[Dit boek is een klassieker op het terrein van het nadenken over samenleving, economie, techniek, en wetenschap. Zie Millers biografie voor meer over Mumford. In dit boek beschrijft Mumford allereerst de historische ontwikkeling van de technologische samenleving in drie fasen. Dat is de grootste en meest acceptabele afdeling van het boek. Daarna volgt in feite zijn beoordeling van die ontwikkeling en bij die beoordeling kunnen wel wat vraagtekens geplaatst worden. Zijn waarden zijn duidelijk: hij verzet zich tegen de dominantie van de machine en het kapitalisme en alle ellende die beide hebben veroorzaakt, zoals uitbuiting, slavernij, het kapot maken van de natuur, verspilling, en zo verder; en hij is een voorstander van eenvoud, minder productie, meer ruimte voor andere zaken dan materiële. Maar hij is wisselend in het bekritiseren van dat systeem en de daarbij betrokken maatschappelijke groepen, te voorzichtig in het veroordelen van de bezittende klasse. En hij is niet erg concreet over hoe de revolutie die hij voorstaat gerealiseerd zou moeten worden. Daarnaast is hij nogal optimistisch over hoe de technologische samenleving zich in de toekomst zal ontwikkelen. De geschiedenis heeft hem ongelijk gegeven, en dat komt tot uiting in zijn latere boeken over de technologische samenleving 'The Myth of the Machine'.]
"Mumford argues that the widely heralded breakthroughs of the Industrial Revolution would not have been possible without a lenghty cultural preparation that generated the resilient foundations upon which later achievements stand."(x)
"The importance of Technics and Civilization is not only its pioneering method and wealth of historical illustrations, but also its articulation of a novel theory. Mumford contends that technological projects express a dynamic relationship between the inner and outer worlds of human existence. Our most impressive successes in practical, material activitites are often projections of deep spiritual needs along with the most rational and irrational of passions. At the same time, living in the world of material things stimulates a creative response within human consciousness: the development of language, symbols, rituals, and fruitful insights."(xi-xii)
"Technics and Civilization celebrates the development of technology not only for the way it alleviates the physical burdens of life, and not only for the way it boosts production, but also because it can be a wonderful manifestation of our spirituality, sensuality, and deepest connections to nature and to each other."(xii)
Toen dit boek in 1934 verscheen
"the broader influence of technics upon human culture was hardly touched on: the useful and the practical still stood outside the realm of the good, the true, and the beautiful."(xv)
Technics and Civilization was volgens Mumford zelf het eerste boek dat een uitgebreide geschiedenis van de techniek gaf waarbij gelet werd op de samenhang tussen het maatschappelijke milieu en de uitvinder, de industrieel, de ingenieur. Marx' eenzijdige determinisme vanuit de productieverhoudingen wordt afgewezen: technische ontwikkelingen en allerlei andere factoren beïnvloeden elkaar voortdurend.
"In presenting technical development within the setting of a more general social ecology, I avoided the current bias of making it the dominant and all-important factor, as people still do today when they naively characterize our period as the Jet Age, the Nuclear Age, the Rocket Age, or the Space Age. The fact that this challenge to old ways of thinking is not yet widely accepted is perhaps the best reason for publishing this new edition in its unaltered original form."(xvi)
Daarmee worden de technische ontwikkelingen na 1934 natuurlijk buiten beschouwing gelaten, ook in de bibliografie.
"Men had become mechanical before they perfected complicated machines to express their new bent and interest; and the will-to-order had appeared once more in the monastery and the army and the counting-house before it finally manifested itself in the factory. Behind all the great material inventions of the last century and a half was not merely a long internal development of technics: there was also a change of mind. Before the new industrial processes could take hold on a great scale, a reorientation of wishes, habits, ideas, goals was necessary."(3)
"It remained for the peoples of Western Europe to carry the physical sciences and the exact arts to a point no other culture had reached, and to adapt the whole mode of life to the pace and the capacities of the machine. How did this happen? How in fact could the machine take possession of European society until that society had, by an inner accommodation, surrendered to the machine?"(4)
Mumford ziet drie fasen in de ontwikkeling van de technologische maatschappij, waarvan de eerste ongeveer geplaatst moet worden in de tiende eeuw, de tweede in de achttiende eeuw, en de derde in het begin van de twintigste eeuw. Over de tweede fase zegt hij:
" In the course of this effort, various moral and social and political problems which had been set to one side by the exclusive development of the machine, now returned with doubled urgency: the very efficiency of the machine was drastically curtailed by the failure to achieve in society a set of harmonious and integrated purposes."(5)
Over de derde fase zegt hij:
"Finally, we begin in our own day to observe the swelling energies of a third wave: behind this wave, both in technics and in civilization, are forces which were suppressed or perverted by the earlier development of the machine, forces which now manifest themselves in every department of activity, and which tend toward a new synthesis in thought and a fresh synergy in action. As the result of this third movement, the machine ceases to be a substitute for God or for an orderly society; and instead of its success being measured by the mechanization of life, its worth becomes more and more measurable in terms of its own approach to the organic and the living."(5)
[Waaruit dus blijkt dat Mumford terecht bijzonder kritisch is over de periode van de Industriële Revolutie en alle ellende die deze veroorzaakte en onterecht erg optimistisch is over een verandering van de instrumentele benadering van het leven. Geen wonder dat hij later in zijn twee boeken over 'the myth of the machine' zo ontzettend teleurgesteld is over de gang van zaken tot aan - laten we zeggen - 1970. En hij zou nog veel meer teleurgesteld zijn geweest over de gang van zaken van 1970 tot 2014.]
"No matter how completely technics relies upon the objective procedures of the sciences. it does not form an independent system, like the universe: it exists as an element in human culture and it promises well or ill as the social groups that exploit it promise well or ill. The machine itself makes no demands and holds out no promises: it is the human spirit that makes demands and keeps promises. In order to reconquer the machine and subdue it to human purposes, one must first understand it and assimilate it. So far, we have embraced the machine without fully understanding it, or, like the weaker romantics, we have rejected the machine without first seeing how much of it we could intelligently assimilate."(6)
[Nou, misschien hadden die romantici op een heel intuïtieve manier begrepen wat er aan de ontwikkeling van de techniek niet deugt, al lang voor dat Mumford zelf dat deed. Het begint me op te vallen dat Mumford nogal vaak denigrerend doet over andere mensen, culturele stromingen en zo verder die de technologische ontwikkeling en samenleving bekritiseren. Dat is in The story of utopias regelmatig het geval, bijvoorbeeld waar het gaat over Marx, het socialisme, en dergelijke. Nu hier ook weer. Ik vind dat geen goed idee. Hij zou beter zijn kritiek op de rijken, hun economische liberalisme, en dergelijke kunnen doortrekken naar een fundamentele kritiek op het kapitalisme en de zaken die daarmee samenhangen - tenslotte zit hij op dat spoor. Maar eigenlijk ontziet hij in zijn boeken uiteindelijk de laag van de samenleving die verantwoordelijk is voor alle ellende: hij komt nooit met echt praktische oplossingen die de gevestigde orde zouden omgooien. Ik vind het vanuit dat standpunt wel erg gemakkelijk om de mensen die ook kritisch zijn over de technologische en kapitalistische samenleving zo af te vallen. Je hoeft tenslotte niet te geloven in de massa, het volk, 'de dictatuur van het proletariaat' om wat te kunnen doen met de ideeën van anderen. Er zit iets heel arrogants en elitairs en conservatiefs aan dat totale gebrek aan begrip.]
"Can one distinguish and define the specific properties of a technics directed toward the service of life: properties that distinguish it morally, socially, politically, esthetically from the cruder forms that preceded it? Let us make the attempt. The study of the rise and development of modern technics is a basis for understanding and strengthening this contemporary transvaluation: and the transvaluation of the machine is the next move, perhaps, toward its mastery."(7)
[Dat is zo interessant in de benadering van Mumford: het is een normatieve, moralistische benadering. Een herwaardering van de machine en de technologische samenleving, waarom niet?]
"Almost every discussion of technology from Marx onward has tended to overemphasize the part played by the more mobile and active parts of our industrial equipment, and has slighted other equally critical elements in our technical heritage."(9)
Na allerlei begripsonderscheidingen volgt het verhaal over de ontwikkeling van de mechanische klok en de invloed die daar vanuit ging.
"Opposed to the erratic fluctuations and pulsation of the worldly life was the iron discipline of the rule [van de Benedictijner monnikken - GdG]. Benedict added a seventh period to the devotions of the day, and in the seventh century, by a bull of Pope Sabinianus, it was decreed that the bells of the monastery be rung seven times in the twenty-four hours. These punctuation marks in the day were known as the canonical hours, and some means of keeping count of them and ensuring their regular repetition became necessary."(13)
"So one is not straining the facts when one suggests that the monasteries - at one time there were 40,000 under the Benedictine rule - helped to give human enterprise the regular collective beat and rhythm of the machine; for the clock is not merely a means of keeping track of the hours, but of synchronizing the actions of men.
Was it by reason of the collective Christian desire to provide for the welfare of souls in eternity by regular prayers and devotions that time-keeping and the habits of temporal order took hold of men's minds: habits that capitalist civilization presently turned to good account? "(13-14)
" The instrument presently spread outside the monastery; and the regular striking of the bells brought a new regularity into the life of the workman and the merchant. The bells of the clock tower almost defined urban existence. Time-keeping passed into time-serving and time-accounting and time-rationing. As this took place, Eternity ceased gradually to serve as the measure and focus of human actions.
The clock, not the steam-engine, is the key-machine of the modern industrial age. "(14)
"In its relationship to determinable quantities of I energy, to standardization, to automatic action, and finally to its own special product, accurate timing, the clock has been the foremost machine in modern technics: and at each period it has remained in the lead: it marks a perfection toward which other machines aspire."(15)
"The clock, moreover, is a piece of power-machinery whose 'product' is seconds and minutes: by its essential nature it dissociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences: the special world of science. There is relatively little foundation for this belief in common human experience ..."(15)
"Abstract time became the new medium of existence. Organic functions themselves were regulated by it: one ate, not upon feeling hungry, but when prompted by the clock: one slept, not when one was tired, but when the clock sanctioned it."(17)
De klok veranderde dus de ervaring van tijd, maar ook qua ruimte veranderden de ervaringen zoals blijkt uit de uitvinding van het perspectief, de ontwikkeling van de cartografie, enz.
