Technology Essay, Research Paper
Technology is making life more convenient and enjoyable in which many of us are getting healthier, wealthier, and wiser. It is also affecting work, family, and the economy in unpredictable ways by introducing new forms of distractions, and posing threats to our physical communities. In Michael Heim s essay, The Cyberspace Dialectic, he classifies the characteristics of people within our society by coining the terms Na ve Realists and Network Idealists.
A na ve realist is a person who sees technology as a threat to lives in human existence. They fear everything about a computer generated world in which every human body socializes through a computer making their encounters with new people and of the world unrealistic. Abram would agree with Heim that if one depends in someone or seomthing entirely they would not depend on themselves. Heim says,
The na ve realist speaks from fear. There is fear of abandoning local community values as we move into a cyberspace of global communities. There is fear of diminishing physical closeness and mutual interdependence as electronic networks mediate more and more activities. There is a feaa of crushing the spirit by replacing bodily movement with smart objects and robotic machines. There is fear of losing athe autonomy of our private bodies as we depend increasingly on chip based implants. There is fear of compromising integrity of mind as we habitually plug into networks (372).
From this quote Heim is saying that a na ve realist fears the technological advances of the global community. They find that the advance of technology would be our downfall because we depend on technology completely. Na ve realists find that through technology our ability to network with others becomes limited to a screen in front of our face and a keyboard on our fingertips. Networking with another human being becomes impersonal with notations of emotions and greetings. Abram adds to this notion of fear by saying,
Sadly our culture s relation to the earthly biosphere can in no way be considered a reciprocal or balance one: with thousands of acres of nonregenerating forests becoming extinct each month as a results of our civilization s excesses, we can hardly be surprised by thre amount of epidemic illness in our cuture, from increasingly severe immune dysfuncitons and cancers, to widespread psychological distress, depression, and ever more frequent suicides (15).
Abram adds on to what Heim says about a na ve realist and of their fear about the rise in technology. Abram also says that technology is our downfall, that humans make their own grave. With the rise of technology we subject ourselves to a dead and diseased world where we use up our resources to benefit technology. We cause our own problems because of our overflowing need to benefit from technology.
A network idealist is a person who appreciates technology and accepts its endeavors. Idealists are posed to be optimists in which they see things in a positive perspective. Heim would characterize Mishra as an optimist because he saw how technology could benefit him, his people, and his homeland. Heim speaks of a network idealist by saying that The idealist points to evolutionary gains for the species and glosses over the personal sufferings of individuals. Idealists are optimists, or, on bad days, they are happy worrier. The optimist says, This is the best of all possible worlds, and even the pains is necessary component (373). A network idealist is a well-rounded person who needs a little of everything. They enjoy being impersonal with the world by networking themselves behind a computer and they also appreciate the extensive use of technology. As I said earlier Mishras is an optimist who finds good in the advance of technology. He says, These things satellite television, this Internet surfing are with us whether we like it or not. They are means. They can be used in a beautiful way. It is as if you were riding a lion you should be strong enough to tame the lion, or it will eat you (Stille 579). From this quote we see that Mishra and his people accept the use of technology and its components, like the Internet. They are optimists in a way because they see the elegance of technology. They see it as a benefit for them because they can learn from it and if they were using the Internet they would be able to contact people from around the world. They also perceive that technology is like a lion in which it could be tame or untamed. In other word s technology can either be controlled or it can control you.
As both terms, na ve realists and network idealists, are defined to be opposites, both have an intersectin quality that binds them together. Heim describe this with a new term and he call its virtual realism. The idea of virtual realism is that it does not have to tend na ve realism or network idealism; rather it becomes kind of a transition between the two. Heim says, virtual realism walks a tightrope. The delicate balancing act sways between the idealism of unstoppable Progress and the Luddite resistance of virtual life (379). What Heim is saying is that virtual realism is a thin line between a neaive realist and a network idealist. It makes a seperation between the two terms allowing it to split down the middle. Heim is trying to make us realize that there is an in between between a na ve realist and a network idealist. It sways between the two while at the same time balancing both of their differences.