Thursday, October 27, 2011

techNOlogy

(Dee Luo)
This must be as old a debate as any words invented to use in a debate. Technology versus human culture. Many 3rd world tribes have several feelings against media. The Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania prefer not to have their pictures taken because they think it will take their spirit away. The Armish as don't like it either but this is more directly to do with technology. From About.com:
"The Amish are averse to any technology which they feel weakens the family structure. The conveniences that the rest of us take for granted such as electricity, television, automobiles, telephones and tractors are considered to be a temptation that could cause vanity, create inequality, or lead the Amish away from their close-knit community and, as such, are not encouraged or accepted in most orders. Most Amish cultivate their fields with horse-drawn machinery, live in houses without electricity, and get around in horse-drawn buggies. It is common for Amish communities to allow the use of telephones, but not in the home. Instead, several Amish families will share a telephone in a wooden shanty between farms. Electricity is sometimes used in certain situations, such as electric fences for cattle, flashing electric lights on buggies, and heating homes."
The indigenous people of Australian people don't like to have their pictures taken because once they die they want to return to the earth, but a picture holds a part of them in the waking life even though they have passed away.

Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist who works at Intel Research says, "mobile phone manufacturers have developed popular phones for Muslim users that support their religious practices by (1) reminding them when it is time to pray, (2) orienting them towards Mecca and (3) disabling incoming calls for 20 minutes. She gave many other examples from Africa and Asia that showed how new technology is being used in ways that fit into the existing cultures." She continues "I found the message reassuring. It's easy to get worked up into a state of anxiety about what our modern world is doing to our societies. Human cultures are apparently more resilient than we naively assume."
I have a teenage daughter who sends and receives nearly 20,000 text messages a month. When she's not with me, it's the primary -- and sometimes sole -- way we communicate.

What are your thoughts? How do you see technology affecting your culture?

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