"Between the fourteenth and the seventeenth century a revolutionary change in the conception of space took place in Western Europe. Space as a hierarchy of values was replaced by space as a system of magnitudes."(20)
"The new attitude toward time and space infected the workshop and the counting house, the army and the city. The tempo became faster: the magnitudes hecame greater: conceptually, modern culture launched itself into space and gave itself over to movement. What Max Weber called the 'romanticism of numbers' grew naturally out of this interest. In time-keeping, in trading, in fighting men counted numbers; and finally, as the habit grew, only numbers counted."(22)
Ook het kapitalisme zou zonder die 'romantiek van de getallen' niet mogelijk geweest zijn.
"The romanticism of numbers had still another aspect, important for the development of scientific habits of thought. This was the rise of capitalism, and the change from a barter economy, facilitated by small supplies of variable local coinage, to a money economy' with an international credit structure and a constant reference to the abstract symbols of wealth: gold, drafts, bills of exchange, eventually merely numbers."(23)
"The development of capitalism brought the new habits of abstraction and calculation into the lives of city people: only the countryfolk, still existing on their more primitive local basis, were partly immune. "(23)
"Men became powerful to the extent that they neglected the real world of wheat and wool, food and clothes, and centered their attention on the purely quantitative representation of it in tokens and symbols: to think in terms of mere weight and number, to make quantity not alone an indication of value but the criterion of value - that was the contribution of capitalism to the mechanical world-picture.(...)
The power that was science and the power that wa money were, in final analysis, the same kind of power: the power of abstraction, measurement, quantification."(25)
"The incentive to mechanization lay in the greater profits that could be extracted through the multiplied power and efficiency of the machine.
Thus, although capitalism and technics must be clearly distinguished at every stage, one conditioned the other and reacted upon it. "(26)
"Whether machines would have been invented so rapidly and pushed so zealously without the extra incentive of commercial profit is extremely doubtful: for all the more skilled handicraft occupations were deeply entrenched, and the introduction of printing, for example, was delayed as much as twenty years in Paris by the bitter opposition of the guild of scribes and copyists. But while technics undoubtedly owes an honest debt to capitalism, as it does likewise to war, it was nevertheless unfortunate that the machine was conditioned, at the outset, by these foreign institutions and took on characteristics that had nothing essentially to do with the technical processes or the forms of work. Capitalism utilized the machine, not to further social welfare, but to increase private profit: mechanical instruments were used for the aggrandizement of the ruling classes. It was because of capitalism that the handicraft industries in both Europe and other parts of the world were recklessly destroyed by machine products, even when the latter were inferior to the thing they replaced: for the prestige of improvement and success and power was with the machine, even when it improved nothing, even when technically speaking it was a failure. It was because of the possibilities of profit that the place of the machine was overemphasized and the degree of regimentation pushed beyond what was necessary to harmony or efficiency. It was because of certain traits in private capitalism that the machine - which was a neutral agent - has often seemed, and in fact has sometimes been, a malicious element in society, careless of human life, indifferent to human interests. The machine has suffered for the sins of capitalism; contrariwise, capitalism has often taken credit for the virtues of the machine."(26-27)
"Meanwhile, with the transformation of the concepts of time and space went a change in the direction of interest from the heavenly world to the natural one "(28)
"The discovery of nature as a whole was the most important part of that era of discovery which began for the Western World with the Crusades and the travels of Marco Polo and the southward ventures of the Portuguese. Nature existed to be explored, to be invaded, to be conquered, and finally, to be understood. Dissolving, the medieval dream disclosed the world of nature, as a lifting mist opens to view the rocks and trees and herds on a hillside, whose existence had been heralded only by the occasional tinkling of bells or the lowing of a cow. Unfortunately, the medieval habit of separating the soul of man from the life of the material world persisted, though the theology that supported it was weakened; for as soon as the procedure of exploration was definitely outlined in the philosophy and mechanics of the seventeenth century man himself was excluded from the picture. Technics perhaps temporarily profited by this exclusion; but in the long run the result was to prove unfortunate. In attempting to seize power man tended to reduce himself to an abstraction, or, what comes to almost the same thing, to eliminate every part of himself except that which was bent on seizing power."(31)
" The most ineffective kind of machine is the realistic mechanical imitation of a man or another animal ... "(32)
[Dat kunnen allerlei mensen op het terrein van de AI in hun zak steken. Inmiddels wordt dit standpunt door meer mensen ingenomen. Ook door mij.]
"The spiritual routine of the monastery, if it did not positively favor the machine, at least nullified many of the influences that worked against it. And unlike the similar discipline of the Buddhists, that of the Western monks gave rise to more fertile and complex kinds of machinery than prayer wheels.
In still another way did the institutions of the Church perhaps prepare the way for the machine: in their contempt for the body."(35)
"The dream of conquering nature is one of the oldest that has flowed and ebbed in man's mind, Each great epoch in human history in which this will has found a positive outlet marks a rise in human culture and a permanent contribution to man's security and well-being. "(37)
"If mechanical thinking and ingenious experiment produced the machine, regimentation gave it a soil to grow in: the social process worked hand in hand with the new ideology and the new technics. Long before the peoples of the Western World turned to the machine, mechanism as an element in social life had come into existence. Before inventors created engines to take the place of men, the leaders of men had drilled and regimented multitudes of human beings: they had discovered how to reduce men to machines. The slaves and peasants who hauled the stones for the pyramids, pulling in rhythm to the crack of the whip, the slaves working in the Roman galley, each man chained to his seat and unable to perform any other motion than the limited mechanical one, the order and march and system of attack of the Macedonian phalanx - these were all machine phenomena. Whatever limit the actions and movement of human beings to their bare mechanical elements belongs to the physiology, if not to the mechanics, of the machine age."(41)
" Mechanics became the new religion, and it gave to the world a new Messiah: the machine."(45)
"By what means was the new mechanical picture put together? And how did it come to provide such an excellent soil for the propagation of inventions and the spread of machines?"(46)
Volgt een samenvatting van hoe de weteschappelijke methode in principe in elkaar zit.
"The method of the physical sciences rested fundamentally upon a few simple principles. First: the elimination of qualities, and the reduction of the complex to the simple by paying attention only to those aspects of events which could be weighed, measured, or counted, and to the particular kind of space·time sequence that could be controlled and repeated - or, as in astronomy, whose repetition could be predicted. Second: concentration upon the outer world, and the elimination or neutralization of the observer as respects the data with which he works. Third: isolation: limitation of the field: specialization of interest and subdivision of labor. In short, what the physical sciences call the world is not the total object of common human experience: it is just those aspects of this experience that lend themselves to accurate factual observation and to generalized statements. One may define a mechanical system as one in which any random sample of the whole will serve in place of the whole: an ounce of pure water in the laboratory is supposed to have the same properties as a hundred cubic feet of equally pure water in the cistern and the environment of the object is not supposed to aflect Its behavior. Our modern concepts of space and time make it seem doubtful if any pure mechanical system really exists: but the original bias of natural philosophy was to discard organic complexes and to seek isolates which could be described, for practical purposes, as if they completely represented the 'physical world' from which they had been extracted."(46-47)
"In other words, physical science confined itself to the so-called primary qualities: the secondary qualities are spurned as subjective. But a primary quality is no more ultimate or elementary than a secondary quality, and a sensitive body is no less real than an insensitive body.(...) The primary qualities could be called prime only in terms of mathematical analysis, because they had, as an ultimate point of reference, an independent measuring stick for time and space, a clock, a ruler, a balance."(48-49)
"But with this gain in accuracy, went a deformation of experience as a whole. The instruments of science were helpless in the realm of qualities. The qualitative was reduced to the subjective: the subjective was dismissed as unreal, and the unseen and unmeasurable non-existent."(49)
"Unfortunately, isolation and abstraction, while important to orderly research and refined symbolic representation, are likewise conditions under which real organisms die, or at least cease to function effectively.(...) In short, the accuracy and simplicity of science, though they were responsible for its colossal practical achievements, were not an approach to objective reality but a departure from it. In their desire to achieve exact results the physical sciences scorned true objectivity: individually, one side of the personality was paralyzed; collectively, one side of experience was ignored."(50)
"By his consistent metaphysical principles and his factual method of research, the physical scientist· denuded the world of natural and organic objects and turned his back upon real experience: he substituted for the body and blood of reality a skeleton of effective abstractions which he could manipulate with appropriate wires and pulleys.
What was left was the bare, depopulated world of matter and motion: a wasteland. In order to thrive at all, it was necessary for the inheritors of the seventeenth century idolum to fill the world up again with new organisms, devised to represent the new realities of physical science. Machines - and machines alone - completely met the requirements of the new scientific method and point of view: they fulfilled the definition of 'reality' far more perfectly than living organisms. "(51)
"The unwillingness to accept the natural environment as a fixed and final condition of man's existence had always contributed both to his art and his technics: but from the seventeenth century, the attitude became compulsive, and it was to technics that he turned for fulfillment. "(52)
"Faith had at last found a new object, not the moving of mountains. but the moving of engines and machines. Power: the application of power to motion, and the application of motion to production, and of production to money-making, and so the further increase of power - this was the worthiest object that a mechanical habit of mind and a mechanical mode of action put before men. As everyone recognizes, a thousand salutary instruments came out of the new technics; but in origin from the seventeenth century on the machine served as a substitute religion, and a vital religion does not need the justification of mere utility."(53-54)
De 'religie van de machine' werd kritiekloos geaccepteerd.
"By the middle of the eighteenth century the initial preparations were over and the key inventions had been made. An army of natural philosophers, rationalists, experimenters, mechanics, ingenious people, had assembled who were clear as to their goal and confident as to their victory."(59)
"If man is rarely found in the 'state of nature' it is only because nature is so constantly modified by technics."(60)
Uitvoerige beschrijving van allerlei vormen van techniek, afdalend van de berghellingen (mijnbouw: ertsen etc), via de dichte bossen (bosbouw: hout; jacht: voedsel), de open hellingen en plateaus (veeteelt en jacht: voedsel), en de lager gelegen gronden (landbouw: voedsel), tot aan de rivieren en de zee (visserij: voedsel). De stad (sedentair bestaan) en de marktplaats (uitwisseling van producten en kennis) ontstonden bij die laatste.
