilan. The younger man shrugged. “It goes with my exalted position as your commander.” “Not mine,” Halt said. “I’ve retired.” “So I can expect little in the way of deference from you?” Gilan grinned. “No. I’ll show proper deference….the day you train your horse to fly back around the castle’s turrets.
John Flanagan (The Royal Ranger (Ranger's Apprentice #12 Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger #1))
At the end of the day, bitcoin is programmable money. When you have programmable money, the possibilities are truly endless. We can take many of the basic concepts of the current system that depend on legal contracts, and we can convert these into algorithmic contracts, into mathematical transactions that can be enforced on the bitcoin network. As I’ve said, there is no third party, there is no counterparty. If I choose to send value from one part of the network to another, it is peer-to-peer with no one in between. If I invent a new form of money, I can deploy it to the entire world and invite others to come and join me. Bitcoin is not just money for the internet. Yes, it’s perfect money for the internet. It’s instant, it’s safe, it’s free. Yes, it is money for the internet, but it’s so much more. Bitcoin is the internet of money. Currency is only the first application. If you grasp that, you can look beyond the price, you can look beyond the volatility, you can look beyond the fad. At its core, bitcoin is a revolutionary technology that will change the world forever. Join
Andreas M. Antonopoulos (The Internet of Money)
In the 1860s the leaders of the cotton belt made one of the most prodigious miscalculations in recorded history. On the eve of the era of applied technologies, in which more and more work is done with fewer people and less effort, they made war to preserve the day of chattel slavery - the era of gang labor, with its reliance on the same use of human muscles that built the pyramids. The lost cause was lost before it started to fight. Inability to see what is going on in the world can be costly.
Bruce Catton (Waiting for the Morning Train)
The stories themselves aren't what moves him now...What moves him are the shadowy people behind the stories, the workers weary from their days, gathering at night in front of a comforting bit of fire...The world then was no less terrifying than it is now, with our nightmares of bombs and disease and technological warfare. Anything held the ability to set of fear...a nail dropped in a the hay, wolves circling at the edge of the woods...
Lauren Groff (Arcadia)
She shrugged, looking as baffled by it as he felt. "I don't know. I wonder sometimes if people even know what love is anymore. Some days, when I'm watching my friends change lovers as unperturbedly as they change shoes, I think the world just got filled with too many people, and all our technological advances made things so easy that it cheapened our most basic, essential value somehow," she told him. "It's like spouses are commodities nowadays: disposable, constantly getting tossed back out for trade on the market and everyone's trying to trade up, up--like there is a 'trading up' in love." She rolled her eyes. "No way. That's not for me. I'm having one husband. I'm getting married once. When you know going in that you're staying for life, it makes you think harder about it, go slower, choose really well.
Karen Marie Moning (Spell of the Highlander (Highlander, #7))
Of course, even before Flaubert, people knew stupidity existed, but they understood it somewhat differently: it was considered a simple absence of knowledge, a defect correctable by education. In Flaubert's novels, stupidity is an inseparable dimension of human existence. It accompanies poor Emma throughout her days, to her bed of love and to her deathbed, over which two deadly agélastes, Homais and Bournisien, go on endlessly trading their inanities like a kind of funeral oration. But the most shocking, the most scandalous thing about Flaubert's vision of stupidity is this: Stupidity does not give way to science, technology, modernity, progress; on the contrary, it progresses right along with progress!
Milan Kundera (The Art of the Novel)
Think of the corporate manager who gets two hundred emails per day and spends his time responding pell-mell to an incoherent press of demands. The way we experience this, often, is as a crisis of self-ownership: our attention isn’t simply ours to direct where we will, and we complain about it bitterly. Yet this same person may find himself checking his email frequently once he gets home or while on vacation. It becomes effortful for him to be fully present while giving his children a bath or taking a meal with his spouse. Our changing technological environment generates a need for ever more stimulation. The content of the stimulation almost becomes irrelevant. Our distractibility seems to indicate that we are agnostic on the question of what is worth paying attention to—that is, what to value.
Matthew B. Crawford (The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction)
Someday they would discover that the stars were not sacred, but made from the same material as their bodies. They would learn it was the stars that created their worlds, that worlds created their minds, that minds created tools, and tools could create stars. Growing, sprawling, thriving until they too became masters of their own understanding, chasing enlightenment with the fervor of having nothing to lose, launching from their homelands like fireworks with glorious yellow tails.
