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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, June 23, 2003
    The anti-blog?
     
    The internet is "an impoverished community... without a church, cafe, art gallery, theatre or tavern. No birds, rivers or sky. Plenty of human contact, but no humanity." Clifford Stoll wrote that, in Silicon Snake Oil. I bought it to celebrate my leaving computer programming for community work. Felt very virtuous. But that was 1995. Time for a rethink, perhaps. After a year blogging, time to take stock, assess the damage, celebrate what's healthy and good.

    I'm onto this thanks to an Adbusters mention of Quentin J. Schultze's Habits of the High-Tech Heart: Living Virtuously in the Information Age. It may be a successor to Silicon Snake Oil, another hard look, by an insider, at what our embrace of virtual technologies is doing to us. Schultze argues that the earlier 'e-utopianism' which Stoll opposed has given way to a 'new pragmatism' about what the net can and can't do. The problem, he says, is that this is led by economics; doesn't necessarily "encourage reflection on how technology shapes - and sometimes distorts - our understanding of community and virtue."

    Well, it got Christianity Today's reviewer deep into a discussion about "technological asceticism". Which was interesting. And although Dale Lature doesn't think Schultze goes far enough, he's been working on these issues every day for ages. Me, it's one book like this per eight years. So, I'll post this, then one-click. To be reviewed.