"More closely than any other industry, mining was bound up with the first development of modern capitalism. By the sixteenth century it had definitely set the pattern for capitalist exploitation."(74)
"War, mechanization, mining, and finance played into each other's hands. Mining was the key industry that furnished the sinews of war and increased the metallic contents of the original capital hoard, the war-chest: on the other hand, it furthered the industrialization of arms, and enriched the financier by both processes. The uncertainty of both warfare and mining increased the possibilities for speculative gains: this provided a rich broth for the bacteria of finance to thrive in."(76)
"The advance in the 'arts of peace' did not in itself lead to peace: on the contrary, the improvement of weapons and the repression of naïve hostilities under the forms of organized life, tended to make war itself more savage. Unarmed hands or feet are relatively innocent: their range is limited, their effectiveness is low. It is with the collective organization and regimentation of the army that the conflicts between men have reached heights of bestiality and terrorism that primitive peoples, with their merely post-mortem cannibalism, might well envy."(83)
"If the invention of the mechanical clock heralded the new will-to-order, the use of cannon in the fourteenth century enlarged the will-to-power; and the machine as we know it represents the convergence and systematic embodiment of these two prime elements."(84)
"How far shall one go back in demonstrating the fact that war has been perhaps the chief propagator of the machine?"(86)
"In short the partnership between the soldier, the miner, the technician, and the scientist is an ancient one. To look upon the horrors of modern warfare as the accidental result of a fundamentally innocent and peaceful technical development is to forget the elementary facts of the machine's history."(87)
"At every stage in its modem development it was war rather than industry and trade that showed in complete outline the main features that characterize the machine. The topographic survey, the use of maps, the plan of campaign - long before business men devised organization charts and sales charts - the coordination of transport, supply, and production [mutilation and destruction], the broad divisions of labor between cavalry, infantry, and artillery, and the division of the process of production between each of these branches; finally, the distinction of function between staff and field activities - all these characteristics put warfare far in advance of competitive business and handicraft with their petty, empirical and short-sighted methods of preparation and operation. The army is in fact the ideal form toward which a purely mechanical system of industry must tend. The utopian writers of the nineteenth century like Bellamy and Cabet, who accepted this fact, were more realistic than the business men who sneered at their 'idealism'. But one may doubt whether the outcome was an ideal one.."(89)
" The regimentation and mass-production of soldiers, to the end of turning out a cheap, standardized, and replaceable product, was the great contribution of the military mind to the machine process. And along with this inner regimentation went an outward one which had a further effect upon the productive system: namely, the development of the military uniform itself."(92)
"Mechanized warfare, which contributed so much to every aspect of standardized mass-production, is in fact its great justification. Is it any wonder that it always acts as a temporary tonic on the system it has done so much to produce? Quantity production must rely for its success upon quantity consumption; and nothing ensures replacement like organized destruction. "(93-94)
"Hence the paradox in technics: war stimulates invention, but the army resists it!"(95)
"The alliance of mechanization and militarization was, in sum, an unfortunate one: for it tended to restrict the actions of social groups to a military pattern, and it encouraged the rough-and-ready tactics of the militarist in industry. It was unfortunate for society at large that a power organization like the army, rather than the more humane and cooperative craft guild, presided over the birth of the modern forms of the machine."(96)
[In Mumfords lange verhaal over het leger, de soldaat etc. maakt hij geen enkel onderscheid tussen de beleidsmakers, de beslissers, de verschillende rangen en zo verder. Op die manier blijft totaal onduidelijk wie er nu precies verantwoordelijk waren voor de middelen die ingezet werden voor tactiek en strategie enz. tijdens de strijd. Het zijn niet de gewone soldaten die bepalen welke richting de strijd uitgaat. En het was natuurlijk de bovenlaag van de samenleving die besliste zonder zelf ooit in gevaar te zijn en die opdrachten verschafte aan vriendjes in de industrie die er rijk van werden. Ik vind Mumford iets te gemakkelijk heenstappen over wie er onderwerpt en wie de onderworpenen zijn. De reële machtsverhoudingen moeten altijd beschreven worden. Ook sectie 9 is niet bevredigend op dat punt.]
"What went on at court became the criterion of a good life; and the luxurious standards of consumption erected there spread themselves gradually throughout every walk of society.
The concentration upon insignificant luxuries as the mark of economic well-being was in many ways an unfortunate prelude to machine production; but it was not altogether sterile."(100)
"The spirit of play enfranchised the mechanical imagination. Once the organization of the machine had started, however, the idle amusements of the aristocracy did not for long remain idle."(101)
"But why should production itself have assumed such enormous proportions? There is nothing within the machine milieu itself that can explain this fact: for in other cultures production, though it might create vast surpluses for public works and public art, remained a bare necessity of existence, often grudgingly met - not a center of continuous and overwhelming interest. In the past, even in Western Europe, men had worked to obtain the standard of living traditional to their place and class: the notion of acquiring money in order to move out of one's class was in fact foreign to the earlier feudal and corporate ideology. When their living became easy, people did not go in for abstract acquisition: they worked less. And when Nature abetted them, they often remained in the idyllic state of the Polynesians or the Homeric Greeks, giving to art, ritual, and sex the best of their energies."(102)
"To escape the lean restrictions of poverty hecame a sacred duty. Idleness was in itself a sin. A life outside the purlieus of production, without special industrial effort, without money-getting, had ceased to be respectable: the aristocracy itself, moved by its own heightened demands for luxuries and services, compromised with the merchant and manufacturing classes, married into them, adopted their vocations and interests, and welcomed new arrivals to the blessed state of riches. Philosophers speculated, now with faltering attention and a distracted eye, upon the nature of the good and the true and the beautiful. Was there any doubt about it? Their nature was essentially whatever could be embodied in material goods and profitably sold: whatever made life easier, more comfortable, more secure, physically more pleasant: in a word, better upholstered.
Finally, the theory of the new age, first formulated in terms of pecuniary success, was expressed in social terms by the utilitarians of the early nineteenth century. Happiness was the true end of man, and it consisted in achieving the greatest good for the greatest number. The essence of happiness was to avoid pain and seek pleasure: the quantity of happiness, and ultimately the perfection of human institutions, could be reckoned roughly by the amount of goods a society was capable of producing: expanding wants: expanding markets: expanding enterprises: an expanding body of consumers. The machine made this possible and guaranteed its success. To cry enough or to call a limit was treason. Happiness and expanding production were one."(104)
"In short, the machine came into our civilization, not to save man from the servitude to ignoble forms of work, but to make more widely possible the servitude to ignoble standards of consumption that had grown up among the military aristocracies."(105-106)
Over een syncretisme van culturen dat noodzakelijk is in de ontwikkeling van een beschaving.
" It is the death of the original form, or rather, the remaining life in the ruins, that permits the free working over and integration of the elements of other cultures."(108)
"In short, most of the important inventions and discoveries that served as the nucleus for further mechanical development, did not arise, as Spengler would have it, out of some mystical inner drive of the Faustian soul: they were wind-blown seeds from other cuItures."(108)
"But at no point - and this is the important thing to remember - did the machine represent a complete break. So far from being unprepared for in human history, the modern machine age cannot be understood except in terms of a very long and diverse preparation. The notion that a handful of British inventors suddenly made the wheels hum in the eighteenth century is too crude even to dish up as a fairy tale to children."(109)
Mumford onderscheidt drie fasen in de ontwikkeling van de technologische samenleving die deels overlappen: de eotechnische, de paleotechnische, en de neotechnische fase.
"While each of these phases roughly represents a period of human history, it is characterized even more significantly by the fact that it forms a technological complex. Each phase, that is, has its origin in certain definite regions and tends to employ certain special resources and raw materiaIs. Each phase has its specific means of utilizing and generating energy, and its special forms of production. Finally, each phase brings into existence particular types of workers, trains them in particular ways, develops certain aptitudes and discourages others, and draws upon and further develops certain aspects of the social heritage."(109-110)
"Speaking in terms of power and characteristic materials the eotechnic phase is a water-and-wood complex: the paleotechnic phase is a coal-and-iron complex, and the neotechnic phase is an electricity- and-alloy complex. It was Marx's great contribution as a sociological economist to see and partly to demonstrate that each period of invention and production had its own specific value for civilization, or, as he would have put it, its own historic mission. The machine cannot be divorced from its larger social pattern; for it is this pattern that gives it meaning and purpose. "(110)
De eotechnische fase liep in grote lijnen van 1000 tot 1750.
"At the bottom of the eotechnic economy stands one important fact: the diminished use of human beings as prime movers and the separation of the production of energy from its application and immedIate control."(112)
Paarden kregen hoefijzers en konden daarmee op andere bodems ingezet worden. Een ander tuig maakte meer paardenkracht mogelijk. Waterraderen en windmolens zorgden eveneens voor energie en werden daarnaast ingezet voor allerlei andere functies. Het gebruik van hout stond centraal, zo erg zelfs dat ontbossing vaak het gevolg was. Het transport over water was veel efficiënter dan vervoer over land en nam toe door de bouw van schepen.
"Wind, water, and wood combined to form the basis for still another important technical development: the manufacture and operation of boats and ships."(120)
Eveneens belangrijk was de rol die glas en glasblazerijen/-fabrieken speelden, voor de glazen ruiten in woningen, maar ook voor brillen, telescopen, microscopen, spiegels en zo meer.
"The world as conceived and observed by science, the world as revealed by the painter, were both worlds that were seen through and with the aid of glasses: spectacles, microscopes, telescopes, mirrors, windows."(130)
"But the most important invention of all had no direct industrial connection whatever: namely, the invention of the experimental method in science."(132)
"None of the inventions that followed the development of the scientific method were so important in remolding the thought and activity of mankind as those that made experimental science possible. Eventually the scientific method was to repay its debt to technics hundredfold: two centuries later, as we shall see, it was to suggest new combinations of means and turn into the realm of possibility the wildest dreams and the most irresponsible wishes of the race."(133)
Bespreking van de belangrijkste uitvindingen in deze periode: de mechanische klok, de drukpers en de productie van papier. Daarnaast ware er sociale uitvindingen als de universiteit, de wetenschappelijke academie, het laboratorium, de industriële tentoonstelling, de fabriek.
"The factory simplified the collection of raw materials and the distribution of the finished product: it also facilitated the specialization of skill and the division of the processes of production: finally, by providing a common meeting place for the workers it partly overcame the isolation and helplessness that afflicted the handicraft worker after the structure of the town guilds had become dilapidated. The factory had finally a double role: it was an agent of mechanical regimentation, like the new army, and it was an example of genuine social order, appropriate to the new processes in industry. In either light, it was a significant invention. On one hand it gave a new motive for capitalistic investment in the form of the joint stock company operated for profit and it furnished the ruling classes with a powerful weapon: on the other, it served as a center for a new kind of social integration and made possible an efficient coordination of production which would be valuable under any social order."(138-139)
"Since invention is almost never the sole work of a single inventor , however great a genius he may be, and since it is the product of the successive labors of innumerable men, working at various times and often toward various purposes, it is merely a figure of speech to attribute an invention to a single person: this is a convenient falsehood fostered by a spurious sense of patriotism and by the device of patent monopolies - a device that enables one man to claim special financial rewards for being the last link in the complicated social process that produced the invention. Any fully developed machine is a composite collective product: the present weaving machinery, according to Hobson, is a compound of about 800 inventions, while the present carding machinery is a compound of about 60 patents. This holds true for countries and generations as well: the joint stock of knowledge and technical skill transcends the boundaries of individual or national egos: and to forget that fact is not merely to enthrone superstition but to undermine the essential planetary basis of technology itself."(142)
Nadeel van het werken met wind- en watermolens: de wisselvalligheid van de besdchikbaarheid ervan, de regionale gebondenheid ervan.
