In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations

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In his critically acclaimed Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, author and social critic Jerry Mander proclaimed that television, by its fundamental nature, is dangerous—to personal health and sanity, to the environment, and to the democratic process. With In the Absence of the Sacred, he goes beyond television to critique our technological society as a whole.
In this provocative work, Mander challenges the utopian promise of technological society and tracks its ...

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Overview

In his critically acclaimed Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, author and social critic Jerry Mander proclaimed that television, by its fundamental nature, is dangerous—to personal health and sanity, to the environment, and to the democratic process. With In the Absence of the Sacred, he goes beyond television to critique our technological society as a whole.
In this provocative work, Mander challenges the utopian promise of technological society and tracks its devastating impact on native cultures worldwide. The Western world’s loss of a sense of the sacred in the natural world, he says, has led us toward global environmental disaster and social disorder—and worse lies ahead. Yet models for restoring our relationship with the Earth exist in the cultures of native peoples, whose values and skills have enabled them to survive centuries of invasion and exploitation.
Far from creating paradise on Earth, technology has instead produced an unsustainable contest for resources. Mander surveys the major technologies shaping the “new world order”—computers, telecommunications, space exploration, genetic engineering, robotics, and the corporation itself—and warns that they are merging into a global mega-technology, with dire environmental and political results.

Mander goes beyond television (which he proclaimed as being dangerous to personal health and sanity in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television) to critique our technological society as a whole, challenge its utopian promises, and track its devastating impact on native cultures worldwide. "Will interest all readers concerned about our environment and quality of life."-- Publishers Weekly.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mander, author of the controversial Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television , thinks that we have too complaisantly accepted the advances of technology. Urging that we understand the benefits and drawbacks of technology before the latter overtake us, he observes that new technologies, always presented in the best possible light, steer society in some sociopolitical direction. Mander examines in turn computer, television, space and genetic technologies, pointing out that they are deployed in the manner most useful to the institutions that gain from them. Mander notes that the only consistent opposition to technology comes from land-based native peoples. This observation leads to a discussion of Indians and other native groups around the world whose cultures are under attack by governments. This lively, provocative argument will interest all readers concerned about our environment and quality of life. QPB selection; author tour. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Mander's book is an angry protest against the uncritical adoption of technology, the expansion of capitalism, and the centralization of political power. He warns that these trends will lead to a New World Order dominated by multinational corporations, resulting in devastation of the earth's natural environment and native cultures. Mander argues that technologies like television and computers extend corporate control in society and promote the uncaring consumption of natural resources. To avoid imminent environmental catastrophe, he contends that we must adopt the values of Native American cultures that regard the earth as sacred. Mander, a former advertising executive, writes in compact, persuasive prose. His book reads like a series of essays. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-- Randy J. Olsen, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871567390
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/1991
  • Pages: 400

Meet the Author

Jerry Mander is a nationally known social commentator, critic, and author of the best-selling Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, as well as co-editor of The Case Against the Global Economy. He lives and works in San Francisco.
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