Kenn Hermann has an excellent blog called Radix Perspectives earlier in the year he wrote an interesting series on technology called “It’s just a tool”. One of his main claims was that
technologies are abstractions since they ‘abstract’ or lift out certain dimensions from the fullness of human experience and amplify them to the exclusion of virtually all other dimensions of life.
The problem with this abstractive characteristic of technology is that it makes it very difficult to fit such technology back into the rich normative fabric of human experience. Instead each technological devise, having been given a quasi-independent existence, begins to draw us into different rhythms and habits without us having thought though the implications it has for the many obligations integral to our total life.
This is an enlightening series; however I do have some questions: Is technology necessarily abstractive? Are other human artefacts abstractive in similar ways, or is this unique to technology? Is this abstractive quality a wholly negative feature of technology, or can it have its own benefits?
Some of Hermann’s language is reminiscent of Marxism using terms such as: Abstract, Alienated, Total. So perhaps reading some Marx will give me the opportunity to think about these questions.