" And as distances increased and contracts in business emphasized the time-element, a more regular means of power became a financial necessity: delays and stoppages were costly."(143)
"The new industries, as Mantoux points out, tended to escape the manufacturing regulations of the guilds and even of the State itself - such as the English Statute of Apprentices of 1563: they grew up without social control. In other words, mechanical improvements flourished at the expense of the human improvements that had been strenuously introduced by the craft guilds; and the latter, in turn, were steadily losing force by reason of the growth of capitalistic monopolies which produced a steadily widening gap between masters and men. The machine had an anti-social bias: it tended by reason of its 'progressive' character to the more naked forms of human exploitation."(143-144)
"In sum: as industry became more advanced from a mechanical point of view it at first became more backward from a human standpoint. "(146)
"But while one cannot ignore the defects of the eotechnic economy, including the fact that more powerful and accurate engines of destruction and exquisite apparatus for human torture were both put at the service of morbid ambitions and a corrupt ideology - while one cannot ignore these things one must not under-rate the real achievements."(147)
"In every department of activity there was equilibrium between the static and the dynamic, between the rural and the urban, between the vital and the mechanical. So it is not merely in the annual rate of converting energy or the annual rate of production that one must gauge the gains of the eotechnic period: many of its artifacts are still in use and still almost as good as new; and when one takes account of the longer span of time enjoyed by eotechnic products the balance tips back toward its own side of the arm. What it lacked in power, it made up for in time: its works had durability. Nor did the eotechnic period lack time any more than it lacked energy: far from moiling day and night to achieve as much as it did, it enjoyed in Catholic countries about a hundred complete holidays a year."(148)
"By the middle of the eighteenth century the fundamental industrial revolution, that which transformed our mode of thinking, our means of production, our manner of living, had been accomplished: the external forces of nature were harnessed and the mills and looms and spindles were working busily through Western Europe. The time had come to consolidate and systematize the great advances that had been made."(151)
De tweede industriële revolutie vindt plaats.
"This second revolution multiplied, vulgarized, and spread the methods and goods produced by the first: above all, it was directed toward the quantification of life, and its success could be gauged only in terms of the multiplication table."(151)
En die vond in eerste instantie in Engeland plaats, een land dat eeuwenlang had achtergelopen op andere, waardoor een breuk met het verleden gemakkelijker was.
".Paleotechnic industry ... arose out of the break down of European society and carried the process of disruption to a finish. There was a sharp shift in interest from life values to pecuniary values: the system of interests which only had been latent and which had been restricted in great measure to the merchant and leisure classes now pervaded every walk of life. It was no longer sufficient for industry to provide a livelihood: it must create an independent fortune: work was no longer a necessary part of living: it became an all-important end. "(153)
Beschrijving van alle ellende die daar uit voortkwam, met name voor de arbeidersklassen.
"Here was something almost without parallel in the history of civilization: not a lapse into barbarism through the enfeeblement of a higher civilization, but an upthrust into barbarism, aided by the very forces and interests which originally had been directed toward the conquest of the environment and the perfection of human culture. Where and under what conditions did this change take place? And how, when it represented in fact the lowest point in social development Europe had known since the Dark Ages did it come to he looked upon as a humane and beneficial advance? We must answer those questions."(155)
[Dat zijn goede vragen. Ben benieuwd naar de antwoorden.]
Het gebruik van steenkool en houtskool als energiebron, de inzet van de stoommachine, en nieuwe technieken om ijzer te smelten en te bewerken spelen een grote rol.
"Coal, which could be mined long in advance of use, and which could be stored up, placed industry almost out of reach of seasonal influences and the caprices of the weather."(157)
De nadelen van het gebruik van steenkool / mijnbouw zijn ook voor Mumford al helemaal duidelijk:
"In the concrete, however, the prospects were more limited, and the exploitation of coal earned with it penalties not attached to the extraction of energy from growing plants or from wind and water. As long as the coal seams of England, Wales, the Ruhr, and the Alleghanies were deep and rich the limited terms of this new economy could be overlooked: but as soon as the first easy gains were realized the difficulties of keeping up the process became plain. For mining is a robber industry: the mine owner, as Messrs. Tryon and Eckel point out, is constantly consuming his capital, and as the surface measures are depleted the cost per unit of extracting minerals and ores becomes greater. The mine is the worst possible local base for a permanent civilization: for when the seams are exhausted, the individual mine must be closed down, leaving behind its debris and its deserted sheds and houses. The byproducts are a befouled and disorderly environment; the end product is an exhausted one."(157)
"Mankind behaved like a drunken heir on a spree. And the damage to form and civilization through the prevalence of these new habits of disorderly exploitation and wasteful expenditure remained, whether or not the source of energy itself disappeared. The psychological results of carboniferous capitalism - the lowered morale, the expectation of getting something for nothing, the disregard for a balanced mode of production and consumption, the habituation to wreckage and debris as part of the normal human environment - all these results were plainly mischievous."(158)
Mijnbouw en de stoommachine gaan hand in hand. Rond 1780 waren alle belangrijke uitvindingen voor de industrialisering gedaan. De stoommachine leidde vanwege de kosten tot concentratie en monopolisering van macht en bezit. Dat weer leidde tot een 24-uur-per-dag gebruik van die machine om de kosten te drukken: werkdagen werden simpelweg langer gemaakt.
"Operated by the steam engine, lighted by gas, the new mills could work for twenty-four hours. Why not the worker? The steam engine was pacemaker."(162)
"The industrial leaders not only accepted concentration and magnitude as a fact of operation, conditioned by the steam engine: they came to believe in it by itself, as a mark of progress. With the big steam engine, the big factory, the big bonanza farm, the big blast furnace, efficiency was supposed to exist in direct ratio to size. Bigger was another way of saying better."(162)
Er was ook sprake van schaalvergroting door concentratie van de bevolking in steden die groeiden rondom de mijnen, de fabrieken, de stations, de havens. Ijzer en steenkool speelden de hoofdrol in deze periode.
"No matter what the original color of the paleotechnic milieu might be, it was soon reduced, by reason of the soot and cinders that accompanied its activities, to its characteristic tones, grey, brown, black. The center of the new industrialism in England was appropriately called the Black Country: by 1850 there was a similar blackness around the Pittsburgh district in America, and there was another in the Ruhr and around Lille."(163)
Het was alles ijzer en staal wat de klok sloeg. Door de enorme vraag vanuit militaire hoek ontstond goedkopere efficiënte productie. Maar ijzer en staal waren in het alledaagse leven ook overal te vinden. Desondanks: ze speelden met name een rol in de oorlogsindustrie, een industrie die er niet voor terugschrok om zelf de rivaliteit tussen naties aan te wakkeren.
" In the most typical of Victorian utopias, that of J. S. Buckingham, the ideal city is built almost entirely of iron."(164)
Maar ijzer had ook zijn zwakke kanten (hoog smeltpunt, veel hitte dus veel energie nodig om het te vormen; het oxideert en moet dus geverfd, gesmeerd, verzorgd worden; het zet uit en krimpt bij verhitting). Bovendien leidde de grote voorraad aan ijzererts er toe dat er weinig innovatie was in het inzetten ervan. Zoals ook luchtvervuiling samenging met deze industrie omdat niemand de moeite nam afvalstoffen opnieuw te gebruiken, iets wat toen al mogelijk was. Voorbeeld: de stoommachine was maar voor 10% efficiënt, zo veel ging er aan hitte en enrgie verloren.
"The pollution and dirt of a small iron works situated in the open country could be absorbed or carried away without difficulty. When twenty large iron works were grouped together, concentrating their effluvia and their waste-products, a wholesale deterioration of the environment inevitably followed."(168)
"In this paleotechnic world the realities were money, prices, capital, shares: the environment itself, like most of human existence, was treated as an abstraction. Air and sunlight, because of their deplor- able lack of value in exchange, had no reality at all. Andrew Ure, the great British apologIst for Victorian capitalism, was aghast at the excellent physician who testified before Sadler's Factory Investigating Commission on the basis of expenments made by Dr. Edwards in Paris with tadpoles, that sunlight was essential to the growth of children: a belief which he backed up - a century before the effect of sunlight in preventing rickets was established - by pointing to the absence of deformities of growth, such as were common in milltowns, among the Mexixans and Peruvians, regularly exposed to sunlight. In response to this Ure proudly exhibited the illustration of a factory room without windows as an example of the excellent gas-lighting which served as a substitute for the sun!
The values of the paleotechnic economy were topsy-turvy: Its abstractions were reverenced as 'hard facts' and ultimate realities, whereas the realities of existence were treated by the Gradgrinds and Bounderbys as abstractions, as sentimental fancies, even as aberrations. So this period was marked throughout the Western World by the widespread perversion and destruction of environment: the tactics of mining and the debris of the mine spread everywhere."(168-169)
Luchtvervuiling, waterverontreiniging, gebrek aan sanitaire voorzieningen maakten de industriële gebieden tot broedplaatsen voor ziekten.