Jake Vander-Ark (The Day I Wore Purple)
The landed classes neglected technical education, taking refuge in classical studies; as late as 1930, for example, long after Ernest Rutherford at Cambridge had discovered the atomic nucleus and begun transmuting elements, the physics laboratory at Oxford had not been wired for electricity. Intellectual neglect technical education to this day. [Describing C.P. Snow's observations on the neglect of technical education.]
Richard Rhodes (Visions of Technology: A Century of Vital Debate About Machines Systems and the Human World)
Aurora took a deep breath. There it was, she thought, the reason behind all the madness. Why society was acrumble; why she and everyone else were on the brink of starvation. Humanity’s inevitable ending. The Darkspread. The Close. There, in the Golden Dragon’s dark underbelly was where all the maps stopped. ‘Two days from now, the Dark will cover the world,’ she said pensively, trying not to think what horrific sight awaited her behind the spring-loaded door, ‘and the Neon God shall rule over darkness.
Louise Blackwick (5 Stars)
Our spiritual traditions have carried virtues across time. They are tools for the art of living. They are pieces of intelligence about human behavior that neuroscience is now exploring with new words and images: what we practice, we become. What’s true of playing the piano or throwing a ball also holds for our capacity to move through the world mindlessly and destructively or generously and gracefully. I’ve come to think of virtues and rituals as spiritual technologies for being our best selves in flesh and blood, time and space. There are superstar virtues that come most readily to mind and can be the work of a day or a lifetime—love, compassion, forgiveness. And there are gentle shifts of mind and habit that make those possible, working patiently through the raw materials of our lives.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
Only Chromeheads believe the Neon God is a true god.’ ‘And yet we treat Him like one, all of us. We worship His Broadcast and we pray for His Justice and sacrifice on His altar each day. When our own eyes deceive us, we make His Jurors into Apostles of Truesight, or rely on worldview-enhancers like that drug Rhapsody or the VVV Visors. Day after day, we find our every thought and action judged by kynikois we can’t see, by arbitrary rules we don’t know, in a reality we rejected. We lead empty lives and so we empty the world of all meaning.
Louise Blackwick (5 Stars)
The Army's new pitch was simple. Good pay, good benefits, a manageable amount of adventure... but don't worry, we're not looking to pick fights these days. For a country that had paid so dear a price for its recent military buccaneering, the message was comforting. We still had the largest and most technologically advanced standing army in the world, the most nuclear weapons, the best and most powerful conventional weapons systems, the biggest navy. At the same time, to the average recruit the promise wasn't some imminent and dangerous combat deployment; it was 288 bucks a month (every month), training, travel, and experience. Selling the post-Vietnam military as a career choice meant selling the idea of peacetime service. It meant selling the idea of peacetime. Barf.
Rachel Maddow (Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power)
I hate all electronic toys: cell phones, e-mail, PalmPilots, handheld Global Positioning System equipment, and the whole raft of gadgets that intrude on solitude. When I was a kid I used to disappear into the woods all day. Now I can walk in the wilderness without wasting my valuable time. As I hike along I can call anyone in the world, schedule an appointment, take a picture of me standing next to a tree and then send the person a map so he or she can join me there. Solitude has been snuffed out.
David Skibbins (The Eight of Swords)
I saw an article a couple days ago, titled: 'new scientific research tells us how long sex should last' - I laughed and then moved on with my day, but it's been on my mind. So, while I am extremely grateful for modern conveniences, technology and the abundance of information that is readily available to me via the web, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe we've taken it all too far. There is a gadget for every job, so much technology that we crowd out all stillness, and information and articles about everything from how to properly brush your teeth to how to raise your kids (btw, all contradicting themselves). But how much better off are we really? We may know how long sex should last and how to brush our teeth, but are we any less confused about what the fuck we are doing on this plane and what our purpose here is? No. I don't think. Actually, I'd venture to say that we are more lost than ever before. We are lazy, mind fucked and completely disconnected from source energy. I think maybe we should spend less time worrying about stupid shit like how long you should really be having sex and more time growing our own food, raising our own kids and repairing the Earth plane that we are destroying with all our modern conveniences, technology and useless information.
