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Reinventing the Wheel


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Table of Contents

Introduction Part One The Axis of Factual Success: From Controlling Circumstances to Colonizing Consciousness Chapter 1. Technology and the Biasing of Conduct: Establishing the Grammar of Our Narrative Primordial Technology in the Drama of Childhood Freedom As a Dialectic of Projecting Self and Objecting World Chapter 2. The Canons of Freedom and Moral Transparency: In Technology and the Media We Trust The Imagined Neutrality of Technology Individual Freedom and the Obdurate, Objecting World Just Saying No to the Logic of Choice Chapter 3. Technology As Savior: It's Getting Better, Better All the Time Technology: The Original Broken Promise Toward an Ethics of Resistance Chapter 4. The Direction of Technical Evolution: A Different Kind of Caveat Cultivating Discontent: Advantaging Existence--Living Apart and at a Distance The Corporation As Technology Chapter 5. The New Colonialism: From an Ignoble Past to an Invisible Future Extending Control through Cultivating Dependence: The Colonial Method The Evolution of Colonial Intent into the Development Objective and Beyond The Colonization of Consciousness Chapter 6. Pluralism Versus the Commodification of Values Is There a Universal Technological Path? Independent Values, the Value of Independence, and the Erosion of Traditions Part Two Practicing the Unprecedented: A Buddhist Intermission Chapter 7. Appreciative Virtuosity: The Buddhist Alternative to Control and Independence Liberating Intimacy: A New Copernican Revolution Responding to Trouble: The Character of Buddhist Technologies Technological Difference: The Case of Healing Unlocking the Treasury: A Matter of Will or the Fruit of Offering? Practicing the Dissolution of Wanting Part Three The Wheel of Dramatic Impoverishment: The Crisis of Community in the Information Age Chapter 8. Concentrating Power: Are Technologies of Control Ever Truly Democratic? Control and the Conflicts of Advantage Mediated Control and the "Democratic" Process The Societal Nature of a Controlling Advantage Just Saying No: A Case History of Technical Dilemma The Meaningless Politics of Generic Democracy Chapter 9. Narcissism and Nihilism: The Atrophy of Dramatic Attention and the End of Authentic Materialism Rationalizing Subjectivity: The Imperative Splitting of the Nuclear Self Nothing Really Matters Anymore, Not Even Matter Iconography and the End of Materialism Losing Our Direction: The Iconic Roots of Boredom From Perception to Conception: Deepening the New, Lock Groove The Commodity-Driven Translation of Desiring into Wanting Chapter 10. The New Meaning of Biography: The Efficient Self in Calculated Crisis Commerce and Commodity: The New Grammar and Vocabulary of "I Am ..." The Efficiency of Stress: Controlling Time and Misguiding Attention The Infertility of Expert Mind The Victimization of Suffering: An Expert Inversion The Commodification of Dramatic Meaning Consuming and Being Consumed: The Law of the Postmodern Jungle The Rationality of Litter: Consuming Self, Consumed Community The Production of Biographical Litter: Changing Minds in an Age of Lifestyle Choices Chapter 11. The Digital Age and the Defeat of Chaos: Attentive Modality, the Media, and the Loss of Narrative Wilderness A Reason to Be Naive: Disparities in the Metaphysics of Meaning Calculation and Narration: Disparate Modes of World-Making The Digital Defeat of Analogy: The Numerology of Rational Values The Media and Digital Trouble: Suffering Alone Together Mediation and Mediocrity Media and the Declining Narrativity of Popular Culture The Mediated Wilderness The Density of Postmodern Time and Space and the Craving for Volume Chapter 12. So What? Bibliography Index

About the Author

Peter D. Hershock is a Fellow of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu. He is the author of Liberating Intimacy: Enlightenment and Social Virtuosity in Ch'an Buddhism, also published by SUNY Press.


"Hershock clearly brings the root suppositions of western cultural dynamics to our awareness, while contrasting its fundamental values such as independence, individual freedom, and a control of the world, with those of Buddhism. If we continue to accept these western cultural presuppositions, he argues, they will trap us in a 'wheel' of existence, in life's perpetual karmic circle. Although many tend to think that technology is a savior, this is merely an illusion-it colonizes our consciousness. Hence, Hershock argues that we must reinvent the wheel of existence by replacing independence with interdependence, control with appreciation, being with value. In a word, we must free ourselves from ego-based desire through the practice of Zen meditation for the sake of the health and sanity of humanity. He asks the reader to weigh the consequences if we choose to remain oblivious to the karmic bind and its perpetual circle." - Shigenori Nagatomo, author of Attunement Through the Body "Reinventing the Wheel demonstrates the necessity to accommodate spirituality within the context of an inexorably technological society. It enjoins, with however light a touch, not simply reflection but practice. We are provided some suggestions as to how we might take back the consciousness from which we have become increasingly alienated by technological media." - David L. Hall, author of Anticipating China: Thinking through the Narratives of Chinese and Western Culture (with Roger T. Ames) "On the edge of the third millennium with technologies accelerating the pace of change, this is indeed a timely and exciting piece of scholarship." - Roger T. Ames, editor of Self as Image in Asian Theory and Practice (with Thomas P. Kasulis and Wimal Dissanayake)

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