"Kant's doctrine, that every human being should be treated as an end, not as a means, was formulated precisely at the moment when mechanical industry had begun to treat the worker solely as a means - a means to cheaper mechanical production. Human beings were dealt with in the same spirit of brutality as the landscape: labor was a resource to be exploited, to be mined, to be exhausted, and finally to be discarded. Responsibility for the worker's life and health ended with the cash-payment for the day's labor."(172)
"The first requirement for the factory system, then, was the castration of skill. The second was the discipline of starvation. The third was the closing up of alternative occupations by means of landmonopoly and dis-education."(173)
"From the beginning, technological improvement was the manufacturer's answer to labor insubordination, or, as the invaluable Ure reminded his readers, new invention "confirmed the great doctrine already propounded that when capital enlists science into its service the refractory hand of labor will be taught docility.""(174)
"At the opening of the period, in 1770, a writer had projected a new scheme for providing for paupers. He called it a House of Terror. It was to be a place where paupers would be confined at work for fourteen hours a day and kept in hand by a starvation diet. Within a generation, this House of Terror had become the typical paleotechnic factory: in fact the ideal, as Marx well says, paled before the reality."(175)
"With the large scale organization of the factory it became necessary that the operatives should at least be able to read notices, and from 1832 onwards measures for providing education for the child laborers were introduced in England. But in order to unify the whole system, the characteristic limitations of the House of Terror were introduced as far as possible into the school: silence, absence of motion, complete passivity, response only upon the application of an outer stimulus, rote learning, verbal parroting, piece-work acquisition of knowledge - these gave the school the happy attributes of jail and factory combined."(176)
"For a new type of personality had emerged, a walking abstraction: the Economic Man. Living men imitated this penny-in-the-slot automaton, this creature of bare rationalism. These new economic men sacrificed their digestion, the interests of parenthood, their sexual life, their health, most of the normal pleasures and delights of civilized existence to the untrammeled pursuit of power and money. Nothing retarded them; nothing diverted them ... except finally the realization that they had more money than they could use, and more power than they could intelligently exercise. Then came belated repentance: Robert Owen founds a utopian co-operative colony, Nobel, the explosive manufacturer, a peace foundation, Carnegie free libraries, Rockefeller medical institutes. Those whose repentance took a more private form became the victim of their mistresses their tailors, their art dealers. Outside the industrial system, the Economic Man was in a state of neurotic maladjustment. These successful neurotics looked upon the arts as unmanly forms of escape from work and business enterprise: but what was their one-sided, maniacal concentration upon work but a much more disastrous escape from life itself? In only the most limited sense were the great industrialists better off than the workers they degraded: jailer and prisoner were both, so to say, inmates of the same House of Terror."(177)
[Dit is een beetje typisch voor Mumford. Hij beschrijft het zo dat uiteindelijk iedereen als een slachtoffer van het systeem geldt. Maar daarmee dekt hij de verschillen toe en veroordeelt hij niet de mensen die verantwoordelijk waren voor de vernietiging van milieu en mens zoals hij zelf eerder beschreef. De arrogantie en superioriteitsgevoelens van die bezittende klasse zijn ontstellend. En zijn ze ooit grondig ter verantwoording geroepen? Nee. Dat ze zichzelf ook tot discipline en hard werken dwongen en dus ook last hadden van dit systeem, zet ze niet in dezelfde situatie als de werkers. Ze hadden altijd nog de macht om anderen kapot te maken, een macht die de werkers niet hadden. En die gelijkheid onder de democratie is natuurlijk ook een illusie. ]
"Religion ceased in large groups to be the opiate of the poor: indeed the mines and the textile mills often lacked even the barest elements of the older Christian culture: and it would be more nearly true to say that opiates became the religion of the poor."(179)
[Flauw grapje van Mumford naar aanleiding van Marx. Maar hij heeft het niet begrepen, Marx wel, want die zag het gebeuren: het gebruik door de rijke bovenlaag van religie, kerken, priesters en zo als een andere weg om de werkers te disciplineren. Ook al was er niets christelijks aan de uitbuiting en de leefomstandigheden van werkers, dat vormde voor mijnheer pastoor geen belemmering om met hel en verdoemenis te dreigen als de werkers in opstand kwamen of zelfs maar lid werden van de socialistische beweging.]
Mumford beschrijft verder de degradatie van de voeding, van de zintuiglijke waarneming, van naaktheid en seksueel genot, van mentale exercities. Daarna werkt hij de hoofdoorzaak uit van al de beschreven ellende: het kritiekloze vooruitgangsgeloof van de Verlichting.
"To widen the margin between the costs of production and the return from sales in a competitive market, the manufacturer depressed wages, lengthened hours, speeded up motions, shortened the worker's period of rest, deprived him of recreation and education, robbed him in youth of the opportunities for growth, in maturity of the benefits of family life. and in old age of his security and peace."(186)
[Mumford generaliseert soms wel erg gemakkelijk en sommige conclusies worden wel erg gemakkelijk getrokken. Zo wordt de klassenstrijd weergegeven als een 'strijd om het bestaan' waarin weer iedereen gelijk aan elkaar lijkt te zijn. En het daarna besproken sociaal darwinisme heeft niets met Darwin zelf te maken, maar inderdaad wel met mensen als Malthus en Spencer die opvattingen hadden waarin het gedrag van de bezittende klasse gerechtvaardigd werd met theorieën over de 'survival of the fittest' aan het langste eind trokken en dus als superieur werden gezien. Dit soort denken miskent simpelweg de bezits- en machtsverhoudingen. En ook al was het waar, dan nog betekent dat niet dat ze geen verantwoordelijkheid droegen voor hun gedrag tegenover de werkers en het milieu. ]
"Moreover, there were the demonstrable facts of commensalism and symbiosis, to say nothing of ecological partnership, of which Darwin himself was fully conscious, to modify the Victorian nightmare of a nature red in tooth and claw.
The point is, however, that in paleotechnic society the weaker were indeed driven to the wall and mutual aid had almost disappeared. The Malthus-Darwin doctrine explained the dominance of the new bourgeoisie, people without taste, imagination, intellect, moral scruples, general culture or even elementary bowels of compassion, who rose to the surface precisely because they fitted an environment that had no place and no use for any of these humane attributes. Only anti-social qualities had survival value. Only people who valued machines more than men were capable under these condition of governing men to their own profit and advantage."(187)
[Dat is een heel zwakke conclusie waarin het sociale darwinisme in feite geaccepteerd wordt als een verklaring. Maar die theorie verklaart helemaal niets van de klasseverhoudingen en zo verder.]
"Vast were the labors performed by the steam engine and its accessories; but vast, likewise, were the losses that accom- panied them. Measured by effective work, that is, by human effort transformed into direct subsistence or into durable works of art and technics, the relative gains of the new industry were pitifully small. Other civilizatIons with a smaller output of power and a larger expenditure of time had equalled and possibly surpassed the paleotechnic period In real efficiency."(196)
"Time-saving now became an important part of labor.saving. And as time was accumulated and put by, it was reinvested, like money capital, in new forms of exploitation. From now on filling time and killing time became important considerations: the early paleotechnic employers even stole time from their workers by blowing the factory whistle a quarter of an hour earlier in the morning, or by moving the hands of the clock around more swiftly during the lunch period: where the occupation permitted, the worker often reciprocated when the employer's back was turned. Time, in short, was a commodity in the sense that money had become a commodity. Time as pure duration, time dedicated to contemplation and reverie, time divorced from mechanical operations, was treated as a heinous waste."(197)
"Mechanical time now became second nature: the acceleration of the tempo became a new imperative for industry and 'progress'. To reduce the time on a given job, whether the work was a source of pleasure, or pain, or to quicken movement through space, whether the traveler journeyed for enjoyment or profit, was looked upon as a sufficient end in itself. Some of the specific fears as to the results of this acceleration were absurd, as in the notion that flight through space at twenty miles an hour on the railroad would cause heart disease and undermine the human frame; but in its more general application, this alteration of the tempo from the organic period , which cannot be greatly quickened without maladjustment of function, to the mechanical period, which can be stretched out or intensified , was indeed made too lightly and thoughtlessly.
Apart from the primitive physical delight in motion for its own sake, this acceleration of the tempo could not be justified except in terms of pecuniary rewards. For power and time, the two components of mechamcal work, are in human terms only a function of purpose. They have no more significance, apart from human purpose, than has the sunlIght that falls in the solitude of the Sahara desert. During the paleotechnic period, the increase of power and the acceleration of movement became ends in themselves: ends that justified themselves apart from their human consequences."(198-199)
"It was the very lack of sun, the lack of color, the starvation within the industrial towns for the sight of rural scenes, that sharpened the art of landscape painting during this period, and gave birth to its chief collective triumph, the work of the Barbizon school and the later impressionists, Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, and most characteristic if not most original of all Vincent Van Gogh."(200)
[Mumford schrijft dit onder de tussenkop 'The esthetic compensation'. Ja, nogal belangrijk, die landschapsschilders, voor de werkers die niets van enige compensatie merkten en ook nooit naar die schilderijen konden kijken. Vreemd verhaal, dit. Ook dat over orkestrale muziek. Middenklassewaarden ten aanzien van cultuur en zo.]
Omdat we nog in die derde fase zitten en er dus nog van alles moet uitkristalliseren is het minder eenvoudig om die neotechnische fase te definiëren.
"Emerging from the paleotechnic order, the neotechnic institutions have nevertheless in many cases compromised with it, given way before it, lost their identity by reason of the weight of vested interests that continued to support the obsolete instruments and the anti-social aims of the middle industrial era. Paleotechnic ideals still largely dominate the industry and the politics of the Western World: the class struggles and the national struggles are still pushed with relentless vigor. While eotechnic practices linger on as civilizing influences, in gardens and parks and painting and music and the theater, the paleotechnic remains a barbarizing influence."(213)
"But the beginnings of the neotechnic phase can nevertheless be approximately fixed. The first definite change, which increased the efficiency of prime movers enormously, multiplying it from three to nine times, was the perfection of the water-turbine by Fourneyron in 1832. "(213)
[Ik vraag me dan of die indeling in drie fasen wel zo zinvol is. Alles wordt al eerder voorbereid en loopt in elkaar over, hier sneller dan daar, met eigen accenten, blijft van invloed in de toekomst, en zo verder. Wat is de zin van die drie fasen-indeling?]
"Coming on top of the important work done by Volta, Galvani, Oersted, Ohm, and Ampere, Faraday's work on electricity, coupled with Joseph Henry's exactly contemporary research on the electromagnet, erected a new basis for the conversion and distribution of energy and for most of the decisive neotechnic inventions."(214)
Met andere woorden: de neotechnische fase onderscheidt zich door de inzet van elektriciteit, door een andere bron van energie. Vanaf 1850 ongeveer was dat ook een realiteit in de industrie. Het had ook grote gevolgen voor het milieu en de leefomgeving. Waar voorheen nog veel uitgevonden werd via 'trial and error', werd er nu systematisch wetenschappelijk onderzoek gedaan, ook op het terrein van mens en maatschappij (sociologie, gedragswetenschappen).
"In the neotechnic phase, the main initiative comes, not from the ingenious inventor, but from the scientist who establishes the general law: the invention is a derivative product."(217)
"The infusion of exact, scientific methods into every department of work and action, from architecture to education, to some extent increased the scope and power of the mechanical world-picture that had been built up in the seventeenth century: for technicians tended to take the world of the physical scientist as the most real section of experience, because it happened, on the whole, to be the most measurable; and they were sometimes satisfied with superficial investigations as long as they exhibited the general form of the exact sciences. The specialized, one·sided, factual education of the engineer, the absence of humanistic interests in both the school of engineering itself and the environment into which the engineer was thrust, only accentuated these limitaions."(220)
Elektriciteit is gemakkelijker op te wekken (via wind, water, getijden, zon, etc.), daardoor onafhankelijker van locatie, en als nodig ook gemakkelijker te transporteren dan steenkool. Elektriciteit maakt ook een flexibeler opzet van fabrieken en werkplekken mogelijk, schaalvergroting was veel minder noodzakelijk dan bij de stoommachines. Automatisering via kleinere losse machines werd daardoor ook mogelijk, met als gevolg dat er meer geproduceerd kon worden met veel minder mensen. Het proletariaat werd als het ware vervangen door machines.