Brooke Hampton
Human populations have driven other human populations to the brink of extinction numerous times throughout history. Now the entire species threatens itself with mass suicide. Not because anyone is forcing us to. Not because we don't know better. And not because we don't have alternatives. We are killing ourselves because choosing death is more convenient than choosing life. Because the people committing suicide are not the first to die from it. Because we believe that someday, somewhere, some genius is bound to invent a miracle technology that will change our world so that we don't have to change our lives. Because short-term pleasure is more seductive than long-term survival. Because no one wants to exercise their capacity for intentional behavior until someone else does. Until the neighborhood does. Until the energy and car companies do. Until the federal government does. Until China, Australia, India, Brazil, the U.K. - until the whole world does. Because we are oblivious to the death that we pass every day. "We have to do something" we tell one another, as though reciting the line were enough. "We have to do something" we tell ourselves, and then wait for instructions that are not on the way. We know that we are choosing our own end; we just can't believe it.
Jonathan Safran Foer (We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast)
Lately, because computer technology has made self-publishing an easier and less expensive venture, I'm getting a lot of review copies of amateur books by writers who would be better advised to hone their craft before committing it to print. The best thing you can do as a beginning writer is to write, write, write - and read, read, read. Concentrating on publication prematurely is a mistake. You don't pick up a violin and expect to play Carnegie Hall within the year - yet somehow people forget that writing also requires technical skills that need to be learned, practiced, honed. If I had a dollar for every person I've met who thought, with no prior experience, they could sit down and write a novel and instantly win awards and make their living as a writer, I'd be a rich woman today. It's unrealistic, and it's also mildly insulting to professional writers who have worked hard to perfect their craft. Of course, then you hear stories about people like J.K. Rowling, who did sit down with no prior experience and write a worldwide best-seller...but such people are as rare as hen's teeth. Every day I work with talented, accomplished writers who have many novels in print and awards to their name and who are ‘still’ struggling to make a living. The thing I often find myself wanting to say to new writers is: Write because you love writing, learn your craft, be patient, and be realistic. Anais Nin said about writing, "It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing."
Terri Windling
Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and makes life easier bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it. In war it serves that we may poison and mutilate each other. In peace it has made our lives hurried and uncertain. Instead of freeing us in great measure from spiritually exhausting labor, it has made men into slaves of machinery, who for the most part complete their monotonous long day's work with disgust and must continually tremble for their poor rations. It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man's blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours; [..] concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. - From a speech to students at the California Institute of Technology, in "Einstein Sees Lack in Applying Science", The New York Times (16 February 1931)
Albert Einstein
Death went on, If I'd sent you, with your taste for expeditious methods, the matter would have been resolved, but times have changed a lot lately, and one has to update the means and the systems one uses, to keep up with the new technologies, by using e-mail, for example, I've heard tell that it's the most hygienic way, one that does away with inkblots and fingerprints, besides which it's fast, you just open up outlook express on microsoft and it's gone, the difficulty would be having to work with two separate archives, one for those who use computers and another for those who don't, anyway, we've got plenty of time to think about it, they're always coming out with new models and new designs, with new improved technologies, perhaps I'll try it some day, but until then, I'll continue to write with pen, paper and ink, it has the charm of tradition, and tradition counts for a lot when it comes to dying.
José Saramago (Death with Interruptions)
We live now in an information technology. Flowers have always lived in an information technology. Flowers gather information all day. At night, they process it. This is called photosynthesis. As our neocortex comes into full use, we, too will practice photosyntesis. As a matter of fact, we already do, but compared for flowers, our kind is primitive and limited. For one thing, information gathered from daily newspapers, soap operas, sales conferences and coffee klatches is inferior to information gathered from sunlight.... Either because our data is insufficient or because our processing equipment is not fully on line, our own noctural processing is part-time work. The information our conscious minds receive during waking hours is processed by our unconscious during so called "deep sleep". We are in deep sleep only two or three hours a night. For the rest of our sleeping session, the unconscious mind is off duty. It gets bored. It craves recreation. So it plays with the material at hand. In a sense, it palys with itself. It scrambles memories, juggles images, rearranges data, invents scary or titillating stories. This is what we call "dreaming".
Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)
All knowledge that takes special training to acquire is the province of the Magician energy. Whether you are an apprentice training to become a master electrician and unraveling the mysteries of high voltage; or a medical student, grinding away night and day, studying the secrets of the human body and using available technologies to help your patients; or a would-be stockbroker or a student of high finance; or a trainee in one of the psychoanalytic schools, you are in exactly the same position as the apprentice shaman or witch doctor in tribal societies. You are spending large amounts of time, energy, and money in order to be initiated into rarefied realms of secret power. You are undergoing an ordeal testing your capacities to become a master of this power. And, as is true in all initiations, there is no guarantee of success. [Magician energy]
Robert L. Moore (King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine)
In all of these areas, the human brain is asked to do and handle more than ever before. We are dealing with several fields of knowledge constantly intersecting with our own, and all of this chaos is exponentially increased by the information available through technology. What this means is that all of us must possess different forms of knowledge and an array of skills in different fields, and have minds that are capable of organizing large amounts of information. The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways. And the process of learning skills, no matter how virtual, remains the same. In the future, the great division will be between those who have trained themselves to handle these complexities and those who are overwhelmed by them—those who can acquire skills and discipline their minds and those who are irrevocably distracted by all the media around them and can never focus enough to learn. The Apprenticeship Phase is more relevant and important than ever, and those who discount this notion will almost certainly be left behind. Finally, we live in a culture that generally values intellect and reasoning with words. We tend to think of working with the hands, of building something physical, as degraded skills for those who are less intelligent. This is an extremely counterproductive cultural value. The human brain evolved in intimate conjunction with the hand. Many of our earliest survival skills depended on elaborate hand-eye coordination. To this day, a large portion of our brain is devoted to this relationship. When we work with our hands and build something, we learn how to sequence our actions and how to organize our thoughts. In taking anything apart in order to fix it, we learn problem-solving skills that have wider applications. Even if it is only as a side activity, you should find a way to work with your hands, or to learn more about the inner workings of the machines and pieces of technology around you. Many Masters
Robert Greene (Mastery)
There's no present left. This is the problem for a novelist. [The problem] is the present is gone. We're all living in the future constantly . . . Back in the day Leo Tolstoy -- what a sweetheart of a count and of a writer -- in the 1860's he wanted to write about the Napoleonic Campaign, about 1812. If you write about 1812 in 1860, a horse is still a horse. A carriage is still a carriage. Obviously, there are been some technological advancements, et cetera, but you don't have to worry about explaining the next killer [iPhone] app or the next Facebook because right now things are happening so quickly. ("Gary Shteyngart: Finding 'Love' In A Dismal Future", NPR interview, August 2, 2010)
Gary Shteyngart
I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, three bucks for a magazine, twenty bucks for a book. One good idea would lead to a customer or a solution, and those magazines and books paid for themselves many times over. Some of the ideas I read were good, some not. In doing all the reading I learned a valuable lesson. Everything I read was public. Anyone could buy the same books and magazines. The same information was available to anyone who wanted it. Turns out most people didn't want it. I remember going into customer meetings or talks or go to people in the industry and tossing out tidbits about software or hardware. Features that worked, bugs in the software. All things I had read. I expected the ongoing response of: "Oh yeah, I read that too in such-and-such." That's not what happened. They hadn't read it then, and they still haven't starting reading it. Most people won't put in the time to get a knowledge advantage. Sure, there were folks that worked hard at picking up every bit of information that they could, but we were few and far between. To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time consuming all the information available, particularly with the internet making it so readily accessible, I can get an advantage in any technology business. Of course, my wife hates that I read more than three hours almost every day, but it gives me a level of comfort and confidence in my businesses.
Mark Cuban (How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It)
Until fairly recently, every family had a cornucopia of favorite home remedies--plants and household items that could be prepared to treat minor medical emergencies, or to prevent a common ailment becoming something much more serious. Most households had someone with a little understanding of home cures, and when knowledge fell short, or more serious illness took hold, the family physician or village healer would be called in for a consultation, and a treatment would be agreed upon. In those days we took personal responsibility for our health--we took steps to prevent illness and were more aware of our bodies and of changes in them. And when illness struck, we frequently had the personal means to remedy it. More often than not, the treatment could be found in the garden or the larder. In the middle of the twentieth century we began to change our outlook. The advent of modern medicine, together with its many miracles, also led to a much greater dependency on our physicians and to an increasingly stretched healthcare system. The growth of the pharmaceutical industry has meant that there are indeed "cures" for most symptoms, and we have become accustomed to putting our health in the hands of someone else, and to purchasing products that make us feel good. Somewhere along the line we began to believe that technology was in some way superior to what was natural, and so we willingly gave up control of even minor health problems.
