"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Tag Archives: Lewis Mumford

Jonah, Cassandra, and the Doom-Sayers — Reading Lewis Mumford During the Pandemic

“If we would conquer the hell that now threatens to engulf us, we must not seek merely for a little less hell, we must not content ourselves with a sort … Continue reading

July 20, 2022 · 1 Comment

The Magnificent Bribe

“The bargain we are being asked to ratify takes the form of a magnificent bribe.”- Lewis Mumford (1964) “Nearly 50 years ago, long before smartphones and social media, the social … Continue reading

November 9, 2021 · 2 Comments

Authoritarian and Democratic Technics, revisited

“The viability of technology, like democracy, depends in the end on the practice of justice and on the enforcement of limits to power.” – Ursula Franklin I. Is technology a … Continue reading

January 13, 2021 · 7 Comments

In Defense of Jonah

On December 17, 1972, at the occasion of his receiving the National Book Award, the social critic Lewis Mumford gave a rather odd acceptance speech. It featured many of the … Continue reading

October 8, 2019 · 13 Comments

From Megatechnic Bribe to Megatechnic Blackmail: Mumford’s ‘Megamachine’ After the Digital Turn

Without even needing to look at the copyright page, an aware reader may be able to date the work of a technology critic simply by considering the technological systems, or … Continue reading

August 2, 2018 · 7 Comments

Facebook – to delete, or not to delete?

‘Who rules here?’ I asked. They said: ‘The People naturally.’ I said: ‘Naturally the people but who really rules?’ – Erich Fried, “In the Capital.”   1. While many things … Continue reading

March 22, 2018 · 9 Comments

Be Wary of Silicon Valley’s Guilty Conscience: on The Center for Humane Technology

2017 was a somewhat difficult year for the tech titans, and it looks as though those problems persist in 2018. Of course, the key term in the previous sentence is … Continue reading

February 13, 2018 · 67 Comments

“Atomic warfare means universal extermination”

In 1946, Lewis Mumford penned an article in The Saturday Review of Literature under the none-too-subtle title “Gentlemen: You are Mad!” Over the course of two pages Mumford denounced as … Continue reading

August 9, 2017 · 6 Comments

Potential, Power and Enduring Problems – Anarchism and the Critique of Technology

What follows is the introductory section of an article titled “Potential, Power and Enduring Problems – Reassembling the Anarchist Critique of Technology” which I wrote for the journal Anarchist Developments … Continue reading

January 14, 2016 · 3 Comments

Living in the Exterminable Epoch

The end of the world comes in a variety of flavors: the wrath of god, catastrophic storms, gigantic asteroids, unstoppable plague, climate change, nuclear Armageddon…and the list goes on. Particular … Continue reading

July 16, 2015 · 1 Comment

Looking Up, With Our Feet Still On the Ground

It is important to look up. Not just from whatever it is that is occupying our attention at any given moment, but to look up as in “way up” – … Continue reading

November 19, 2014 · 1 Comment

Between the Scythe & the Reaper Drone – A review of Nicholas Carr’s “The Glass Cage”

Here is a thought experiment: reflect back on the last forty-eight hours of your life, how often did you find yourself relying on computerized technology for performing a function that … Continue reading

October 23, 2014 · 10 Comments

The Good Life or “the Goods Life” – The Thought of Lewis Mumford

Possessing tremendous foresight is not always an uplifting attribute. Likewise, a keen sense of hindsight may provide as much of an education in ruins as in woebegone romance. Yet it … Continue reading

October 19, 2014 · 31 Comments

Corrupting “The Corruption of Liberalism” – Brooks gets Mumford Wrong

The thought of public intellectuals may easily outlive their mortal bodies, their work enduring past the point at which they can still command much claim to a public. The work … Continue reading

October 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

And the Bandwidth Plays On…Reconfiguring the Internet on the Titanic

Almost all historians agree on the following fact: Internet access on the Titanic was terrible. Really, it was just horrible. It was nearly impossible to get a wireless signal, the … Continue reading

February 27, 2014 · 16 Comments

How Cheaply We Are Bribed…

Without meaning to be rude or insulting, here is a question for you to ponder: how cheaply can you be bought off? How lavish a bribe would need to be … Continue reading

October 22, 2013 · 13 Comments

The Summer of Fatigue and the Angel of History

Though the school year may have restarted, the summer has not truly ended as of yet. Thus, one can still ponder whether or not the summer of 2013 will be … Continue reading

September 9, 2013 · 5 Comments

“The Machine is Ambivalent” – on “inherent” qualities in technology

The question “is technology inherently evil or is the question a matter of how it is exploited and distorted in contemporary capitalism?” (quoted from Heathwood Press), is the type of … Continue reading

July 2, 2013 · 10 Comments

The NSA puts the “All Seeing Eye” back in Verizon

As they travel through the ether digital communications can be easily snapped up, copied, saved, analyzed, and stored without you ever knowing it. Your phone calls, text messages, e-mails, tweets, … Continue reading

June 6, 2013 · 3 Comments

You Better Not Cry, but You Better Shout! (Big Data is coming to town)

Humans sneeze information, and while most of us then just throw away the tissue, there are others who greedily fish this rag from the trash to analyze the traces left … Continue reading

May 13, 2013 · 19 Comments

This is Not what Resistance looks like – Google Glass as Technological Bribery

Is pre-emptive resistance to Google Glass going to prevent the device’s launch? Nope. Especially not if what passes for resistance are instances of a single bar banning the devices, legislators … Continue reading

May 8, 2013 · 24 Comments

Hit Print and Pull the Trigger

American politics and a segment of American society are currently engaged in that periodic shouting match known as the gun debate. Without intending to be overly cynical or simplistic, the … Continue reading

March 28, 2013 · 3 Comments

Through the Google Glass

Did you know that secretly recording somebody is illegal in California? James O’Keefe, the conservative provocateur behind such doctored classics as “ACORN assists in prostitution,” has recently received a pricy … Continue reading

March 17, 2013 · 20 Comments

Ne'er do wells



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