"Bigger no longer automatically means better: flexibility of the power unit, closer adaptation of means to ends, nicer timing of operation, are the new marks of efficient industry. So far as concentration may remain, it is largely a phenomenon of the market, rather than of technics: promoted by astute financiers who see in the large organization an easier mechanism for their manipulations of credit, for their inflation of capital values, for their monopolistic controls."(226)
" Instead of bigness and heaviness being a happy distinction, these qualities are now recognized as handicaps: lightness and compactness are the emergent qualities of the neotechnic era."(231)
Vandaar de verschuiving naar lichte metalen als aluminium. Ook zeldzame aardmetalen spelen een steeds belangrijker rol. Over de chemische industrie.
"One might say, for dramatic emphasis, that paleotechnics regarded only the figures to the left of the decimal, whereas neotechnics is preoccupied with those to the right."(232)
"Note the importance of these facts in the scheme of world commodity flow. Both eotechnic and paleotechnic industry could be carried on within the framework of European society: England, Germany, France, the leading countries, had a sufficient supply of wind, wood, water, limestone, coal, iron ore; so did the United States. Under the neotechnic regime their independence and their self-sufficiency are gone. They must either organize and safeguard and conserve a worldwide basis of supply, or run the risk of going destitute and relapse into a lower and cruder technology. The basis of the material elements in the new industry is neither national nor continental but planetary: this is equally true, of course, of its technological and scientific heritage. A laboratory in Tokio or Calcutta may produce a theory or an invention which will entirely alter the possibilities of life for a fishing community in Norway. Under these conditions, no country and no continent can surround itself with a wall without wrecking the essential, international basis of its technology: so if the neotechnic economy is to survive, it has no other alternative than to organize industry and its polity on a worldwide scale. Isolation and national hostilities are forms of deliberate technological suicide. The geographical distribution of the rare earths and metals by itself almost establishes that fact."(232-233)
"The social effects of the automobile and the airplane did not begin to show themselves on any broad scale until around 1910: the flight of Bleriot across the English channel in 1909 and the introduction of the cheap, mass-produced motor car by Henry Ford were significant turning points.
But what happened here, unfortunately, is what happened in almost every department of industrial life. The new machines followed, not their own pattern, but the pattern laid down by previous economic and technical structures."(236)
Over techniek en communicatie: de telegraaf, de telefoon etc.
"With the invention of the telegraph a series of inventions began to bridge the gap in time between communication and response despite the handicaps of space: first the telegraph, then the telephone, then the wireless telegraph, then the wireless telephone, and finally television. As a result, communication is now on the point of returning, with the aid of mechanical devices, to that instantaneous reaction of person to person with which it began; but the possibilities of this immediate meeting, instead of being limited by space and time, will be limited only by the amount of energy available and the mechanical perfection and accessibility of the apparatus. When the radio telephone is supplemented by television communication will differ from direct intercourse only to the extent that immediate physical contact will be impossible: the hand of sympathy will not actually grasp the recipient's hand, nor the raised fist fall upon the provoking head.
What will be the outcome? Obviously, a widened range of intercourse: more numerous contacts: more numerous demands on attention and time. But unfortunately, the possibility of this type of immediate intercourse on a worldwide basis does not necessarily mean a less trivial or a less parochial personality. For over against the convenience of instantaneous communication is the fact that the great economical abstractions of writing, reading, and drawing, the media of reflective thought and deliberate action, will be weakened. "(239-240)
[Nog tamelijk optimistisch, vind ik. Directe fysieke communicatie tussen personen wordt inderdaad nooit bereikt door er technische middelen tussen te zetten. De afwezigheid van het lichaam is het begin van de vervreemding tussen mensen. Afstand en tijd worden slechts in schijn overbrugd: de geografische afstand mag minder belangrijk zijn, maar de fysieke afstand blijft; iedereen is zogenaamd altijd bereikbaar, maar dat is lang niet altijd zo en bovendien verplsintert al die snelle reacties op elkaar je aandacht. Inderdaad: mensen worden er niet minder oppervlakkig door, integendeel: reflectie en afweging zijn een groot probleem geworden. Dat probleem is tegenwoordig - met Internet en andere netwerken - nog veel acuter dan Mumford indertijd kon weten. Wat zou hij gevonden hebben van al die mensen die almaar met hun mobieltjes en computers communiceren in plaats van direct met mensen?]
"One is faced here with a magnified form of a danger common to all inventions: a tendency to use them whether or not the occasion demands. Thus our forefathers used iron sheets for the fronts of buildings, despite the fact that iron is a notorious conductor of heat: thus people gave up learning the violin, the guitar, and the piano when the phonograph was introduced, despite the fact that the passive listening to records is not in the slightest degree the equivalent of active performance; thus the introduction of anesthetics increased fatalities from superfluous operations."(240)
"The possibilities for good and evil here are immense: the secondary personal contact with voice and image may increase the amount of mass regimentation, all the more because the opportunity for individual members reacting directly upon the leader himself, as in a local meeting, becomes farther and farther removed. At the present moment, as with so many other neotechnic benefits, the dangers of the radio and the talking picture seem greater than the benefits. As with all instruments of multiplication the critical question is as to the function and quality of the object one is multiplying. There is no satisfactory answer to this on the basis of technics alone: certainly nothing to indicate, as the earlier exponents of instantaneous communication seem pretty uniformly to have thought, that the results will automatically be favorable to the community."(241)
Nieuw in de neotechnische fase is dat ook beeld, geluid, bewegend beeld kunnen worden vastgelegd, waardoor objecten als het ware kunnen worden losgemaakt van hun ruimtelijk-historische context maar juist ook context kunnen registreren die anders verloren zouden gaan (een uitbreiding van het collectieve geheugen).
"They gave modem civilization a direct sense of the past and a more accurate perception of its memorials than any other civilization had, in all probability, had. Not alone did they make the past more immediate: they made the present more historic by narrowing the lapse of time between the actual events themselves and their concrete record. For the first time one might come face to face with the speaking likenesses of dead people and recall in their immediacy forgotten scenes and actions."(244-245)
"Thanks to neotechnic inventions and discoveries the machine became, for perhaps the first time, a direct ally of life: and in the light of this new knowledge its previous misdemeanors became more grotesque and incredible. Mathematical accuracy, physical economy, chemical purity, surgical cleanlines - these are some of the attributes of the new regime."(247)
"This new technics does not stop short with mechanical inventions: it begins to call to its aid the biological and psychological sciences, and the studies of working efficiency and fatigue, for example, establish the fact that to curtail the hours of work may be to increase the volume of production per unit. The prevention of disease, the substitution of hygiene for belated repair, becomes a charateristic of neotechnic medicin: a return to Nature, a new confidence in the organism as a harmonious. self-equilibrating unit. "(247)
"As a result of all these advances, one of the major problems for the new technics becomes the remoyal of the blighted paleotechnic environment, and the re·education of its victims to a more vital regimen of working and living. The dirty crowded houses, the dank airless courts and alleys, the bleak pavements. the sulphurous atmosphere, the over-routinized and dehumanized factory, the drill schools, the second-hand experiences, the starvation of the senses, the remoteness from nature and animal activity - here are the enemies. The living organism demands a life-sustaining environment. So far from seeking to replace this by mechanical substitutes, the neotechnic phase seeks to establish such life-sustaining conditions within the innermost purlieus of technics itself."(248)
[Uit dit soort alineas wordt duidelijk waarom Mumford toch redelijk positief was over de technische ontwikkeling in de neotechnische fase. Hij ziet al wel de grenzen:]
"... the positive fostering of the life-conserving occupations and the discouragement of those forms of industry which decrease the expectation of life without any compensatory intensification of it during productIon - all this awaits a culture more deeply concerned with life than even the neotechnic one, in which the calculus of energies still takes precedence over the calculus of life."(248-249)
Fysiologisch, psychologisch, biologisch onderzoek droegen allemaal bij aan de uitvindingen die gedaan werden in de neotechnische fase. Steeds vaker werden de vorm en de schaal van de natuur gevolgd in het ontwerpen van dingen (als vliegtuigen en andere machines). Ook werd steeds meer het belang gezien van kleine hoeveelheden (als in de invloed van bacteriën of de hormonen op het menselijk lichaam).
"Subtlety, finesse, delicacy, respect for organic complexity and intricacy now characterize the entire range of scientific thought: this has grown in part out of refinements in technical methods, and in turn it has furthered them.(...)
We are still, I must emphasize, probably only at the beginning of this reverse process, whereby technics, instead of benefitting by its abstraction from life, will benefit even more greatly by its integration with it."(254)
"The paleotechnic period, we have noted, was marked by the reckless waste of resources. Hot in the pursuit of immediate profits, the new exploiters gave no heed to the environment around them, nor to the further consequence of their actions on the morrow. "What had posterity done for them?" In their haste, they overreached themselves: they threw money into the rivers. let it escape in smoke in the air, handicapped themselves with their own litter and filth, prematurely exhausted the agricultural lands upon which they depended for food and fabrics.
Against all these wastes the neotechnic phase, with its richer chemical and biological knowledge, sets its face. It tends to replace the reckless mining habits of the earlier period with a thrifty and conservative use of the natural environment. Concretely, the conservation and utilization of scrapmetals and scraprubber and slag mean a tidying up of the landscape: the end of the paleotechnic middens. Electricity itself aids in this transformation. The smoke pall of paleotechnic industry begins to lift: with electricity the clear sky and the clean waters of the eotechnic phase come back again: the water that runs through the immaculate disks of the turbine, unlike the water filled with the washings of the coal seams or the refuse of the old chemical factories, is just as pure when it emerges. Hydroelectricity, moreover, gives rise to geotechnics: forest cover protection, stream control, the building of reservoirs and power dams."(255-256)
[Het is geweldig dat Mumford al zo vroeg het gbelang van het ecosysteem benadrukt en zo verder. Maar ook hier zie je nog een hoop optimisme bij hem. Luchtvervuiling, bodem- en waterverontreiniging bleken alleen maar onzichtbaarder te worden en hand over hand toe te nemen. En de ontbossing ging gewoon door. En het is meestal niet de industrie zelf die er verstandig en wijs en vrijwillig voor kiest om niet te vervuilen. De protesten van de milieubeweging, politieke druk, uiteindelijk verandering in de wetgeving zijn blijkbaar steeds weer nodig. Dat is kapitalisme: het gaat om de winst en natuurbehoud kost geld. Ik mis toch vaak de verdergaande analyse van dat kapitalisme bij Mumford. Die had hem toen al kunnen leren dat de neotechnische fase fundamenteel niet veel anders is dan de paleotechnische, gewoon omdat het economische systeem verspillend en vervuilend is en dat systeem nog steeds bestaat.]
