Neil Postman Famous Quotes & Sayings

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100 Neil Postman Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

Neil Postman Sayings By J.M. Varner: Novel writing is World Building & Word Weaving (Neil Postman's terms). Novel writing is World Building & Word Weaving (Neil Postman's terms). — J.M. Varner
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: And that is why I would propose that, in our teaching of the humanities, we And that is why I would propose that, in our teaching of the humanities, we should emphasize the enduring creations of the past. The schools should stay as far from contemporary works as possible. Because of the nature of the communications industry, our students have continuous access to the popular arts of their own times - its music, rhetoric, design, literature, architecture. Their knowledge of the form and content of these arts is by no means satisfactory. But their ignorance of the form and content of the art of the past is cavernous. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The world we live in is very nearly incomprehensible to most of us. There is The world we live in is very nearly incomprehensible to most of us. There is almost no fact, whether actual or imagined, that will surprise us for very long, since we have no comprehensive and consistent picture of the world that would make the fact appear as an unacceptable contradiction. We believe because there is no reason not to believe. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: You can only photograph a fragment of the here and now. The photograph presents the You can only photograph a fragment of the here and now. The photograph presents the world as object; language, the world as idea. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Children enter school as question marks and leave as periods. Children enter school as question marks and leave as periods. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: It is naive to suppose that something that has been expressed in one form can It is naive to suppose that something that has been expressed in one form can be expressed in another without significantly changing its meaning, texture or value. Much prose translates fairly well from one language to another, but we know that poetry does not; we may get a rough idea of the sense of a translated poem but usually everything else is lost, especially that which makes it an object of beauty. The translation makes it into something it was not. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: As a culture moves from orality to writing to printing to televising, its ideas of As a culture moves from orality to writing to printing to televising, its ideas of truth move with it. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: [M]ost of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to [M]ost of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action. (68). — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: That is the function of theories - to oversimplify, and thus to assist believers in That is the function of theories - to oversimplify, and thus to assist believers in organizing, weighting, and excluding information. Therein lies the power of theories. Their weakness is that precisely because they oversimplify, they are vulnerable to attack by new information. When there is too much information to sustain any theory, information becomes essentially meaningless. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Marx understood well that the press was not merely a machine but a structure for Marx understood well that the press was not merely a machine but a structure for discourse, which both rules out and insists upon certain kinds of content and, inevitably, a certain kind of audience. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: I don't think any of us can do much about the rapid growth of new I don't think any of us can do much about the rapid growth of new technology. A new technology helps to fuel the economy, and any discussion of slowing its growth has to take account of economic consequences. However, it is possible for us to learn how to control our own uses of technology. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Although the general character of print-intelligence would be known to anyone who would be reading Although the general character of print-intelligence would be known to anyone who would be reading this book, you may arrive at a reasonably detailed definition of it by simply considering what is demanded of you as you read this book. You are required, first of all, to remain more or less immobile for a fairly long time. If you cannot do this (with this or any other book), our culture may label you as anything from hyperkinetic to undisciplined; in any case, as suffering from some sort of intellectual deficiency. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: What we need to consider about the computer has nothing to do with its efficiency What we need to consider about the computer has nothing to do with its efficiency as a teaching tool. We need to know in what ways it is altering our conception of learning, and how, in conjunction with television, it undermines the old idea of school. Who cares how many boxes of cereal can be sold via television? We need to know if television changes our conception of reality, the relationship of the rich to the poor, the idea of happiness itself. A preacher who confines himself to considering how a medium can increase his audience will miss the significant question: In what sense do new media alter what is meant by religion, by church, even by God? And if the politician cannot think beyond the next election, then we must wonder about what new media do to the idea of political organization and to the conception of citizenship. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Technopoly is to say that its information immune system is inoperable. Technopoly is a form Technopoly is to say that its information immune system is inoperable. Technopoly is a form of cultural AIDS, which I here use as an acronym for Anti-Information Deficiency Syndrome. This is why it is possible to say almost anything without contradiction provided you begin your utterance with the words "A study has shown ... " or "Scientists now tell us that ... " More important, it is why in a Technopoly there can be no transcendent sense of purpose or meaning, no cultural coherence. Information is dangerous when it has no place to go, when there is no theory to which it applies, no pattern in which it fits, when there is no higher purpose that it serves. Alfred North Whitehead called such information "inert," but that metaphor is too passive. Information without regulation can be lethal. — Neil Postman
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Neil Postman Sayings By John Eldredge: As Neil Postman said about the scientific view: In the end, science does not provide As Neil Postman said about the scientific view: In the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, "How did it all begin?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." To the question, "How will it all end?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living. (Science and the Story That We Need) — John Eldredge
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: In Russia, writers with serious grievances are arrested, while in America they are merely featured In Russia, writers with serious grievances are arrested, while in America they are merely featured on television talk shows, where all that is arrested is their development. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: With the rise of Technopoly, one of those thought-worlds disappears. Technopoly eliminates alternatives to itself With the rise of Technopoly, one of those thought-worlds disappears. Technopoly eliminates alternatives to itself in precisely the way Aldous Huxley outlined in Brave New World. It does not make them illegal. It does not make them immoral. It does not even make them unpopular. It makes them invisible and therefore irrelevant. And it does so by redefining what we mean by religion, by art, by family, by politics, by history, by truth, by privacy, by intelligence, so that our definitions fit its new requirements. Technopoly, in other words, is totalitarian technocracy. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Free human dialogue, wandering wherever the agility of the mind allows, lies at the heart Free human dialogue, wandering wherever the agility of the mind allows, lies at the heart of education. If teachers do not have the time, the incentive, or the wit to produce that; if students are too demoralized, bored, or distracted to muster the attention their teachers need of them, then THAT is the educational problem which has to be solved ... That problem ... is metaphysical in nature, not technical — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: How often does it occur that information provided you on morning radio or television, or How often does it occur that information provided you on morning radio or television, or in the morning newspaper, causes you to alter your plans for the day, or to take some action you would not otherwise have taken, or provides insight into some problem you are required to solve? — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Wars, crimes, crashes, fires, floods - much of it the social and political equivalent of Wars, crimes, crashes, fires, floods - much of it the social and political equivalent of Adelaide's whooping cough - became the content of what people called the news of the day. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Until, years from now, when it will be noticed that the massive collection and speed-of-light Until, years from now, when it will be noticed that the massive collection and speed-of-light retrieval of data have been of great value to large-scale organizations but have solved very little of importance to most people and have created at least as many problems for them as they may have solved. In — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Public schooling does not serve a public; it creates a pubic. Public schooling does not serve a public; it creates a pubic. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Build an "inclusive narrative" that goes beyond race, class, religion, etc., so that all may Build an "inclusive narrative" that goes beyond race, class, religion, etc., so that all may participate in the "the great debates". — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Alfred North Whitehead summed it up best when he remarked that the greatest invention of Alfred North Whitehead summed it up best when he remarked that the greatest invention of the nineteenth century was the idea of invention itself. We had learned how to invent things, and the question of why we invent things receded in importance. The idea that if something could be done it should be done was born in the nineteenth century. And along with it, there developed a profound belief in all the principles through which invention succeeds: objectivity, efficiency, expertise, standardization, measurement, and progress. It also came to be believed that the engine of technological progress worked most efficiently when people are conceived of not as children of God or even as citizens but as consumers - that is to say, as markets. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The television commercial has oriented business away from making products of value and toward making The television commercial has oriented business away from making products of value and toward making consumers feel valuable, which means that the business of business has now become pseudo-therapy. The consumer is a patient assured by psycho-dramas. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: With the invention of the clock, Eternity ceased to serve as the measure and focus With the invention of the clock, Eternity ceased to serve as the measure and focus of human events. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter New technologies alter the structure of our interests: the things we think about. They alter the character of our symbols: the things we think with. And they alter the nature of community: the arena in which thoughts develop. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: In the American Technopoly, public opinion is a yes or no answer to an unexamined In the American Technopoly, public opinion is a yes or no answer to an unexamined question. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The effects of technology are always unpredictable. But they are not always inevitable. The effects of technology are always unpredictable. But they are not always inevitable. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Enchantment is the means through which we may gain access to sacredness. Entertainment is the Enchantment is the means through which we may gain access to sacredness. Entertainment is the means through which we distance ourselves from it. