“Aside from issues of life and death, there is no more urgent task for American intellectuals and writers than to think critically about the salience, even the tyranny, of technology in individual and collective life.”
– Leon Wieseltier, Among the Disrupted
“‘Aside from issues of life and death, there is no more urgent task for American intellectuals and writers than to think critically about the salience, even the tyranny, of technology in individual and collective life,’ wrote Leon Wieseltier last month in his call to arms against the threat technology poses to humanism. ‘Among the Disrupted‘ sparked a heated debate among its readers, or at least, as heated as can reasonably be expected in the letters section of the New York Times Book Review. As one critic pointed out, there are plenty of more urgent issues for all of us to ponder, child poverty and the pay gap among them. What struck me, though, wasn’t the essay’s hyperbole, but the inaccuracy of its target.
The problem facing writers now isn’t the growing prominence of tech, but the question of how deeply the two fields are intertwined, and what that relationship means. Most of the notable works of fiction published in recent years (Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven spring immediately to mind) present thoughtful considerations of the evolving relationship between the self and technology, and a lot of the people who read these books probably read them on the Kindle app. The same people who subscribe to Harpers read work published by the Atavist and curated by Longform. I’m writing right now in the notepad app on my iPhone, and you’re reading on your computer or your iPad or your own phone. How many writers do you know at this point who don’t have their own websites, Tumblrs, or blogs? For that matter, how many do you know who aren’t on Twitter?”
Read the rest at The Millions…
We want to hear from you! Tell us what you think in the comments below (or tweet us @chapmanoutreach–just don’t tell these two authors)!
Do you agree with Wieseltier that technology poses a tyrannical threat to the humanities? to individual and collective life? to human connection in general?
How is your own writing intertwined with technology and social media? If it isn’t, how and why is that?