Thursday, February 23, 2006

More Doom from the Doom- Master

... John Derbyshire, of course. This time he is worried about our culture's new- found reluctance to DO all the old physical things:

"I remember being a ten-year-old myself, spending hours watching my next-door neighbor, a butcher by trade but an amateur cabinet-maker by inclination, manipulating his saws, planes, chisels, and spokeshaves. My kids won’t even know what a spokeshave is, and won’t care. My neighbor was a keen gardener, too, and also a war veteran. There was nothing much unusual in 1955 about an ordinary working man of little education knowing the arts of soldiering, gardening, butchering, and cabinet-making. I suppose this man’s grandchildren occupy themselves with watching TV, day trading on their computers, and working out their income taxes. I suppose my kids will do likewise. Perhaps they will be happy, but it looks to me like lotus eating — a flight from humanity, from the basics of human existence.


".... Probably there are ineluctable forces at work here. Perhaps, as proponents of the “singularity” hypothesis, argue, human nature is about to be transformed by us human beings ourselves on a scale vastly greater than anything that stumbling, bumbling old Ma Nature has been able to accomplish this past 50,000 years, so that worries about us losing touch with our humanity will soon come to seem quaint, or perhaps just incomprehensible. Probably all that one can say about these developments is that one likes them, or not. All right. Put me down as a “not.” "

Good long essay, with more than I have touched on here. I am almost John's age, with similar memories. We are affected less by it in my village-- but even here, it's coming.

1 comment:

Heidi the Hick said...

This summer my dad will be teaching my 11 and 9 year olds how to weld. When he was a kid in the 50's most farm boys learned how to weld but now it's more of a tech-school trade specialty. Now we justhave to get their other grandpa to teach them drafting by hand without a computer. Hopefully all is not lost!