[iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces

Simon Biggs simon at littlepig.org.uk
Sat Sep 9 06:38:48 EDT 2006

No, you misunderstand the issue I was addressing here.

The development of technology can be seen as independent to the development
of science. Science may be regarded as an ethical framework concerning how
we approach our knowledge of the world and deal with that socio-culturally.
It is in clear opposition to other models, including those associated with
mystical traditions, such as religion.

Technology as praxis has a different history to science and is not bound to
it. It was just as important during pre-modern times as it has been since
the emergence of science as the dominant ethical framework in the West. In
this respect the origins of technology are not in 19thC rationalist
standardisation but are to be found in manifold traditions.

The issue of intent - that the value of technology is a function of how it
is used - is thus irrelevant in this context.

I would agree with you that the social application of technological
metaphors to social organisation, as we have seen it in the past century
(what is often referred to as Taylorism), is a product of such a 19thC
philosophical framework. However, this is not a function of technology and
nor is technology a function of it. Taylorism was more to do with
industrialisation and the requirement for large populations to be organised
more or less as forced labour. This was a social process, not a
technological one, and more closely connected to scientific ethics than
technoligical praxis.



On 08.09.06 20:36, "Saul Ostrow" <sostrow at gate.cia.edu> wrote:

> Here again is that ontological confusion between motivation/ intent and means
> - while
> technology comes from the rationalist tradition of standardization - what
> orders it
> though are secular versions of such christian values a belief in transcending
> this all
> too mortal flesh -- and creating the kingdom of god on earth - and least of
> all immortality 
> --
> Open WebMail Project (http://openwebmail.org)
> ---------- Original Message -----------
> From: Simon Biggs <simon at babar.demon.co.uk>
> To: "Gere, Charlie" <c.gere at lancaster.ac.uk>, idc <idc at bbs.thing.net>
> Sent: Fri, 08 Sep 2006 15:31:02 +0100
> Subject: Re: [iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces
>> On 08.09.06 06:33, "Gere, Charlie" <c.gere at lancaster.ac.uk> wrote:
>> "as a marxist atheist, he proclaims the need to preserve the christian
>> legacy"
>> Ah, that is what Zizek is doing! That's why I was so confused.
>> I would have thought the Jewish and Arab rationalist legacies would be of
>> relevance here too. It could be argued that Modernity and its predecessor
>> forms, during the Rennaisance and Enlightenment, takes much from Arab
>> culture in the mid-first millenium and, of course most strikingly, the Greek
>> and Roman culture that the Arab's had been keeping alive all those
>> centuries. In this respect I think I agree with Zizek about new age stuff
>> but would extend that to quite a chunk of Christian thought as well (with a
>> few interesting exceptions, such as the Scholastics). Zizek just isn't
>> enough of an atheist for my taste.
>> Where Charlie talks about technology coming out of gnostic tradition I would
>> agree to some degree. This has been pretty well discussed elsewhere (Erik
>> Davis, for starters, but in many other contexts as well). Technological
>> processes have their methodological origins in alchemical traditions, which
>> in turn relate to Jewish mysticism and gnostic practices. The relation of
>> technology/knowledge to power is also dominated by this same logic, which
>> Foucault, for one, so brilliantly analysed.
>> However, a duality can be identified here between two traditions informing
>> Modernist rationalist thought - on the one hand Greco-Roman materialism and
>> on the other medieval mysticism and alchemical practices. Science is founded
>> on both of these traditions. Therefore this would suggest Marxism is also
>> similarly dualistic.
>> Mmmm? It's not just Zizek that's confused then. That's a relief.
>> Regards
>> Simon
>> Simon Biggs
>> simon at littlepig.org.uk
>> http://www.littlepig.org.uk/
>> AIM: simonbiggsuk
>> Research Professor, Edinburgh College of Art
>> s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
>> http://www.eca.ac.uk/
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> ------- End of Original Message -------

Simon Biggs

simon at littlepig.org.uk
AIM: simonbiggsuk

Research Professor, Edinburgh College of Art

s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

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