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The Restoration of Christian Culture
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Restoration of Christian Culture > 4. Is this book technophobe?

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Manuel Alfonseca | 1383 comments Mod
What do you think about Senior's treatment of technology? Is technology morally neutral or is it morally bad? Do you agree with what Senior advises with respect to TV, musical equipment, typewriters, computers, et cetera? Do you think Senior would oppose to every technological advance, or just to a few?


message 2: by Jill (new)

Jill A. | 640 comments His exaggeration may be salutary. So much is beginning to be written these days about the bad effects of "screen time," no matter what is being watched/played. But surely there's value in adopting technology and using it for divine purposes. EWTN? Martin Luther is supposed to have asked, "Why should the devil have all the good tunes?"
There's a lot to be said for the approach the Amish take. They don't dismiss innovations wholesale but carefully examine how adopting a particular change will affect their entire way of life, change their values. So different local churches respect the fact that one group may permit something another rejects as too dangerous.


Madeleine Myers | 241 comments Bishop Barron believes technology can be used positively to make people aware of the beauty and truth which the Church has given the world through the ages. He advises using social media in a "loving way," not always an easy thing to do!


Kerstin | 100 comments No, I don't think he is a technophobe, otherwise he would have to object to the technology of printing books :)

Technology has a way of taking over, of disrupting our interaction with family and friends and beyond. This is especially bad these days with smart phones being ubiquitous. It impoverishes our lives.
To me it is all about using technology judiciously. I use it, but I can also leave it be and just pick up a book or my knitting.


John Seymour | 1808 comments Mod
I am not very far along, yet, but would have to say, yes, of course he is. He proudly proclaims himself to be so, at least to some extent.

"Shall we turn back the clock? Perhaps I shall simply excite unreflecting contempt by saying clearly, emphatically, and without irony, regret or Romantic cant, 'Of course!' We can and must turn back the clock - to the right time." p.45

Perhaps as I read further, that will prove to be, as Jill suggests, an exaggeration made for effect and he will qualify it. And I would note for Kerstin that he has as yet not said what the right time is, so presumably the printing press would be permitted.


John Seymour | 1808 comments Mod
I should add that I don't necessarily disagree with him, but am curious as to whether he will address the billions that would have to die if we were to turn the clock back far enough to get rid of television. Early in the book he pooh-poohs modern agriculture - fair enough, but I wonder, would he be willing to go without food that someone else might live. Or, since those someone else's would be concentrated elsewhere (China, India, Africa) would he rather just not think about it.

In tone, he comes off as a bit of a crank - I picture him sitting on the front porch, perhaps holding a blunderbuss rather than a shotgun, yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn.


John Seymour | 1808 comments Mod
John wrote: "I am not very far along, yet, but would have to say, yes, of course he is. He proudly proclaims himself to be so, at least to some extent.

"Shall we turn back the clock? Perhaps I shall simply exc..."


I should have read a little further - "100 years ago" appears to be the time of his golden mean - written in 1983, that would put his ideal level of technology at the 1880s.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1383 comments Mod
John wrote: "Shall we turn back the clock?... "100 years ago" appears to be the time of his golden mean - written in 1983, that would put his ideal level of technology at the 1880s."

Exactly, that's why one of the questions is called "Return to the nineteenth century" :-)


message 9: by Kerstin (last edited Sep 25, 2019 11:05AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kerstin | 100 comments Manuel wrote: "John wrote: "Shall we turn back the clock?... "100 years ago" appears to be the time of his golden mean - written in 1983, that would put his ideal level of technology at the 1880s."

Exactly, that..."


What kind of technologies is Senior concentrating on? He is primarily concerned with media, i.e., TV, radio, newspapers, stereos, the mediums that can and are being abused to indoctrinate. He doesn't go into cars, ships, or airplanes, or manufacturing machinery, etc., etc. What I saw him focusing on are the types of media that disperse, scatter, divide the family on many levels in our own homes. Sitting around the fireplace unencumbered from media intrusion is not such a bad thing - many do a version of this if only for a time while vacationing. What is doable in my mind is translating the gist of what he is getting at into our daily lives.