Karen Sullivan (The Complete Illustrated Guide to Natural Home Remedies)
For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the Master of Mankind by the will of the gods and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium, for whom a thousand souls die every day, for whom blood is drunk and flesh eaten. Human blood and human flesh – the stuff of which the Imperium is made. To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruellest and most bloody regime imaginable. This is the tale of those times. Forget the power of technology, science and common humanity. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for there is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter and the laughter of thirsting gods.
Dan Abnett
But in dozens and dozens of studies, Latham and Locke found that setting goals increased performance and productivity 11 to 25 percent.5 That’s quite a boost. If an eight-hour day is our baseline, that’s like getting two extra hours of work simply by building a mental frame (aka a goal) around the activity. But not every goal is the same. “We found that if you want the largest increase in motivation and productivity,” says Latham, “then big goals lead to the best outcomes. Big goals significantly outperform small goals, medium-sized goals, and vague goals. It comes down to attention and persistence—which are two of the most important factors in determining performance. Big goals help focus attention, and they make us more persistent. The result is we’re much more effective when we work, and much more willing to get up and try again when we fail.
Peter H. Diamandis (Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World (Exponential Technology Series))
Clinging to politics is one way of avoiding the confrontation with the devouring logic of civilization, holding instead with the accepted assumptions and definitions. Leaving it all behind is the opposite: a truly qualitative change, a fundamental paradigm shift. This change is not about: • seeking "alternative" energy sources to power all the projects and systems that should never have been started up in the first place; • being vaguely "post-Left", the disguise that some adopt while changing none of their (leftist) orientations; • espousing an "anti-globalization" orientation that's anything but, given activists' near-universal embrace of the totalizing industrial world system; • preserving the technological order, while ignoring the degradation of millions and the systematic destruction of the earth that undergird the existence of every part of the technoculture; • claiming-as anarchists-to oppose the state, while ignoring the fact that this hypercomplex global setup couldn't function for a day without many levels of government. The way is open for radical change. If complex society is itself the issue, if class society began with division of labor in the Neolithic, and if the Brave New World now moving forward was born with the shift to domesticated life, then all we've taken for granted is implicated. We are seeing more deeply, and the explorations must extend to include everyone. A daunting, but exciting opportunity!
John Zerzan (Twilight of the Machines)
Over the years I have read many, many books about the future, my ‘we’re all doomed’ books, as Connie liked to call them. ‘All the books you read are either about how grim the past was or how gruesome the future will be. It might not be that way, Douglas. Things might turn out all right.’ But these were well-researched, plausible studies, their conclusions highly persuasive, and I could become quite voluble on the subject. Take, for instance, the fate of the middle-class, into which Albie and I were born and to which Connie now belongs, albeit with some protest. In book after book I read that the middle-class are doomed. Globalisation and technology have already cut a swathe through previously secure professions, and 3D printing technology will soon wipe out the last of the manufacturing industries. The internet won’t replace those jobs, and what place for the middle-classes if twelve people can run a giant corporation? I’m no communist firebrand, but even the most rabid free-marketeer would concede that market-forces capitalism, instead of spreading wealth and security throughout the population, has grotesquely magnified the gulf between rich and poor, forcing a global workforce into dangerous, unregulated, insecure low-paid labour while rewarding only a tiny elite of businessmen and technocrats. So-called ‘secure’ professions seem less and less so; first it was the miners and the ship- and steel-workers, soon it will be the bank clerks, the librarians, the teachers, the shop-owners, the supermarket check-out staff. The scientists might survive if it’s the right type of science, but where do all the taxi-drivers in the world go when the taxis drive themselves? How do they feed their children or heat their homes and what happens when frustration turns to anger? Throw in terrorism, the seemingly insoluble problem of religious fundamentalism, the rise of the extreme right-wing, under-employed youth and the under-pensioned elderly, fragile and corrupt banking systems, the inadequacy of the health and care systems to cope with vast numbers of the sick and old, the environmental repercussions of unprecedented factory-farming, the battle for finite resources of food, water, gas and oil, the changing course of the Gulf Stream, destruction of the biosphere and the statistical probability of a global pandemic, and there really is no reason why anyone should sleep soundly ever again. By the time Albie is my age I will be long gone, or, best-case scenario, barricaded into my living module with enough rations to see out my days. But outside, I imagine vast, unregulated factories where workers count themselves lucky to toil through eighteen-hour days for less than a living wage before pulling on their gas masks to fight their way through the unemployed masses who are bartering with the mutated chickens and old tin-cans that they use for currency, those lucky workers returning to tiny, overcrowded shacks in a vast megalopolis where a tree is never seen, the air is thick with police drones, where car-bomb explosions, typhoons and freak hailstorms are so commonplace as to barely be remarked upon. Meanwhile, in literally gilded towers miles above the carcinogenic smog, the privileged 1 per cent of businessmen, celebrities and entrepreneurs look down through bullet-proof windows, accept cocktails in strange glasses from the robot waiters hovering nearby and laugh their tinkling laughs and somewhere, down there in that hellish, stewing mess of violence, poverty and desperation, is my son, Albie Petersen, a wandering minstrel with his guitar and his keen interest in photography, still refusing to wear a decent coat.
