Living in the Labyrinth of Technology

Living in the Labyrinth of Technology
Author: Willem H. Vanderburg
Publsiher: University of Toronto Press
Total Pages: 847
Release: 2005-12-15
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 9781442659483

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From the very beginnings of their existence, human beings have distinguished themselves from other animals by not taking immediate experience for granted. Everything was symbolized according to its meaning and value: a fallen branch from a tree became a lever; a tree trunk floating in the river became a canoe. Homo logos created communities based on cultures: humanity's first megaproject. Further symbolization of the human community and its relation to nature led to the possibility of creating societies and civilizations. Everything changed as these interposed themselves between the group and nature. Homo societas created ways of life able to give meaning, direction, and purpose to many groups by means of very different cultures: humanity's second megaproject. What Das Kapital did for the nineteenth century and La technique did for the twentieth, Willem H. Vanderburg's Living in the Labyrinth of Technology seeks to create for the twenty-first century: an attempt at understanding the world in a manner not shackled to overspecialized scientific knowing and technical doing. Western civilization may well be creating humanity's third megaproject, based not on symbolization for making sense of and living in the world, but on highly specialized desymbolized knowing stripped of all peripheral understanding. Vanderburg focuses on two interdependent forces in his narrative, namely, people changing technology and technology changing people. The latter aspect, although rarely considered, turns out to be the more critical one for understanding the spectacular successes and failures of contemporary ways of life. As technology continues to change the social and physical world, the experiences of this world 'grow' people's minds and society's cultures, thereby re-creating human life in the image of technology. Living in the Labyrinth of Technology argues that the twenty-first century will be dominated by this pattern unless society intervenes on human (as opposed to technical) terms.

Emerging from the Dark Age Ahead

Emerging from the Dark Age Ahead
Author: Charles Fensham
Publsiher: Clements Publishing Group
Total Pages: 228
Release: 2011-02
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781926798059

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In this fascinating presentation of faith, Charles Fensham argues cogently and passionately for a church that embraces hope in spite of the dark and destructive pressures all around it. Although a metaphoric dark time awaits Christianity, Fensham assures his readers that this darkness merely conceals the light for the future. "Emerging from the Dark Age Ahead " offers a prophetic and challenging call for contemporary Christians to ask where we have come from, where we are, and where we are going. "Professor Fensham borrows from Jane Jacobs the metaphor of 'the Dark Age ahead, ' bringing social and cultural analysis to bear upon a fresh theology of church and mission for our time and place. Drawing from deep roots in the trinitarian tradition, and borrowing insight from historic monasticism, he calls for a pilgrim, steward church that will speak and act constructively in the coming time of troubles. This is a creative, original work that will stimulate theological students and lay folk as well."-Harold Wells, Professor Emeritus, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto "Insightful, provocative, instructive-words that describe how this book helps the church navigate the deep cultural challenge it now faces of massive technique organized through digitalization. Grounding the church's life in a missional hermeneutic of reading Scripture and the church's identity in the social Trinity, Fensham boldly, yet carefully, charts a course for engaging the dark age ahead."- Craig Van Gelder, Ph.D., Professor of Congregational Mission, Luther Seminary Charles Fensham has a unique perspective on the emergent church. Born in apartheid South Africa and raised within the apartheid-tainted Reformed church, he is an immigrant to Canada with experiences of the church in France, Switzerland, the South Pacific and Africa. He teaches at Knox College at the University of Toronto.

Secular Nations under New Gods

Secular Nations under New Gods
Author: Willem H. Vanderburg
Publsiher: University of Toronto Press
Total Pages: 443
Release: 2018-12-21
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9781487519193

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The ongoing political muscle-flexing of diverse Christian communities in North America raises some deeply troubling questions regarding their roles among us. Earlier analyses including Herberg’s Protestant, Catholic, Jew showed that these three branches of the Judaeo-Christian tradition correspond to three forms of the American way of life; while Kruse’s One Nation Under God showed how Christian America was shaped by corporate America. Willem H. Vanderburg’s Secular Nations under New Gods proceeds based on a dialogue between Jacques Ellul’s interpretation of the task of Christians in the world and Ellul’s interpretation of the roles of technique and the nation-state in individual and collective human life. He then adds new insight into our being a symbolic species dealing with our finitude by living through the myths of our society and building new secular forms of moralities and religions. If everything is political and if everything is amenable to discipline-based scientific and technical approaches, we are perhaps treating these human creations the way earlier societies did their gods, as being omnipotent, without limits. Vanderburg argues that until organized Christianity becomes critically aware of sharing these commitments with their societies, it will remain entrapped in the service of false gods and thereby will continue to turn a message of freedom and love into one of morality and religion.

