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Neil Postman: A Man Before His Time

Clarissa Poston

Posted on February 11, 2021 03:46

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Neil Postman, an American author, had the right idea when it came to avoiding any, and all, technology.

For those of you who don’t know, Neil Postman was an American author, an avoider of technology, and, overall, a man that knew more about our modern-day society than we do. I am currently in the middle of reading one of his books, “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, and I can confidently say that his avoidance of technology was a smart move to make.

In reading his book, I’ve come to realize that my life, due to my unfortunate addiction to technology, has become increasingly dull. I get caught up in worrying about what celebrities are wearing, what my old friends are doing, and the like, that I forget to live. This, I fear, is one of our society’s greatest issues. I fear that we have become so obsessed with what others are doing that we truly forget we have lives of our own to lead, which leads me to the following question: Are we truly living our own lives, or just going through life on a day-to-day basis, forever comparing ourselves to those we wish to be?

One of the new concepts Postman introduced me to was that of epistemology. In layman’s terms, epistemology is the discussion of the origins of knowledge. In the second chapter of “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, Postman discusses how we have transitioned to a “television-based epistemology”. I find myself agreeing with him, as our modern-day society puts a significant amount of faith in what we learn from the media; however, we fail to question if what the media is telling us can be classified as the truth. We, as a society, have become so focused on these media “truths”, that we have almost blinded ourselves to what the real truth may be. I find Postman’s claim to be quite compelling, especially seeing as he wrote this prior to his death in the early 2000s; therefore, prior to the large extent of media-based falsehoods we see today.

In my opinion, our lives would be immensely better-off without the ever-distracting forms of technology that we carry with us daily. Granted, yes, technology definitely has its benefits; however, I don’t feel as though these benefits outweigh the long list of things we’ve lost.

Although I cannot say for certain that Neil Postman was a happy, life-loving fellow, I feel inclined to believe that he led a full, successful life. With the avoidance of technology, I can only imagine the connections he made with others, the goals he chose to reach, and the person he chose to become. If we all chose to avoid technology to the best of our ability like Postman, I’d like to hope that we would be able to live the lives we truly desire, become the people we truly want to be, and reach each and every goal we put our minds to – all without the distractions and uncanny need for comparison that technology forces upon us.

Clarissa Poston

Posted on February 11, 2021 03:46

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