David Nicholls (Us)
The commercialization of molecular biology is the most stunning ethical event in the history of science, and it has happened with astonishing speed. For four hundred years since Galileo, science has always proceeded as a free and open inquiry into the workings of nature. Scientists have always ignored national boundaries, holding themselves above the transitory concerns of politics and even wars. Scientists have always rebelled against secrecy in research, and have even frowned on the idea of patenting their discoveries, seeing themselves as working to the benefit of all mankind. And for many generations, the discoveries of scientists did indeed have a peculiarly selfless quality... Suddenly it seemed as if everyone wanted to become rich. New companies were announced almost weekly, and scientists flocked to exploit genetic research... It is necessary to emphasize how significant this shift in attitude actually was. In the past, pure scientists took a snobbish view of business. They saw the pursuit of money as intellectually uninteresting, suited only to shopkeepers. And to do research for industry, even at the prestigious Bell or IBM labs, was only for those who couldn't get a university appointment. Thus the attitude of pure scientists was fundamentally critical toward the work of applied scientists, and to industry in general. Their long-standing antagonism kept university scientists free of contaminating industry ties, and whenever debate arose about technological matters, disinterested scientists were available to discuss the issues at the highest levels. But that is no longer true. There are very few molecular biologists and very few research institutions without commercial affiliations. The old days are gone. Genetic research continues, at a more furious pace than ever. But it is done in secret, and in haste, and for profit.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
Phaethon asked: “Do you think there is something wrong with the Sophotechs? We are Manorials, father! We let Rhadamanthus control our finances and property, umpire our disputes, teach our children, design our thoughtscapes, and even play matchmaker to find us wives and husbands!” “Son, the Sophotechs may be sufficient to advise the Parliament on laws and rules. Laws are a matter of logic and common sense. Specially designed human-thinking versions, like Rhadamanthus, can tell us how to fulfill our desires and balance our account books. Those are questions of strategy, of efficient allocation of resources and time. But the Sophotechs, they cannot choose our desires for us. They cannot guide our culture, our values, our tastes. That is a question of the spirit.” “Then what would you have us do? Would you change our laws?” “Our mores, not our laws. There are many things which are repugnant, deadly to the spirit, and self-destructive, but which law should not forbid. Addiction, self-delusion, self-destruction, slander, perversion, love of ugliness. How can we discourage such things without the use of force? It was in response to this need that the College of Hortators evolved. Peacefully, by means of boycotts, public protests, denouncements, and shunnings, our society can maintain her sanity against the dangers to our spirit, to our humanity, to which such unboundried liberty, and such potent technology, exposes us.” (...) But Phaethon certainly did not want to hear a lecture, not today. “Why are you telling me all this? What is the point?” “Phaethon, I will let you pass through those doors, and, once through, you will have at your command all the powers and perquisites I myself possess. The point of my story is simple. The paradox of liberty of which you spoke before applies to our entire society. We cannot be free without being free to harm ourselves. Advances in technology can remove physical dangers from our lives, but, when they do, the spiritual dangers increase. By spiritual danger I mean a danger to your integrity, your decency, your sense of life. Against those dangers I warn you; you can be invulnerable, if you choose, because no spiritual danger can conquer you without your own consent. But, once they have your consent, those dangers are all-powerful, because no outside force can come to your aid. Spiritual dangers are always faced alone. It is for this reason that the Silver-Gray School was formed; it is for this reason that we practice the exercise of self-discipline. Once you pass those doors, my son, you will be one of us, and there will be nothing to restrain you from corruption and self-destruction except yourself. “You have a bright and fiery soul, Phaethon, a power to do great things; but I fear you may one day unleash such a tempest of fire that you may consume yourself, and all the world around you.
