Art and Technics

Art and Technics

Art and Technics

Art and Technics

Synopsis

Featuring a new introduction by Casey Nelson Blake, this classic text provides the essence of Mumford's views on the distinct yet interpenetrating roles of technology and the arts in modern culture. Mumford contends that modern man's overemphasis on technics has contributed to the depersonalization and emptiness of much of twentieth-century life. He issues a call for a renewed respect for artistic impulses and achievements. His repeated insistence that technological development take the Human as its measure -- as well as his impassioned plea for humanity to make the most of its "splendid potentialities and promise" and reverse its progress toward anomie and destruction -- is ever more relevant as the new century dawns.

Excerpt

AT THE BEGINNING of a series of lectures, it is perhaps well to establish some common point of agreement between the lecturer and his audience; and to ensure this I shall begin by making a flat observation: We live in an interesting age! This is not quite so innocent a commonplace as you may fancy; for like the Chinese, who have lived through many periods of disorder and violence, similar to our own, I would use the word interesting in a somewhat acrid sense. We are told that when traditionally a Chinese scholar wished to utter a withering curse upon his enemy, he merely said, May you live in an interesting age! The Chinese knew that few of the good things of life could come to consummation in the midst of moral landslides and political earthquakes.

What makes our age so interesting, of course, is the number of shocking contradictions and tragic paradoxes that confront us at every turn, creating problems that tax our human capacities for understanding, releasing . . .

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