brian carroll on Tue, 10 Jul 2001 00:12:35 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Where's Mumford?

>Subject: Re: <nettime> Anarchism, Kropotkin, Darwin, McLuhan, the Internet
>Hey, I haven't been paying attention to this Famous Anarchists I Have
>Known And Loved Gar Gar Gar Thread. Do I need to post a link to the
>Anarchy Archives? Has that been done already?
>~Mr. Bad

  i searched the anarchist archives website for 'mumford', and
  came up with 3 hits for Lewis Mumford. i was surprised that
  his views were not presented in the 'bright but lesser lights'
  section, maybe because he was conservative to some extent on
  some issues. in any case, regardless of titles and labling of
  thinkers, it has been so strange to me that very few bring up
  Mumford's works, which basically founded sci-tech analyses in
  cultural terms, in the grandest sense of generalist philosophy.
  how, i wonder, can people today contemplate digital media or
  whatever science and technological, and not have read Mumford's
  technics and civilization. not because it is a good work on
  issues, at their most basic beginnings, but that it is also
  the _only_ work, which brings together art and science, the
  theoretical and practical, into a language still applicable
  today. having written this before, i seem to remember, it
  seems that while McLuhan and others are well-worth reading,
  not one wrote without referencing Mumford. and Mumford's
  work hit things head-on. and, in American Universities, as
  far as i have experienced, he is taboo to even consider. in
  my architectural education, my reading of one of his works,
  may have been The Myth of the Machine, i was laughed off by
  my professors, whom were themselves students during his days
  of influence, and was taken to be absurd or irrational as a
  way to proceed in academic processing. the book was a much
  better 'architectural' education than any indoctrination of
  privatize corporate philosophy as the upper limit of thought
  and action, belief and meaning, etc etc. the issues that are
  now gelling, or some may say boiling over, today, were dealt
  within different philosophies enacted 40 years ago, before
  and after, too. yet, Mumford's work is more relevant than
  ever, more applicable than any text, as it is a difficult
  ideology, as who can rationally argue that there is simply
  a 'megamachine' and go to war killing people to solve this
  problem. a nice place to begin a different discourse that
  was not taken up by the protesters in Berkeley in the 60s.
  instead, apparently, they chose Marcuse to mediate their
  demands and guide them. Mumford may have put them down, i
  seem to remember, as a philosopher might, when dealing with
  truth and not pragmatic needs of soldiers on the ground.
  it is hoped that the conservative radicality of Mumford
  is brought into the discussion by other readers, as media
  and internet culture are grounded in science and technology,
  and Mumford brought this beyond a common history, but wrote
  a story, or theory, to be questioned and parsed and debated.
  there is no definitive interpretation. no one owns Mumford,
  as he was outcast, intellectually, from the academic system.
  the work is difficult, but simple. different, yet commonplace.
  burdensome, very much so. but more to the point than anyone
  of the PoMo's or anyone else enlightened or not, could be in
  these internetworked times of weirdness all around. brian

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: