Sunday, December 6, 2009

catching up again: Chris Csikszentmihalyi and some scattered thoughts

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it” Alan Kay

Csikszentmihalyi said:
-technology is one of the most undemocratic process in Western culture.
-advancing technology only reinforces the status quo.
-technology was created by labor
-all technology is political but the politics are dissimulated in practice.

These statements remind me of the how technology incites human imagination. Sometimes for a brief moment as in Vincente Rafael example of cell phones used in 1995 in Manila, can be used for the gathering of “promise of justice’s arrival.” And sometimes the failures as in Lisa Parks article on Google Earth and “Crisis in Darfur” and in the end what it reveals, “how humanitarianism is intertwined with digital and disaster capitalism, and encourages us to recognize that high visual capital cannot resolve global conflicts”

And a little detour but in Tisng’s book Friction, she shows how the by classifying flower and seeds created a systemization later used for human cultures.

“Today, newly discovered plants are members of a pre-established scientific set: the plant kingdom, with its constituents families, genera, and species. They are self-evident elements of Nature and thus of little abstract interest. This success in reducing mysteries to facts speaks to the transformation of consciousness involved in making universality, and the global scale, self-evident. Botanical classification was an important catalyst for this transformation.

A key feature of this transformation was the erasure of the collaborations that made global knowledge possible. European botanical knowledge in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was gained by learning from Asians, Africans, and indigenous Americans who introduced Europeans to their native plants. Botanical treatises from this period acknowledge the centrality of these knowledge exchanges. As European power grew around the world, however, European botanist came increasingly to imagine themselves as communing directly with plants—and the universality of science—without the mediation of non-European knowledge. The very collaboration that had made this science possible was covered up, and the plants were asked to speak for themselves as elements of Nature.” p. 91

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