John C. Wright (The Golden Age (Golden Age, #1))
I was extremely curious about the alternatives to the kind of life I had been leading, and my friends and I exchanged rumors and scraps of information we dug from official publications. I was struck less by the West's technological developments and high living standards than by the absence of political witch-hunts, the lack of consuming suspicion, the dignity of the individual, and the incredible amount of liberty. To me, the ultimate proof of freedom in the West was that there seemed to be so many people there attacking the West and praising China. Almost every other day the front page of Reference, the newspaper which carded foreign press items, would feature some eulogy of Mao and the Cultural Revolution. At first I was angered by these, but they soon made me see how tolerant another society could be. I realized that this was the kind of society I wanted to live in: where people were allowed to hold different, even outrageous views. I began to see that it was the very tolerance of oppositions, of protesters, that kept the West progressing. Still, I could not help being irritated by some observations. Once I read an article by a Westerner who came to China to see some old friends, university professors, who told him cheerfully how they had enjoyed being denounced and sent to the back end of beyond, and how much they had relished being reformed. The author concluded that Mao had indeed made the Chinese into 'new people' who would regard what was misery to a Westerner as pleasure. I was aghast. Did he not know that repression was at its worst when there was no complaint? A hundred times more so when the victim actually presented a smiling face? Could he not see to what a pathetic condition these professors had been reduced, and what horror must have been involved to degrade them so? I did not realize that the acting that the Chinese were putting on was something to which Westerners were unaccustomed, and which they could not always decode. I did not appreciate either that information about China was not easily available, or was largely misunderstood, in the West, and that people with no experience of a regime like China's could take its propaganda and rhetoric at face value. As a result, I assumed that these eulogies were dishonest. My friends and I would joke that they had been bought by our government's 'hospitality." When foreigners were allowed into certain restricted places in China following Nixon's visit, wherever they went the authorities immediately cordoned off enclaves even within these enclaves. The best transport facilities, shops, restaurants, guest houses and scenic spots were reserved for them, with signs reading "For Foreign Guests Only." Mao-tai, the most sought-after liquor, was totally unavailable to ordinary Chinese, but freely available to foreigners. The best food was saved for foreigners. The newspapers proudly reported that Henry Kissinger had said his waistline had expanded as a result of the many twelve-course banquets he enjoyed during his visits to China. This was at a time when in Sichuan, "Heaven's Granary," our meat ration was half a pound per month, and the streets of Chengdu were full of homeless peasants who had fled there from famine in the north, and were living as beggars. There was great resentment among the population about how the foreigners were treated like lords. My friends and I began saying among ourselves: "Why do we attack the Kuomintang for allowing signs saying "No Chinese or Dogs" aren't we doing the same? Getting hold of information became an obsession. I benefited enormously from my ability to read English, as although the university library had been looted during the Cultural Revolution, most of the books it had lost had been in Chinese. Its extensive English-language collection had been turned upside down, but was still largely intact.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
In 2008, the national Coping with Cancer project published a study showing that terminally ill cancer patients who were put on a mechanical ventilator, given electrical defibrillation or chest compressions, or admitted, near death, to intensive care had a substantially worse quality of life in their last week than those who received no such interventions. And, six months after their death, their caregivers were three times as likely to suffer major depression. Spending one’s final days in an I.C.U. because of terminal illness is for most people a kind of failure. You lie on a ventilator, your every organ shutting down, your mind teetering on delirium and permanently beyond realizing that you will never leave this borrowed, fluorescent place. The end comes with no chance for you to have said goodbye or “It’s O.K.” or “I’m sorry” or “I love you.” People have concerns besides simply prolonging their lives. Surveys of patients with terminal illness find that their top priorities include, in addition to avoiding suffering, being with family, having the touch of others, being mentally aware, and not becoming a burden to others. Our system of technological medical care has utterly failed to meet these needs, and the cost of this failure is measured in far more than dollars. The hard question we face, then, is not how we can afford this system’s expense. It is how we can build a health-care system that will actually help dying patients achieve what’s most important to them at the end of their lives.
