By Lee Siegel
From the writer hailed via the New York occasions booklet evaluate for his “drive-by brilliance” and dubbed by means of the New York Times Magazine as “one of the country’s such a lot eloquent and acid-tongued critics” comes a ruthless problem to the normal knowledge in regards to the such a lot consequential cultural improvement of our time: the net.
Of path the net isn't really something or one other; if whatever, its boosters declare, the net is every thing immediately. It’s develop into not just our basic medium for communique and data but additionally where we visit store, to play, to discuss, to discover love. Lee Siegel argues that our ever-deepening immersion in life on-line doesn’t simply reshape the standard rhythms of our days; it additionally reshapes our minds and tradition, in methods with which we haven’t but reckoned. the internet and its cultural correlatives and by-products—such because the dominance of fact tv and the increase of the “bourgeois bohemian”—have grew to become privateness into functionality, play into trade, and careworn “self-expression” with paintings. or even as know-how experts ply their alternate using the language of freedom and democracy, we cede an increasing number of keep an eye on of our freedom and individuality to the desires of the machine—that confluence of commercial and expertise whose obstacles now stretch to surround just about all human task.
Siegel’s argument isn’t a Luddite intervention opposed to the web itself yet quite a bracing allure for us to take care of how it is remodeling us all. Dazzlingly erudite, choked with startlingly unique insights, and buoyed by way of sharp wit, Against the Machine will strength you to determine our culture—for higher and worse—in a wholly new way.
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Additional resources for Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob
His 1971 best-seller Beyond Freedom and Dignity brought the scientific utopia to popular attention again. So well-known are its maxims of child-rearing and education that we nod in familiarity to the common coin of setting behavioral objectives, breaking learning into sequential steps, shaping through immediate reinforcement, eschewing punishment except to establish limits, learning by consequences, and achieving "stimulus control" by rearranging the place and time of our behavior. Misunderstandings of behaviorism abound, nevertheless, and that is one reason for this book.
Perhaps he saw elements of Watsonian social control in Hitler's Reich. Other critiques of behaviorism as ideology followed. "59 Against the perspective of centuries of dialectical thought (since Plato), behaviorism comes across the Atlantic as incredibly naive. The East German Lothar Bisky subjected neobehavioral mass communications research to extensive criticism, objecting especially to the intervening variable as employed by Carl Hovland on persuasion, R. P. 60 Bisky does not directly implicate Skinner but attacks neobehaviorism broadly conceived to include American empirical social psychology of the 1950s and 1960s.
The important difference consisted in this: the cat's escapes occurred one at a time, whereas the rat's lever press (or, later, the pigeon's peck) repeated itself again and again, producing reinforcement according to an ongoing schedule. A world of difference separates "elicited" and "emitted" behavior, as subsequent psychologists have shown. The one emphasizes antecedent stimuli, the other the consequences of the response. Taken together, they operationally define the way in which learning occurs.
Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob by Lee Siegel