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de mortuis, nihil nisi bonum. and yet I believe he has a point.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/st...ciety.html

Quote:Lord Sacks said that advertising only made shoppers aware of what they did not own, rather than feeling grateful for what they have.

He insisted that a culture in which people cared solely about themselves and their possessions could not last long, and that only faith and spending time with family could bring true happiness.

The Chief Rabbi’s comments are likely to raise eyebrows because he singled out for blame Jobs – the co-founder of Apple who died last month – by likening his iPad tablet computers to the tablets of stone bearing the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses.

Speaking at an interfaith reception attended by the Queen this week, Lord Sacks said: “People are looking for values other than the values of a consumer society. The values of a consumer society really aren’t ones you can live by for terribly long.

“The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTune, i, i, i.

“When you’re an individualist, egocentric culture and you only care about 'i’, you don’t do terribly well.”

He went on: “What does a consumer ethic do? It makes you aware all the time of the things you don’t have instead of thanking God for all the things you do have.

“If in a consumer society, through all the advertising and subtly seductive approaches to it, you’ve got an iPhone but you haven’t got a fourth generation one, the consumer society is in fact the most efficient mechanism ever devised for the creation and distribution of unhappiness.”

Although religious leaders have in recent years used increasingly strong language to condemn banks and politicians over the financial crisis and the gap between rich and poor, few have directly criticised ordinary people for their materialism.
He does have a point. But the responsibilty for it even being a point lies with many others before Steve Jobs, and with each of us that clings to those values.

Steve just did a good job of capitalizing on it. Ultimately our values are our own, and nobody can force their own upon us.
(11-19-2011 9:36 AM)mark-in-dallas Wrote: [ -> ]He does have a point. But the responsibilty for it even being a point lies with many others before Steve Jobs, and with each of us that clings to those values.

Steve just did a good job of capitalizing on it. Ultimately our values are our own, and nobody can force their own upon us.

I agree that we are all ultimately responsible. It does seem to be the case - speaking personally - that we are influenced much more than we tend to be aware of by what surrounds us.

It only tangentially relates to materialism as such, but Tacitus spoke of the value of spending time in a primitive, non-technological culture away from distraction and higher body consciousness. He was concerned that technology and plastic, corporate culture was leading us to lose touch with certain more fluid and complex modes of consciousness.
Yes, Tacitus had many insightful posts, was another pherotalk member that I held in high regards, and was saddened when I heard of his passing.
Never mind that I use my iphone every day to keep in touch with friends and family I wouldn't otherwise be so close to. But i guess that doesn't count?
(11-19-2011 11:57 AM)halo0073 Wrote: [ -> ]Never mind that I use my iphone every day to keep in touch with friends and family I wouldn't otherwise be so close to. But i guess that doesn't count?

I don't believe the Chief Rabbi was suggesting we return to the era of brick-sized mobile phones, nor yet to carrier-pigeons. Many positive things came out of Apple, and one ought to recognize that. The glaring problem in our world today though is not unusable technology, but aspects of cultural degeneration that have accompanied our less than fully conscious adoption of it.

To speak at a slight tangent now (and not to undercut the recognition above), I do think that there is a danger we allow our social instincts to be sated by virtual communication that is less nutritious than the real thing. People with lots of friends on facebook (I confess to being one of them) seem to be less happy than those with only a few. One can speak of different possible cause and effect, but this at least points to an underlying phenomenon that might be important.
(11-19-2011 12:08 PM)Pheroquirk Wrote: [ -> ]The glaring problem in our world today though is not unusable technology, but aspects of cultural degeneration that have accompanied our less than fully conscious adoption of it.

I've already written about this in an earlier thread that you created at the other PT, Pheroquirk, but for the benefit of our newer members, I've linked to it below:

http://www.pheromonetalk.com/lounge/new-...post291369

I've seen other examples since. More extreme examples that convinced me the degradation is accelerating, especially in the Internet generation - those now in their teens that were born in the early to mid-90s and later.

We're raising a generation of cyborgs incapable of communicating face-to-face and can only have a normal conversation with technological assistance.

Musk
(11-19-2011 11:42 AM)Pheroquirk Wrote: [ -> ]I agree that we are all ultimately responsible. It does seem to be the case - speaking personally - that we are influenced much more than we tend to be aware of by what surrounds us.

It only tangentially relates to materialism as such, but Tacitus spoke of the value of spending time in a primitive, non-technological culture away from distraction and higher body consciousness. He was concerned that technology and plastic, corporate culture was leading us to lose touch with certain more fluid and complex modes of consciousness.


I can't spend more then two hours off of my Laptop without getting the shakes. I am the 99%
Damnit I just spent 20 minutes typing out a reply. I won't be able to state it all as well the second time, but here goes. I disagree on some points. I am raising a teenager right now (14 year old step-daughter) and while she is very plugged into texting and facebook, she does very well with face to face communications with us, her friends, teachers, coaches etc. If she was a cyborg, she would be happy to stay at home and to communicate electronically through devices, right? She's absolutely not satisfied with that. She insists on spending much of her free time with her friends, in person. It's the adults' responsibility to ensure that the next generation does not rely too heavily on electronics. I also think that we as humans are infinitely adaptable, always have been, always will be. I agree that this new generation faces new challenges that we do not fully understand yet, but isn't that always the case? The generational differences are always profound and marked. The challenge is to stay grounded and connected in real ways but those are things that have shifting parameters all throughout time. We will adapt, we will not lose our humanity, of that I am sure. And we might just be better for it.
(11-19-2011 2:19 PM)halo0073 Wrote: [ -> ]Damnit I just spent 20 minutes typing out a reply. I won't be able to state it all as well the second time, but here goes. I disagree on some points. I am raising a teenager right now (14 year old step-daughter) and while she is very plugged into texting and facebook, she does very well with face to face communications with us, her friends, teachers, coaches etc. If she was a cyborg, she would be happy to stay at home and to communicate electronically through devices, right? She's absolutely not satisfied with that. She insists on spending much of her free time with her friends, in person. It's the adults' responsibility to ensure that the next generation does not rely too heavily on electronics. I also think that we as humans are infinitely adaptable, always have been, always will be. I agree that this new generation faces new challenges that we do not fully understand yet, but isn't that always the case? The generational differences are always profound and marked. The challenge is to stay grounded and connected in real ways but those are things that have shifting parameters all throughout time. We will adapt, we will not lose our humanity, of that I am sure. And we might just be better for it.

Actually - in my view it is a false dichotomy you have created there (that either she is a cyborg, or she must have entirely escaped any noxious cultural-technological influences of our time). I appreciate how difficult it must be to bring up children, and life is always about trade-offs within constraints and I suppose I meant this discussion to have a more general context.

If I look around me though, it seems to me absolutely indubitable that technology has led to a profound loss in body consciousness, as well as a decline in the quality of thought and culture - at the level of the basest tramp, right up to the most elevated actor, singer, or philosopher. One almost needs to go back to primitive peoples to see examples of good posture and body consciousness. A man cannot easily go against the current of the time during which he lives, and it is close to impossible to entirely escape one's local cultural influence.

There are some almost hilariously reactionary theories which suggest that mankind has been living in a period of unbroken cultural and spiritual decline (despite undoubted progress materially and technologically) since some past golden age. I do not know about that. But certainly if we look on shorter timescales, high culture has declined in complexity and refinement since 1870ish even if at the same time it has become accessible to a broader audience.

I am not that pessimistic about the next century. Sometimes we need to go through a process of annealing in order to progress. But I think overconfidence about the cultural state we are in would be a mistake.
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