Madeleine Myers | 241 comments We decided on Fall 2016 not to get another television when the last one died. Our home is so much more calm and peaceful, and we don't miss it. There are better and more reliable sources of news, and most of the programming is so slanted towards glorifying sin and sleaze it's not worth the time it takes to watch it and we're reading more good books, getting more done. When our grandchildren come over we try limiting their time on devices by taking them places. It's a small start but makes a positive difference.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1383 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "What kind of technologies is Senior concentrating on? He is primarily concerned with media, i.e., TV, radio, newspapers, stereos, the mediums that can and are being abused to indoctrinate. He doesn't go into cars, ships, or airplanes, or manufacturing machinery, etc., etc."

But he also condemns mechanic typewriters (!) In fact, those machines were being invented just one century before this book was written, so his going back exactly one century is confirmed there.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1383 comments Mod
Madeleine wrote: "We decided on Fall 2016 not to get another television when the last one died. Our home is so much more calm and peaceful, and we don't miss it. There are better and more reliable sources of news..."

We practically never watch TV, we use it to show DVD mostly old films, or BBC adaptations of classical literary classics, so in this case we almost agree with Senior, but not altogether, as he would like we'd smash the TV :-)


Mariangel | 503 comments We don't watch TV either, but have one to play DVDs of our choice.


Kerstin | 100 comments Manuel wrote: "But he also condemns mechanic typewriters (!) In fact, those machines were being invented just one century before this book was written, so his going back exactly one century is confirmed there."

Yes he does :)
It certainly confirms what you've been saying, Manuel. Though I wonder, with the onset of typing the skill and need of penmanship has declined, and there are places where cursive is not even taught anymore. Our schools no longer bother that children learn to have good handwriting. This is certainly a loss in culture.


Mariangel | 503 comments And they get to college and their handwriting is deplorable.


message 16: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Seymour | 1808 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "Kerstin wrote: "What kind of technologies is Senior concentrating on? He is primarily concerned with media, i.e., TV, radio, newspapers, stereos, the mediums that can and are being abused to indoct..."

And he condemns modern agriculture, what I think he refers to as industrial agriculture, as a distinction to farming. I haven't gotten far enough along to learn if he also laments penicillin and other antibiotics or how he feels about vaccines. I suppose if a large portion of children die in childhood, advanced agricultural methods are less important.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1383 comments Mod
John wrote: "I haven't gotten far enough along to learn if he also laments penicillin and other antibiotics or how he feels about vaccines."

He never mentions medical advancements in the book, so I surmise he wasn't against them.

He wants to get back to the nineteenth century, but he apparently picks a few modern advances that he wants to keep. At least he doesn't condemn them.


Fonch | 1109 comments When my friend Manuel Alfonseca and me spoke about this book we spoke about an interesting thing. The diference between the traditionalism and the conservative. The second want to keep the changes as nothing had happened and the first knows that every age is different and he accepts the changes keeping the the beginings of the tradition. The spanish writer Juan Manuel de Prada spoke about these topics.


Kerstin | 100 comments I started to look at Senior's previous book, The Death of Christian Culture, and right in the first sentence of the first chapter, What is Christian Culture? is the answer to why he chose to go 100 years back:
Matthew Arnold was one of the hinges on which the English-speaking world, a century ago, turned from Christianity to Modernism.
It all hinges on Modernism. Senior wants to re-connect with the Christian culture that was still present toward the end of the 19th century, before Modernism took it's toll.

In the second part of the chapter he begins:
Culture, as in "AGRICULTURE," is the cultivation of the soil from which men grow. To determine proper methods, we must have a clear idea of the crop. "What is man?"

How he develops all of this I still have to read.


Manuel Alfonseca | 1383 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "I started to look at Senior's previous book, The Death of Christian Culture, and right in the first sentence of the first chapter, What is Christian Culture? is the answer to why he chose to go 100 years back:
Matthew Arnold was one of the hinges on which the English-speaking world, a century ago, turned from Christianity to Modernism."


I would say that the English-speaking world turned away from Christianity much earlier, at least with David Hume (1711-1776). Matthew Arnold is not so important. I'd bet most of the English-speaking people living today have never even heard about him. His brother's grandson Aldous Huxley is much better known than him.


Fonch | 1109 comments I would have the courage to say that Mathew Arnold un his period was more well known that nowadays.


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