Atul Gawande
Most people don’t get (or want) to look at old news footage, but we looked at thirty years of stories relating to motherhood. In the 1970s, with the exception of various welfare reform proposals, there was almost nothing in the network news about motherhood, working mothers, or childcare. And when you go back and watch news footage from 1972, for example, all you see is John Chancellor at NBC in black and white reading the news with no illustrating graphics, or Walter Cronkite sitting in front of a map of the world that one of the Rugrats could have drawn–that’s it. But by the 1980s, the explosion in the number of working mothers, the desperate need for day care, sci-fi level reproductive technologies, the discovery of how widespread child abuse was–all this was newsworthy. At the same time, the network news shows were becoming more flashy and sensationalistic in their efforts to compete with tabloid TV offerings like A Current Affair and America’s Most Wanted. NBC, for example introduced a story about day care centers in 1984 with a beat-up Raggedy Ann doll lying limp next to a chair with the huge words Child Abuse scrawled next to her in what appeared to be Charles Manson’s handwriting. So stories that were titillating, that could be really tarted up, that were about children and sex, or children and violence–well, they just got more coverage than why Senator Rope-a-Dope refused to vote for decent day care. From the McMartin day-care scandal and missing children to Susan Smith and murdering nannies, the barrage of kids-in-jeopardy, ‘innocence corrupted’ stories made mothers feel they had to guard their kids with the same intensity as the secret service guys watching POTUS.
Susan J. Douglas (The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women)
Whether one calls slime molds, fungi, and plants “intelligent” depends on one’s point of view. Classical scientific definitions of intelligence use humans as a yardstick by which all other species are measured. According to these anthropocentric definitions, humans are always at the top of the intelligence rankings, followed by animals that look like us (chimpanzees, bonobos, etc.), followed again by other “higher” animals, and onward and downward in a league table—a great chain of intelligence drawn up by the ancient Greeks, which persists one way or another to this day. Because these organisms don’t look like us or outwardly behave like us—or have brains—they have traditionally been allocated a position somewhere at the bottom of the scale. Too often, they are thought of as the inert backdrop to animal life. Yet many are capable of sophisticated behaviors that prompt us to think in new ways about what it means for organisms to “solve problems,” “communicate,” “make decisions,” “learn,” and “remember.” As we do so, some of the vexed hierarchies that underpin modern thought start to soften. As they soften, our ruinous attitudes toward the more-than-human world may start to change. The second field of research that has guided me in this inquiry concerns the way we think about the microscopic organisms—or microbes—that cover every inch of the planet. In the last four decades, new technologies have granted unprecedented access to microbial lives. The outcome? For your community of microbes—your “microbiome”—your body is a planet. Some prefer the temperate forest of your scalp, some the arid plains of your forearm, some the tropical forest of your crotch or armpit. Your gut (which if unfolded would occupy an area of thirty-two square meters), ears, toes, mouth, eyes, skin, and every surface, passage, and cavity you possess teem with bacteria and fungi. You carry around more microbes than your “own” cells. There are more bacteria in your gut than stars in our galaxy. For humans, identifying where one individual stops and another starts is not generally something we
Merlin Sheldrake (Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures)
A disdain for the practical swept the ancient world. Plato urged astronomers to think about the heavens, but not to waste their time observing them. Aristotle believed that: “The lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.… The slave shares in his master’s life; the artisan is less closely connected with him, and only attains excellence in proportion as he becomes a slave. The meaner sort of mechanic has a special and separate slavery.” Plutarch wrote: “It does not of necessity follow that, if the work delight you with its grace, the one who wrought it is worthy of esteem.” Xenophon’s opinion was: “What are called the mechanical arts carry a social stigma and are rightly dishonoured in our cities.” As a result of such attitudes, the brilliant and promising Ionian experimental method was largely abandoned for two thousand years. Without experiment, there is no way to choose among contending hypotheses, no way for science to advance. The anti-empirical taint of the Pythagoreans survives to this day. But why? Where did this distaste for experiment come from? An explanation for the decline of ancient science has been put forward by the historian of science, Benjamin Farrington: The mercantile tradition, which led to Ionian science, also led to a slave economy. The owning of slaves was the road to wealth and power. Polycrates’ fortifications were built by slaves. Athens in the time of Pericles, Plato and Aristotle had a vast slave population. All the brave Athenian talk about democracy applied only to a privileged few. What slaves characteristically perform is manual labor. But scientific experimentation is manual labor, from which the slaveholders are preferentially distanced; while it is only the slaveholders—politely called “gentle-men” in some societies—who have the leisure to do science. Accordingly, almost no one did science. The Ionians were perfectly able to make machines of some elegance. But the availability of slaves undermined the economic motive for the development of technology. Thus the mercantile tradition contributed to the great Ionian awakening around 600 B.C., and, through slavery, may have been the cause of its decline some two centuries later. There are great ironies here.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)