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Alexis de Tocqueville took note of this fact in his Democracy in America, published in Alexis de Tocqueville took note of this fact in his Democracy in America, published in 1835: "In America," he wrote, "parties do not write books to combat each other's opinions, but pamphlets, which are circulated for a day with incredible rapidity and then expire."25 And he referred to both newspapers and pamphlets when he observed, "the invention of firearms equalized the vassal and the noble on the field of battle; the art of printing opened the same resources to the minds of all classes; the post brought knowledge alike to the door of the cottage and to the gate of the palace." 26 — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: People like ourselves may see nothing wondrous in writing, but our anthropologists know how strange People like ourselves may see nothing wondrous in writing, but our anthropologists know how strange and magical it appears to a purely oral people - a conversation with no one and yet with everyone. What could be stranger than the silence one encounters when addressing a question to a text? What could be more metaphysically puzzling than addressing an unseen audience, as every writer of books must do? And correcting oneself because one knows that an unknown reader will disapprove or misunderstand? — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: There is no way to help a learner to be disciplined, active, and thoroughly engaged There is no way to help a learner to be disciplined, active, and thoroughly engaged unless he perceives a problem to be a problem or whatever is to-be-learned as worth learning, and unless he plays an active role in determining the process of solution. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The line-by-line, sequential, continuous form of the printed page slowly began to lose its resonance The line-by-line, sequential, continuous form of the printed page slowly began to lose its resonance as a metaphor of how knowledge was to be acquired and how the world was to be understood. "Knowing" the facts took on a new meaning, for it did not imply that one understood implications, background, or connections. Telegraphic discourse permitted no time for historical perspectives and gave no priority to the qualitative. To the telegraph, intelligence meant knowing of lots of things, not knowing about them. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled. In There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled. In the first - the Orwellian - culture becomes a prison. In the second - the Huxleyan - culture becomes a burlesque. No — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: We do not refuse to remember; neither do we find it exactly useless to remember. We do not refuse to remember; neither do we find it exactly useless to remember. Rather, we are being rendered unfit to remember. For if remembering is to be something more than nostalgia, it requires a contextual basis - a theory, a vision, a metaphor - something within which facts can be organized and patterns discerned. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Through the computer, the heralds say, we will make education better, religion better, politics better, Through the computer, the heralds say, we will make education better, religion better, politics better, our minds better - best of all, ourselves better. This is, of course, nonsense, and only the young or the ignorant or the foolish could believe it.
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Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Our priests and presidents, our surgeons and lawyers, our educators and newscasters need worry less Our priests and presidents, our surgeons and lawyers, our educators and newscasters need worry less about satisfying the demands of their discipline than the demands of good showmanship. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: In America, the least amusing people are its professional entertainers. In America, the least amusing people are its professional entertainers. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: People in distress will sometimes prefer a problem that is familiar to a solution that People in distress will sometimes prefer a problem that is familiar to a solution that is not. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Embedded in every technology there is a powerful idea, sometimes two or three powerful ideas. Embedded in every technology there is a powerful idea, sometimes two or three powerful ideas. Like language itself, a technology predisposes us to favor and value certain perspectives and accomplishments and to subordinate others. Every technology has a philosophy, which is given expression in how the technology makes people use their minds, in how it codifies the world, in which of our senses it amplifies, in which of our emotional and intellectual tendencies it disregards. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: An educated mind is practiced in the uses of reason, which inevitably leads to a An educated mind is practiced in the uses of reason, which inevitably leads to a skeptical outlook. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The number of hours the average American watches TV has remained steady, at about four The number of hours the average American watches TV has remained steady, at about four and a half hours a day, every day (by age sixty-five, a person will have spent twelve uninterrupted years in front of the TV). — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: But in the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its But in the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and of our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, "How did it all begin?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." To the question, "How will it all end?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living. Moreover, the science-god has no answer to the question, "Why are we here?" and, to the question, "What moral instructions do you give us?", the science-god maintains silence. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: For the message of television as metaphor is not only that all the world is For the message of television as metaphor is not only that all the world is a stage but that the stage is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Indeed, I hope to persuade you that the decline of a print-based epistemology and the Indeed, I hope to persuade you that the decline of a print-based epistemology and the accompanying rise of a television-based epistemology has had grave consequences for public life, that we are getting sillier by the minute. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: o prayer, the alternative is penicillin; to family roots, the alternative is mobility; to reading, o prayer, the alternative is penicillin; to family roots, the alternative is mobility; to reading, the alternative is television; to restraint, the alternative is immediate gratification; to sin, the alternative is psychotherapy; to political ideology, the alternative is popular appeal established through scientific polling. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: But it is not time constraints alone that produce such fragmented and discontinuous language. When But it is not time constraints alone that produce such fragmented and discontinuous language. When a television show is in process, it is very nearly impermissible to say, "Let me think about that" or "I don't know" or "What do you mean when you say ... ?" or "From what sources does your information come?" This type of discourse not only slows down the tempo of the show but creates the impression of uncertainty or lack of finish. It tends to reveal people in the act of thinking, which is as disconcerting and boring on television as it is on a Las Vegas stage. Thinking does not play well on television, a fact that television directors discovered long ago. There is not much to see in it. It is, in a phrase, not a performing art. But television demands a performing art. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Technology always has unforeseen consequences, and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who Technology always has unforeseen consequences, and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who or what will win, and who or what will lose ... — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Of course, in television's presentation of the "news of the day," we may see the Of course, in television's presentation of the "news of the day," we may see the Now ... this" mode of discourse in it's boldest and most embarrassing form. For there, we are presented not only with fragmented news but news without context, without consequences, without value, and therefore without essential seriousness; that is to say, news as pure entertainment. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: I mean to suggest that without a transcendent and honorable purpose, schooling must reach its I mean to suggest that without a transcendent and honorable purpose, schooling must reach its finish, and the sooner we are done with it, the better. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Poverty is a great educator. Having no boundaries and refusing to be ignored, it mostly Poverty is a great educator. Having no boundaries and refusing to be ignored, it mostly teaches hopelessness. But not always. Politics is also a great educator. Mostly it teaches, I am afraid, cynicism. But not always. Television is a great educator as well. Mostly it teaches consumerism. But not always. It is the "not always" that keeps the romantic spirit alive in those who write about schooling. The faith is that despite some of the more debilitating teachings of culture itself, something can be done in school that will alter the lenses through which one sees the world; which is to say, that nontrivial schooling can provide a point of view from which what IS can be seen clearly, what WAS as a living present, and what WILL BE as filled with possibility — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Television is our culture's principal mode of knowing about itself. Therefore and this is the Television is our culture's principal mode of knowing about itself. Therefore
and this is the critical point
how television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. It is not merely that on the television screen entertainment is the metaphor for all discourse. It is that off the screen the same metaphor prevails. (92) — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: For strict fundamentalists of the Bible, the theory and what follows from it seal them For strict fundamentalists of the Bible, the theory and what follows from it seal them off from unwanted information, and in that way their actions are invested with meaning, clarity, and, they believe, moral authority. Those who reject the Bible's theory and who believe, let us say, in the theory of Science are also protected from unwanted information. Their theory, for example, instructs them to disregard information about astrology, dianetics, and creationism, which they usually label as medieval superstition or subjective opinion. Their theory fails to give any guidance about moral information and, by definition, gives little weight to information that falls outside the constraints of science. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: There is no denying that the technicalization of terms and problems is a serious form There is no denying that the technicalization of terms and problems is a serious form of information control. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Chris Hedges: The purpose of bread and circuses is, as Neil Postman said in his book Amusing The purpose of bread and circuses is, as Neil Postman said in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, to distract, to divert emotional energy towards the absurd and the trivial and the spectacle while you are ruthlessly stripped of power. — Chris Hedges
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: If students get a sound education in the history, social effects and psychological biases of If students get a sound education in the history, social effects and psychological biases of technology, they may grow to be adults who use technology rather than be used by it. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Textbooks, it seems to me, are enemies of education, instruments for promoting dogmatism and trivial Textbooks, it seems to me, are enemies of education, instruments for promoting dogmatism and trivial learning. They may save the teacher some trouble, but the trouble they inflict on the minds of students is a blight and a curse. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Parents embraced "Sesame Street" for several reasons, among them that it assuaged their guilt over Parents embraced "Sesame Street" for several reasons, among them that it assuaged their guilt over the fact that they could not or would not restrict their children's access to television. "Sesame Street" appeared to justify allowing a four- or five-year-old to sit transfixed in front of a television screen for unnatural periods of time. Parents were eager to hope that television could teach their children something other than which breakfast cereal has the most crackle. At the same time, "Sesame Street" relieved them of the responsibility of teaching their pre-school children how to read - no small matter in a culture where children are apt to be considered a nuisance ... We now know that "Sesame Street" encourages children to love school only if school is like "Sesame Street." Which is to say, we now know that "Sesame Street" undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The mechanical clock," as Lewis Mumford wrote, "made possible the idea of regular production, regular The mechanical clock," as Lewis Mumford wrote, "made possible the idea of regular production, regular working hours and a standardized product." In short, without the clock, capitalism would have been quite impossible.4 The paradox, the surprise, and the wonder are that the clock was invented by men who wanted to devote themselves more rigorously to God; it ended as the technology of greatest use to men who wished to devote themselves to the accumulation of money. In the eternal struggle between God and Mammon, the clock quite unpredictably favored the latter. Unforeseen consequences stand in the way of all those who think they see clearly the direction in which a new technology will take us. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The intimations of gravity hung heavy, the meaning passeth all understanding. The intimations of gravity hung heavy, the meaning passeth all understanding. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: It is an open question whether or not "liberal democracy" in its present form can It is an open question whether or not "liberal democracy" in its present form can provide a thought-world of sufficient moral substance to sustain meaningful lives. This is precisely the question that Vaclav Havel, then newly elected as president of Czechoslovakia, posed in an address to the U.S. Congress. "We still don't know how to put morality ahead of politics, science, and economics," he said. "We are still incapable of understanding that the only genuine backbone of our actions - if they are to be moral - is responsibility. Responsibility to something higher than my family, my country, my firm, my success." What Havel is saying is that it is not enough for his nation to liberate itself from one flawed theory; it is necessary to find another, and he worries that Technopoly provides no answer. To — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The world of the known and the not yet known is bridged by wonderment. But The world of the known and the not yet known is bridged by wonderment. But wonderment happens largely in a situation where the child's world is separate from the adult world, where children must seek entry, through their questions, into the adult world. As media merge the two worlds, as the tension created by secrets to be unraveled is diminished, the calculus of wonderment changes. Curiosity is replaced by cynicism or, even worse, arrogance. We are left with children who rely not on authoritative adults but on news from nowhere. We are left with children who are given answers to questions they never asked. We are left, in short, without children. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: We come astonishingly close to the mystical beliefs of Pythagoras and his followers who attempted We come astonishingly close to the mystical beliefs of Pythagoras and his followers who attempted to submit all of life to the sovereignty of numbers. Many of our psychologists, sociologists, economists and other latter-day cabalists will have numbers to tell them the truth or they will have nothing ... We must remember that Galileo merely said that the language of nature is written in mathematics. He did not say that everything is. And even the truth about nature need not be expressed in mathematics. For most of human history, the language of nature has been the language of myth and ritual. These forms, one might add, had the virtues of leaving nature unthreatened and of encouraging the belief that human beings are part of it. It hardly befits a people who stand ready to blow up the planet to praise themselves too vigorously for having found the true way to talk about nature. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: We must keep in mind the story of the statistician who drowned while trying to We must keep in mind the story of the statistician who drowned while trying to wade across a river with an average depth of four feet. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The written word endures, the spoken word disappears The written word endures, the spoken word disappears — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Every television program must be a complete package in itself. No previous knowledge is to Every television program must be a complete package in itself. No previous knowledge is to be required. There must not be even a hint that learning is hierarchical, that it is an edifice constructed on a foundation. The learner must be allowed to enter at any point without prejudice. This is why you shall never hear or see a television program begin with the caution that if the viewer has not seen the previous programs, this one will be meaningless. Television is a nongraded curriculum and excludes no viewer for any reason, at any time. In other words, in doing away with the idea of sequence and continuity in education, television undermines the idea that sequence and continuity have anything to do with thought itself. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The credibility of the teller is the ultimate test of the truth of a proposition. The credibility of the teller is the ultimate test of the truth of a proposition. (102) — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: All theories are oversimplifications, or at least lead to oversimplification. All theories are oversimplifications, or at least lead to oversimplification. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Technocracy gave us the idea of progress, and of necessity loosened our bonds with tradition Technocracy gave us the idea of progress, and of necessity loosened our bonds with tradition - whether political or spiritual. Technocracy filled the air with the promise of new freedoms and new forms of social organization. Technocracy also speeded up the world. We could get places faster, do things faster, accomplish more in a shorter time. Time, in fact, became an adversary over which technology could triumph. And this meant that there was no time to look back or to contemplate what was being lost. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Make no mistake about it: the labeling of someone's language as 'sexist' involves a political Make no mistake about it: the labeling of someone's language as 'sexist' involves a political judgment and implies the desirability of a particular sociological doctrine. One may be in favor of that doctrine (as I believe I am) but it is quite another matter to force writers by edicts and censorship into accepting it. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: A peek-a-boo world, where now this event, now that, pops into view for a moment, A peek-a-boo world, where now this event, now that, pops into view for a moment, then vanishes again. It is an improbable world. It is a world in which the idea of human progress, as Bacon expressed it, has been replaced by the idea of technological progress. The aim is not to reduce ignorance, superstition, and suffering but to accommodate ourselves to the requirements of new technologies. We tell ourselves, of course, that such accommodations will lead to a better life, but that is only the rhetorical residue of a vanishing technocracy. We are a culture consuming itself with information, and many of us do not even wonder how to control the process. We proceed under the assumption that information is our friend, believing that cultures may suffer grievously from a lack of information, which, of course, they do. It is only now beginning to be understood that cultures may also suffer grievously from information glut, information without meaning, information without control mechanisms. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Technological change is neither additive nor subtractive. It is ecological. I mean "ecological" in the Technological change is neither additive nor subtractive. It is ecological. I mean "ecological" in the same sense as the word is used by environmental scientists. One significant change generates total change. If you remove the caterpillars from a given habitat, you are not left with the same environment minus caterpillars: you have a new environment, and you have reconstituted the conditions of survival; the same is true if you add caterpillars to an environment that has had none. This is how the ecology of media works as well. A new technology does not add or subtract something. It changes everything. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Surrounding every technology are institutions whose organization - not to mention their reason for being Surrounding every technology are institutions whose organization - not to mention their reason for being - reflects the world-view promoted by the technology. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: For no medium is excessively dangerous if its users understand what its dangers are. It For no medium is excessively dangerous if its users understand what its dangers are. It is not important that those who ask the questions arrive at my answers or Marshall McLuhan's (quite different answers, by the way). This is an instance in which the asking of the questions is sufficient. To ask is to break the spell. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Every technology is both a burden and a blessing; not either-or, but this-and-that. Every technology is both a burden and a blessing; not either-or, but this-and-that. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: New technologies compete with old ones - for time, for attention, for money, for prestige, New technologies compete with old ones - for time, for attention, for money, for prestige, but mostly for dominance of their world-view. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Education Research: This is a process whereby serious educators discover knowledge that is well known Education Research: This is a process whereby serious educators discover knowledge that is well known to everybody, and has been for several centuries. Its principal characteristic is that no one pays any attention to it. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Belief that where there is a problem, there must be a solution, I shall conclude Belief that where there is a problem, there must be a solution, I shall conclude with the following suggestions. We must, as a start, not delude ourselves with preposterous notions such as the straight Luddite position as outlined, for example, in Jerry Mander's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. Americans will not shut down any part of their technological apparatus, and to suggest that they do so is to make no suggestion at all. It is almost equally unrealistic to expect that nontrivial modifications in the availability of media will ever be made. Many civilized nations limit by law the amount of hours television may operate and thereby mitigate the role television plays in public life. But I believe that this is not a possibility in America. Once having opened the Happy Medium to full public — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Large institutions such as the Pentagon, the Internal Revenue Service, and multinational corporations tell us Large institutions such as the Pentagon, the Internal Revenue Service, and multinational corporations tell us that their decisions are made on the basis of solutions generated by computers, and this is usually good enough to put our minds at ease or, rather, to sleep. In any case, it constrains us from making complaints or accusations. In part for this reason, the computer has strengthened bureaucratic institutions and suppressed the impulse toward significant social change. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The concept of truth is intimately linked to the biases of forms of expression. The concept of truth is intimately linked to the biases of forms of expression. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: We rarely talk about television, only about what's on television We rarely talk about television, only about what's on television — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: One way of looking at the history of the human group is that it has One way of looking at the history of the human group is that it has been a continuing struggle against the veneration of crap. