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Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death

Everything is a story, including math, science, and your nosey neighbor.  What do good teachers, managers, actors, athletes, and parents have in common?  They are good storytellers.  Amusing Ourselves to Death is an essential read full of inspiration, information, and angst by a good storyteller.  The author, Neil Postman, explores our culture, the costs and benefits of technology, and why he is hopeful for our future.  Below are a few excerpts and video clip to give some background before reading.  

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.  What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.  Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.  As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny 'failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions'.  In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain.  In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.  In short, in novel Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

Henry David Thoreau told us: "All our inventions are improved means to an unimproved end."...Goethe told us:  "One should, each day, try to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it is possible, speak a few reasonable words."...Socrates told us:  "The unexamined life is not worth living."...the prophet Micah told us:  "What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?" And I can tell you...what Confucius, Isaiah, Jesus, Mohammad, the Buddha, Spinoza and Shakespeare told us... There is no escaping from ourselves.  The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory."

--Neil Postman

Panel Discussion: 25 Years of “Amusing Ourselves to Death”

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