Rescuing Humanity

Rescuing Humanity
Author: Willem H. Vanderburg
Publsiher: University of Toronto Press
Total Pages: 311
Release: 2023-05-26
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 9781487553708

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In Rescuing Humanity, Willem H. Vanderburg reminds us that we have relied on discipline-based approaches for human knowing, doing, and organizing for less than a century. During this brief period, these approaches have become responsible for both our spectacular successes and most of our social and environmental crises. At their roots is a cultural mutation that includes secular religious attitudes that veil the limits of these approaches, leading to their overvaluation. Because their use, especially in science and technology, is primarily built up with mathematics, living entities and systems can be dealt with only as if their "architecture" or "design" is based on the principle of non-contradiction, which is true only for non-living entities. This distortion explains our many crises. Vanderburg begins to explore the limits of discipline-based approaches, which guides the way toward developing complementary ones capable of transcending these limits. It is no different from a carpenter going beyond the limits of his hammer by reaching for other tools. As we grapple with everything from the impacts of social media, the ongoing climate crisis, and divisive political ideologies, Rescuing Humanity reveals that our civilization must learn to do the equivalent if humans and other living things are to continue making earth a home.

The Labyrinth of Technology

The Labyrinth of Technology
Author: Willem H. Vanderburg
Publsiher: University of Toronto Press
Total Pages: 494
Release: 2000-12-15
Genre: Science
ISBN: 9781442659476

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Why does modern technology succeed so brilliantly in some respects and simultaneously fail in others? While he was completing a doctoral thesis in mechanical engineering in the late 60s and early 70s, Willem Vanderburg became convinced that the environmental crisis and the possible limits to growth would require a fundamental change in the engineering, management and regulation of technology. In this volume he exposes the limitations of conventional approaches in these fields. Modern societies urgently need to rethink the intellectual division of labour in science and technology and the corresponding organization of the university, corporation, and government in order to get out of a self-destructive pattern where problems are first created by some than then dealt with by others, making it almost impossible to get to the roots of anything. The result is what he calls the labyrinth of technology, a growing patchwork of compensations that merely displace and transform problems from one place to another. The author's diagnosis suggests the remedy: a new, preventive strategy that situates technological and economic growth in its human, societal, and biospheric contexts, and calls for a synthesis of methods in engineering, management, and public policy, and of approaches in the social sciences and humanities. He also suggests that this same synthesis can be applied in medicine, law, social work, and other professions. The Labyrinth of Technology is a unique and invaluable text for students, academics and laypersons in all disciplines, and speaks to those who are torn between the benefits that modern technology provides and the difficulties it creates in our individual and collective lives.

Our Battle for the Human Spirit

Our Battle for the Human Spirit
Author: Willem H. Vanderburg
Publsiher: University of Toronto Press
Total Pages: 440
Release: 2016-08-04
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 9781487511111

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Western society has become saturated with scientific and technological modes of thinking that impact our lives and our relationships. Expanding social inequality, the use of social media and the rise of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are manifestations of this shift in our civilization. Our Battle for the Human Spirit is a comprehensive probe into what is happening to human life in the beginning of the 21st century. It explores how culture, experience, and symbolization have been replaced by scientific, discipline-based, approaches. Willem H. Vanderburg argues that these approaches are inadequate in understanding the complexity of human lives and societies. In order to transcend these limits, Vanderburg calls for the reintegration of culture and symbolization into our daily lives.

Our War on Ourselves

Our War on Ourselves
Author: Willem H. Vanderburg
Publsiher: University of Toronto Press
Total Pages: 401
Release: 2011-01-01
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 9781442644380

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Willem H. Vanderburg's Our War on Ourselves explores the type of war we have unleashed on our lives by emphasizing discipline-based processes.

The End of Ethics in a Technological Society

The End of Ethics in a Technological Society
Author: Lawrence E. Schmidt,Scott Marratto
Publsiher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
Total Pages: 264
Release: 2008-02-06
Genre: Philosophy
ISBN: 9780773578388

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Lawrence Schmidt and Scott Marratto challenge modern liberal ethics, arguing that there is no consistent ethical framework to deal with the long-range negative consequences of certain technological developments They examine established ethical approaches to such urgent contemporary concerns as environmental degradation, nuclear energy, high tech militarism, and fetal genetic testing, showing that the prevailing viewpoint valorizes autonomy above all other goods and considers technological advances as mere extensions of the range of human freedoms. Modern ethics thus fails to take into account the moral intuition that some possibilities in the realm of techno science simply ought not to be pursued. A comprehensive assessment of modern western society's commitment to technological progress, The End of Ethics in a Technological Society presents a convincing argument in favour of a post-liberal approach - one that rejects the ideology of progress, supports caution, and accepts limitation."