Friday, 12 January 2007

Technologies of the Self

Here's a course description I've just written for students at Srishti. Start teaching next week.

Technologies may be considered very broadly as means towards ends. They can help in the constant striving towards health and wholeness. Their inherent danger however, is that the tools may overshadow the purpose. The design challenge is to discriminate between means and ends, to keep the end in view, and to negotiate the narrow path between useful and dangerous technology. This path has become razor sharp and it is now time to reassess the value of our technologies in terms of personal well-being and the health of the entire planet.
In this lab we will look at spiritual as ecological technologies, emphasizing their complementarity. We will identify as a key issue the relationship between oral and literate culture, between listening and looking, between the vernacular and the institutional, between wisdom and knowledge, between science and superstition. We will trace, in the history of technology, a progression from embodied, participative experience to disembodied, abstract symbol. And we will also conjure future technologies to help to re-integrate and re-invigorate the body of the self and the world.

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