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: My argument is limited to saying that a major new medium changes the structure of My argument is limited to saying that a major new medium changes the structure of discourse; it does so by encouraging certain uses of the intellect, by favoring certain definitions of intelligence and wisdom, and by demanding a certain kind of content - in a phrase, by creating new forms of truth-telling. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The key to all fanatical beliefs is that they are self-confirming ... (some beliefs are) The key to all fanatical beliefs is that they are self-confirming ... (some beliefs are) fanatical not because they are "false", but because they are expressed in such a way that they can never be shown to be false. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Unlike television or the computer, language appears to be not an extension of our powers Unlike television or the computer, language appears to be not an extension of our powers but simply a natural expression of who and what we are. This is the great secret of language: Because it comes from inside us, we believe it to be a direct, unedited, unbiased, apolitical expression of how the world really is. A machine, on the other hand, is outside of us, clearly created by us, modifiable by us, even discardable by us; it is easier to see how a machine re-creates the world in its own image. But in many respects, a sentence functions very much like a machine, and this is nowhere more obvious than in the sentences we call questions. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: I suspect, for example, that the dishonor that now shrouds Richard Nixon results not from I suspect, for example, that the dishonor that now shrouds Richard Nixon results not from the fact that he lied but that on television he looked like a liar. Which, if true, should bring no comfort to anyone, not even veteran Nixon-haters. For the alternative possibilities are that one may look like a liar but be telling the truth; or even worse, look like a truth-teller but in fact be lying. As — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: The reader must come armed , in a serious state of intellectual readiness. This is The reader must come armed , in a serious state of intellectual readiness. This is not easy because he comes to the text alone. In reading, one's responses are isolated, one'sintellect thrown back on its own resourses. To be confronted by the cold abstractions of printed sentences is to look upon language bare, without the assistance of either beauty or community. Thus, reading is by its nature a serious business. It is also, of course, an essentially rational activity. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Prior to the age of telegraphy, the information-action ratio was sufficiently close so that most Prior to the age of telegraphy, the information-action ratio was sufficiently close so that most people had a sense of being able to control some of the contingencies in their lives. What people knew about had action-value. In the information world created by telegraphy, this sense of potency was lost, precisely because the whole world became context for news. Everything became everyone's business. For the first time, we were sent information which answered no question we had asked, and which, in any case, did not permit the right of reply. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Remember: in order for a perception to change one must be frustrated in one's actions Remember: in order for a perception to change one must be frustrated in one's actions or change one's purpose. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Thomas Jefferson ... knew what schools were forto ensure that citizens would know when and Thomas Jefferson ... knew what schools were for
to ensure that citizens would know when and how to protect their liberty ... It would not have come easily to the mind of such a man, as it does to political leaders today, that the young should be taught to read exclusively for the purpose of increasing their economic productivity. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Television is altering the meaning of 'being informed' by creating a species of information that Television is altering the meaning of 'being informed' by creating a species of information that might properly be called disinformation. Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information - misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information - information that creates the illusion of knowing something, but which in fact leads one away from knowing. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: We are more naive than those of the Middle Ages, and more frightened, for we We are more naive than those of the Middle Ages, and more frightened, for we can be made to believe almost anything. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Because we are imperfect souls, our knowledge is imperfect. The history of learning is an Because we are imperfect souls, our knowledge is imperfect. The history of learning is an adventure in overcoming our errors. There is no sin in being wrong. The sin is in our unwillingness to examine our own beliefs, and in believing that our authorities cannot be wrong. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: In every tool we create, an idea is embedded that goes beyond the function of In every tool we create, an idea is embedded that goes beyond the function of the thing itself. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: I mean only to call attention to the fact that there is a certain measure I mean only to call attention to the fact that there is a certain measure of arbitrariness in the forms that truth-telling may take. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Technological immodesty is always an acute danger in Technopoly, which encourages it. Technopoly also encourages Technological immodesty is always an acute danger in Technopoly, which encourages it. Technopoly also encourages in-sensitivity to what skills may be lost in the acquisition of new ones. It is important to remember what can be done without computers, and it is also important to remind ourselves of what may be lost when we do use them. — Neil Postman
Neil Postman Sayings By Neil Postman: Technopoly eliminates alternatives to itself in precisely the way that Aldous Huxley outlined in Brave Technopoly eliminates alternatives to itself in precisely the way that Aldous Huxley outlined in Brave New World. It does not make them illegal. It does not make them immoral. It does not even make them unpopular. It makes them invisible, and therefore irrelevant. — Neil Postman