"The tabus on sex were so long operative in Christian society that its scientific investigation was delayed long beyond any other function of the body: there are even today textbooks on physiology that skip over the sexual functions with the most hasty allusions: hence a subject of critical importance to the care and nurture of the race is still not altogether out of the hands of empirics and superstition-ridden people, to say nothing of quacks. But the technique of temporary sterilization - so-called birth-control - was perhaps the most important to the human race of all the scientific and technical advances that were carried to completion during the nineteenth century."(260)
"But important as contraception was to be in sexual life, particularly in the fact that it restored sex with compensatory vIgor to a more central rôle in the personality, its wider social effects were equally important."(261)
Het kon bijvoorbeeld de bevolkingsgroei afremmen en in balans brengen met de opbrengsten van het land en zo verder.
"For what has been the total result of all these great scientific discoveries and inventions, these more organic interests, these refinements and delicacies of technique? We have merely used our new machines and energies to further processes which were begun under the auspices of capitalist and military enterprise: we have not yet utilized them to conquer these forms of enterprise and subdue them to more vital and humane purposes. "(265)
[Precies. En dat zou nadere analyse verdienen.]
"The neotechnic refinement of the machine, without a coordinate development of higher social purposes, has only magnified the possibilities of depravity and barbarism."(266)
De machine ontmoette ook weerstand, in katholieke gebieden bijvoorbeeld meer dan in protestantse.
"Modes of life essentially hostile to the machine have remained in existence: the institutional life of the churches, while often subservient to capitalism, has remained fo reign to the naturalistic and mechanistic interests which helped develop the machine. "(268)
"It is only in economic textbooks, moreover, that the Economic Man and the Machine Age have ever maintained the purity of their ideal images. Before the paleotechnic period was well under way their images were already tarnished: free competition was curbed from the start by the trade agreements and anti-union collaborations of the very industrialists who shouted most loudly for it. And the retreat from the machine, headed by philosophers and poets and artists, ap- peared at the very moment that the forces of utilitaeianism seemed most coherent and confident. The successes of mechanism only increased the awareness of values not included in a mechanistic ideology - values derived, not from the machine, but from other prov- inces of life. Any just appreciation of the machine's contribution to civilization must reckon with these resistances and compensations."(269)
De mechanische benadering kenmerkt zich door de volgende eigenschappen. Ten eerste de regelmaat in tijd (alles is tijdgebonden, alles heeft een tijdsduur) met het gevaar dat ook toe te passen waar het geen zin heeft - er moet ruimte zijn voor de onvoorspelbaarheid, het spel, het toeval, vindt Mumford.
"In short: mechanical time is not an absolute. And a population trained to keep to a mechanical time routine at whatever sacrifice to health, convenience, and organic felicity may well suffer from the strain of that discipline and find life impossible without the most strenuous compensations. The fact that sexual intercourse in a mod- ern city is limited, for workers in all grades and departments, to the fatigued hours of the day may add to the effiiency of the working life only by a too heavy sacrifice in personal and organic relations. Not the least of the blessings promised by the shortening of working hours is the opportunity to carry into bodily play the vigor that has hitherto been exhausted in the service of machines."(271)
"In The Instinct of Workmanship Veblen has indeed wondered wether the typewriter, the telephone, and the automobile, though creditable technological achievements "have not wasted more effort and substance than they have saved," whether they are not to be credited with an appreciable economic loss, because they have increased the pace and the volume of correspondence and communication and travel out of all proportion to the real need. And Mr. Bertrand Russell has noted that each improvement in locomotion has increased the area over which people are compelled to move: so that a person who would have had to spend half an hour to walk to work a century ago must still spend half an hour to reach his destination. because the contrivance that would have enabled him to save time had he remained in his original situation now - by driving him to a more distant residential area - effectually cancels out the gain."(272)
"We have multiplied the mechanical demands without multiplying in any degree our human capacities for registering and reacting intelligently to them. With the successive demands of the outside world so frequent and so imperative, without any respect to their real importance, the inner world becomes progressively meager and formless: instead of active selection there is passive absorption ending in the state happily described by Victor Branford as 'addled subjectivity'."(273)
Een tweede kenmerk is de bovenmatige nadruk op de productie van materiële goederen ('purposeless materialism' noemt Mumford dat). Welzijn wordt gezien als het hebben van materiële middelen.
"One may define this aspect of the machine as 'purposeles materialism'. Its particular defect is that it casts a shadow of reproach upon all the non-material interests and occupations of mankind: in particular, it condemns liberal esthetic and intellectual interests because 'they serve no useful purpose'."(273)
"This pervasive instrumentalism places a handicap upon vital reactions which cannot be closely tied to the machine, and it magnifies the importance of physical goods as symbols - symbols of intelli- gence and ability and far-sightedness - even as it tends to characterize their absence as a sign of stupidity and failure. And to the extent that this materialism is purposeless, it becomes final: the means are presently converted into an end. If material goods need any other justification, they have it in the fact that the effort to consume them keeps the machines running."(274)
"Many of our so·called gains in efficiency have consisted, in effect, of using power-machines to apply 758 pounds to work which could be just as efficiently accomplished by careful planning and preparation with an expenditure of 22 pounds: our illusion of superiority is based on the fact that we have had 736 pounds to waste. This fact explains some of the grotesque miscalculations and misappraisals that have been made in comparing the working efficiency of past ages with the present. Some of our technologists have committed the blunder of confusing the increased load of equipment and the increased expenditure of energy with the quantity of effective work done. But the billions of horsepower available in modern production must be balanced off against losses which are even greater than those for which Stuart Chase has made a tangible estimate in his excellent study of The Tragedy of Waste. While a net gain can probably be shown for modern civilization, it is not nearly so great as we have imagined through our habit of looking only at one side of the balance sheet."(275)
"In other words, much of our mechanical apparatus is useful in the same way that a crutch is useful when a leg is injured. Inferior to the normal functioning leg, the crutch assists its user to walk about whilst bone and tissue are being repaired. The common mistake is that of fancying that a society in which everyone is equipped with crutches is thereby more efficient than one in which the majority of people walk on two legs."(276)
"Power machines have given a sort of license to social inefficiency. This license was tolerated all the more easily because what the community as a whole lost through these misapplied energies enterprising individuals gained in profits."(276-277)
Het derde kenmerk van het mechanische denken wordt gevormd door uniformiteit, standaardizatie, vervangbaarheid. Mumford vindt dat niet in alle gevallen slecht en heeft er verder niet zo veel opmerkingen over, behalve dan dat een en ander leidt tot het verloren gaan van vaardigheden (vroeger moest je om je te scheren naar iemand die dat goed kon: de barbier; nu heeft iedereen een scheerapparaat, aldus een van Mumfords voorbeelden), wat echter wel samengaat met het toenemen van persoonlijke autonomie.
"When automatism becomes general and the benefits of mechanization are socialized, men will be back once more in the Edenlike state in which they have existed in regions of natural increment, like the South Seas: the ritual of leisure will replace the ritual of work, and work itself will become a kind of game. That is, in fact, the ideal goal of a completely mechanized and automatized system of power production: the elimination of work: the universal achievement of leisure."(279)
"Instead of reducing human beings to work-mechanisms, we can now transfer the main part of burden to automatic machines. This potentiality, still so far from effective achievement for mankind at large, is perhaps the largest justification of the mechanical developments of the last thousand years."(280)
Nog een laatste kenmerk van het mechanische denken: de machine dwingt tot collectieve inspanning op steeds meer terreinen.
"To the extent that men have escaped the control of nature they must submit to the control of society. "(280)
Voorbeelden die Mumford geeft: de verkeerslichten, de bureaucratie. Een afwijzing van die sociale controle zou betekenen dat je terugkeert naar een overgeleverd zijn aan de grillen van de natuur.
"The regularization of time, the increase in mechanical power, the multiplication of goods, the contraction of time and space, the standardization of performance and product, the transfer of skill to automata, and the increase of collective interdependence - these, then, are the chief characteristics of our machine civilization. They are the basis of the particular forms of life and modes of expression that distinguish Western Civilization, at least in degree, from the various earlier civilizations that preceded it."(281)
"The great heresy to the machine was to believe in an institution or a habit of action or a system of ideas that would lessen this service to the machines: for under capitalist direction the aim of mechanism is not to save labor but to eliminate all labor except that which can be channeled at a profit through the factory."(282)
Er werd in het ontwerp en de toepassing van machines - zoals bijvoorbeeld Kranhalls schrijft - geen aandacht geschonken aan een grondige evaluatie.
"... it is only in terms of human purpose and in relation to a human and social scheme of values that speed or brightness have any meaning."(282)
"Because the process of social evaluation was largely absent among the peopJe who developed the machine in the eighteenth and nineteenh centuries the machine raced like an engine without a governor, tending to overheat its own bearings and lower its efficiency without any compensatory gain. This left the process of evaluation to groups who remained outside the machine milieu, and who unfortunately lacked the knowledge and the understanding that would have made their criticisms more pertinent.
The important thing to bear in mind is that the failure to evaluate the machine and to integrate it in society as a whole was not due simply to defects in distributing income, to errors of management, to the greed and narrow-mindedness of the industrial leaders: it was also due to a weakness of the entire philosophy upon which the new techniques and inventions were grounded. The leaders and enter- prisers of the period believed that they had avoided the necessity for introducing values, except those which were automatically re- corded in profits and prices. They believed that the problem of justly distributing goods could be sidetracked by creating an abundance of them: that the problem of applying one's energies wisely could be cancelled out simply by multiplying them: in short, that most of the difficulties that had hitherto vexed mankind had a mathematical or mechanicaI -that is a quantative - solution. The belief that values could be dispensed with constituted the new system of values. Values, divorced from the current processes of life, remained the concern of those who reacted against the machine."(282-283)
"One is confronted, then, by the fact that the machine is ambivalent. It is both an instrument of liberation and one of repression."(285)
Meer over de voordelen aan de machine volgt later. Nu eerst dus het verzet tegen de machine. Aristocratische en Romantische reactie en utilisme kwamen tegelijkertijd op.
