Re: feminism, postmodernism & science

Tibor Benke (benke@SFU.CA)
Sun, 2 Apr 1995 03:56:42 -0700

John McCreery rebuts me:

>Tibor Benke writes,
>"John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM) asks:
>>A question for parties on all sides: How shall we, as anthropologists
>>deal with the fact that science is both a human, and thus inevitably
>>flawed, activity and also the most powerful and productive source
>>of new technology and social change the world has ever seen?
>Perhaps, by considering the velocity and the direction of the change and
>the negative effects of the technology ."
>Why only the negative effects? Or is it that you really mean negative as well
>as positive effects? Surely both should be considered.
>John McCreery

The positive aspects are now assumed - hegemonic.

This probably is a matter of point of view, but from where I am sitting, it
seems like if we don't concentrate on recognising and stopping the negative
effects, the biosphere will be destroyed by the time my grandchildren are
grown ( that is, if my children will even be brave enough to reproduce).
But please don't misunderstand me, I am not arguing against science and
technology as such, but wish that scientists and engineers could help us to
design systems that were more Gaia friendly. I also wish that the systems
were more friendly to people like me - cognitively, physically and
emotionally challenged people , (of course I realize that in previous ages
I would probably have perished before I was ten years old, but often I
think that would have been preferable).

I think, Social and Cultural Anthropology could have a key role in dealing
with this problem area by helping us understand how consciousness is
produced. We need to understand how we can make the people who are
satisfied with the present direction of world culture understand the
concerns of those who daily dispair and are becoming angrier and angrier
and the angry people understand the content ones, all before "the cup of
wrath is filled to overflowing".

To think of it another way, when I was born, in Central Europe at the end
of WW II., apocalyptic ideas still seemed unrealistic - almost laughably
'primitive'; today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue with
those fundamentalist Christians who claim that the prophecies written on
Patmos nearly two millenia ago are coming true - just a few days ago I
heard some radio report on the CBC that a third of the fish from the ocean
are missing (at least in the North Atlantic). Nothing is real ?


Tibor Benke

*The trouble with the left is that it's so negative!*
*The trouble with Negative things is they are so sinister!*

P.S. I have to go to NOMAIL for a week or two. I apologize.