vendredi 15 août 2014

Humane Scheme.

Jay Springett, Who owns the means of not dying?, 2013.

But instead of being confined to a resentment that destroys life in the act of hurling defiance, we can now act directly on the nature of the machine itself, and create another race of these creatures, more effectively adapted to the environment and to the uses of life. At this point, one must go beyond Sombart's so far excellent analysis. Sombart pointed out, in a long list of contrasting productions and inventions, that the clue to modern technology was the displacement of the organic and the living by the artificial and the mechanical. Within technology itself this process, in many departments, is being reversed: we are returning to the organic: at all events, we no longer regard the mechanical as all-embracing and all-sufficient.

Once the organic image takes the place of the mechanical one, one may confidently predict a slowing down of the tempo of research, the tempo of mechanical invention, and the tempo of social change, since a coherent and integrated advance must take place more slowly than a one-sided unrelated advance. Whereas the earlier mechanical world could be represented by the game of checkers, in which a similar series of moves is carried out by identical pieces, qualitatively similar, the new world must be represented by chess, a game in which each order of pieces has a different status, a different value, and a different function: a slower and more exacting game. By the same token, however, the results in technology and in society will be of a more solid nature than those upon which paleotechnic science congratulated itself: for the truth is that every aspect of the earlier order, from the slums in which it housed its workers and to the towers of abstraction in which it housed its intellectuals, was jerrybuilt - hastily clapped together for the sake of immediate profits, immediate practical success, with no regard to wider consequences and implications. The emphasis in the future must be, not upon speed and immediate practical conquest, but upon exhaustiveness, inter-relationship, and integration. The co-ordination of our technical efforts - such co-ordination and adjustment as is pictured for us in the physiology of the living organism - is more important than extravagant advances along special lines, and equally extravagant retardations along other lines, with a disastrous lack of balance and harmony between the various parts.

The fact is then that, partly thanks to the machine, we have now an insight into a larger world and a more comprehensive intellectual synthesis than that which was originally outlined in our mechanical ideology. We can now see plainly that power, work, regularity, are adequate principles of action only when they cooperate with a humane scheme of living: that any mechanical order we can project must fit into the larger order of life itself. Beyond the necessary intellectual reconstruction, which is already going on in both science and technics, we must build up more organic centers of faith and action in the arts of society and in the discipline of the personality: this implies a re-orientation that will take us far beyond the immediate province of technics itself.

Lewis Mumford, Towards an Organic Ideology in Rethinking Technology, A Reader in Architectural Theory, Routledge, 1934 (2013), p.57.

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