[Ik merk dat het vervolg me bevestigt in een bezwaar dat ik de hele tijd voel wanneer Mumford over de machine schrijft als een actief handelend fenomeen, wat hij regelmatig doet. Dan dek je toe dat de machine door sociale groepen en binnen machtsverhoudingen ingezet werd. De machine zelf stelt zichzelf geen doelen, dat doen de mensen die ze maken en inzetten. Verzet tegen 'de machine' lijkt me toch vooral een verzet tegen de mensen die de machine gebruiken om jou kapot te maken, aan de kant te schuiven. Het gaat niet per se om de machine maar om de bezits- en de machtsverhoudingen. Mumford benoemt dat allemaal wel, maar dekt het toch ook vaak toe.]
"Romanticism ill all its manifestations, from Shakespeare to William Morris, from Goethe and the Brothers Grimm to Nietzsche, from Rousseau and Chateaubriand to Hugo, was an attempt to restore the essential activities of human life to a central place in the new scheme, instead of accepting the machine as a center, and holding all its values to be final and ahsolute."(286)
[En als je dat verzet dan legt bij dit soort groepen - die natuurlijk uit de bovenlaag van de samenleving kwamen - dan ben je wel heel eenzijdig bezig. Wat voor verzet is dat vergeleken met het verzet van bijvoorbeeld de Luddieten. Het verzet van de Luddieten lijkt me toch echt belangrijker: dus van een proletariaat dat aan mensonterende omstandigheden werd onderworpen en meedogenloos onderdrukt werd door de rijke bovenlaag. Had de aristocratie dáár bezwaar tegen, schreven de Romantici dáár gedichten over? Ik denk het niet. Ik vind de uitgebreide uitwerking van deze reacties hierna dan ook overbodig.]
"The romantic movement was retrospective, walled-in, sentimental: in a word, regressive. It lessened the shock of the new order, but it was, for the greater part, a movement of escape.
But to confess this is not to say that the romantic movement was unimportant or unjustified. On the contrary, one cannot comprehend the typical dilemmas of the new civilization unless one understands the reason and the rationale of the romantic reaction against it, and sees how necessary it is to import the positive elements in the romantic attitude into the new social synthesis.(...)
The romantic reaction took many forms: and I shall consIder only the three dominant ones: the cult of history and nationalism, the cult of nature and the cult of the primitive."(287)
"The revival of these cultural languages and literatures and the stimulation of local life that has resulted from their use, must be counted as one of the most effective measures society has taken for protection against the automatic processes of machine civilization."(294)
[Nou nou nou. Dat lijkt me een vreselijke overschatting van dat nationalisme / regionalisme met alle aandacht voor de locale talen en cultuuruitingen in dat opzicht. Dat alles heeft het kapitalisme en de globalisering nooit tegen gehouden.]
"The cultivation of nature for its own sake, and the pursuit of rural modes of living and the appreciation of the rural environment became in the eighteenth century one of the chief means of escaping the counting house and the machine. "(295)
[Heel merkwaardige stukken hier. Wie van de werkers kon er nu ontsnappen, behalve misschien dan door migratie naar een ander land / gebied? En dan nog. Zoals Mumford zelf ergens aangeeft werden arbeiders in hun bewegingsvrijheid belemmert om ze niet als arbeidskrachten te verliezen. Ik denk dat het ook hier toch weer vooral gaat over de sentimenten van de rijkere bovenlaag. Weer verderop een stuk over seks en over massasport als tegenwicht / compensatie in combinatie met een voorliefde voor het primitieve: bijzonder vaag en als analyse of beschrijving gewoonweg oppervlakkig. Als er in die activiteiten enig verzet aanwezig was, vanwaar dan de duidelijke commercialisering van die activiteiten waar Mumford het zelf ook over heeft? Hoe verhoudt zich het een met het andere? Mumford legt het niet uit.]
"The retreat into the primitive is, in sum, a maudlin effort to avoid the more basic and infinitely more difficult transformation which our thinkers and leaders and doers have lacked the candor to face, the intelligence to contrive, and the will to effect - the transition beyond the historic forms of capitalism and the equally limited original forms of the machine to a life-centered economy."(303)
"The demand for circuses, and when the milder spectacles are still insufficiently life-arousing, the demand for sadistic exploits and finally for blood is characteristic of civilizations that are losing their grip: Rome under the Caesars, Mexico at the time of Montezuma, Germany under the Nazis. These forms of surrogate manliness and bravado are the surest signs of a collective impotence and a pervasive death wish. The dangerous symptoms of that ultimate decay one finds everywhere today in machine civilization under the guise of mass-sport."(303-304)
Een ander onderwerp dat Mumford aan de orde stelt is het conflict dat in een complexe samenleving onvermijdelijk zijn, vindt hij. Totale eenheid zou er alleen kunnen bestaan in een totalitaire staat. Oorlog is echter juist het tegenovergestelde:
"But war is that special form of conflict in which the aim is not to resolve the points of difference but to annihilate physically the defenders of opposing points or reduce them by force to submission. And whereas conflict is an inevitable incident in any active system of cooperation, to be welcomed just because of the salutary variations and modifications it introduces, war is plainly a specialized perversion of conflict, bequeathed perhaps by the more predatory hunting groups; and it is no more an eternal and necessary phenomenon in group life than is cannibalism or infanticide."(308)
"War sanctions the utmost exhibition of the primitive at the same time that it deifies the mechanical. In modern war, the raw primitive and the clockwork mechanical are one.
In view of its end products-the dead, the crippled, the insane, the devastated regions, the shattered resources, the moral corruption, the anti-social hates and hoodlumisms - war is the most disastrous outlet for the repressed impulses of society that has been devised. "(310)
"This destructive union of the mechanized and the savage primitive is the altemative to a mature, humanized culture capable of directing the machine to the enhancement of communal and personal life. If our life were an organic whole this split and this perversion would not be possible, for the order we have embodied in machines would be more completely exemplified in our personal life, and the primitive impulses, which we have diverted or repressed by excessive preoccupation with mechanical devices, would have natural outl.ets in their appropriate cultural forms.(...)
A society that has lost its life values will tend to make a religion of death and build up a cult around its worship - a religion not less grateful because it satisfies the mounting number of paranoiacs and sadists such a disrupted society necessarily produces."(311)
[Een tamelijk vaag en onbevredigend hoofdstuk. Mumford had het kunnen inkorten. Op een gegeven moment ratelt hij maar door.]
"... the mass of mankind learned, at least during the period of the written record, that certain parts of the environment can neither be intimidated nor cajoled. To control them, one must learn the laws of their behavior, instead of petulantly imposing one's own wishes."(321)
Met de komst van de 'neutrale' 'waardenvrije' machine verandert die benadering in een waarin verovering en beheersing van de natuur normaal gevonden wordt: de machine legt een nieuwe levensstijl op.
"While many of the boasted achievements of industrialism are merely rubbish, and while many of the goods produced by the machine are fraudulent and evanescent, its esthetic, its logic, and its factual technique remain a durable contribution: they are among man's supreme conquests."(324)
[Mumford wordt hier opnieuw erg vaag. Deels is het herhaling, deels springt hij van wetenschap naar kunst naar techniek zonder dat de lijn van argumentatie erg duidelijk wordt, als die er al is. Natuurlijk is de ontwikkeling van wetenschap en techniek ook - soms negatief dan weer positief - terug te vinden / afgebeeld in de verschillende kunsten. Natuurlijk hebben technische middelen ook een esthetische kant. Dat is een open deur. Maar hoe relevant is dat alles hier? Hij haalt er weer van alles bij. Het is toch ook een beetje opschepperig, zo van 'kijk eens wat ik allemaal weet en hoe geweldig ik ben als intellectueel'.]
"Capitalism, which along with war played such a stimulating part in the development of technics, now remains with war the chief obstacle toward its further improvement."(353)
"The Western European conceived of the machine because he wanted regularity, order, certainty, because he wished to reduce the movement of his fellows as well as the behavior of the environment to a more definite, calculable basis."(364-365)
[Dat is nu zo'n generalisatie waarmee niemand wat kan. Het dekt alle (machts-, milieu- etc) verschillen tussen mensen toe met een abstractie. Alles wordt grijs.]
"If anything was unconditionally believed in and worshipped during the last two centuries, at least by the leaders and masters of society, it was the machine; for the machine and the universe were identified, linked together as they were by the formulae of the mathematical and physical sciences; and the service of the machine was the principal manifestation of faith and religion: the main motive of human action, and the source of most human goods. Only as a religion can one explain the compulsive nature of the urge toward mechanical development wIthout regard for the actual outcome of the development in human relations themselves: even in departments where the results of mechanization were plainly disastrous, the most reasonable apologists nevertheless held that 'the machine was here to stay' - by which they meant, not that history was irreversible, but that the machine itself was unmodifiable.
Today this unquestioned faith in the machine has been severely shaken. The absolute validity of the machine has become a conditioned validity: even Spengler, who has urged the men of his generation to become engineers and men of fact, regards that career as a sort of honorable suicide and looks forward to the period when the monuments of the machine civilization will be tangled masses of rusting iron and empty concrete shells. While for those of us who are more hopeful both of man's destiny and that of the machine, the machine is no longer the paragon of progress and the final expression of our desires: it is merely a serie of instruments, which we will use in so far a they are serviceable to life at large, and which we will curtail where they infringe upon it or exist purely to support the adventitious structure of capitalism."(365)
[Dat is dus nogal optimistisch. Ik denk niet dat je voor de laatste honderd jaar kunt spreken van een afname in het geloof in technische middelen, integendeel. Ben benieuwd naar Mumfords meer pessimistische latere boeken over de technologische samenleving.]
Waarom neemt dat geloof in de machine af? Omdat de ontwikkelde vernietigingswapens in de handen van onmenselijke persoonlijkheden tot een hoop ellende hebben geleid en we nu genoeg hebben van machtshongerige mannen.
"In the development of the neutral valueless world of science, and in the advance of the adaptive, instrumental functions of the machine, we have left to the untutored egoisms of mankind the control of the gigantic powers and engines technics has conjured into existence. In advancing too swiftly and heedlessly along the line of mechanical improvement we have failed to assimilate the machine and to co-ordinate it with human capacities and human needs; and by our social backwardness and our blind confidence that problems occasioned by the machine could be solved purely by mechanical means, we have outreached ourselves. When one subtracts from the manifest blessings of the machine the entire amount of energy and mind and time and resources devoted to the preparation for war - to say nothing of the residual burden of past wars - one realizes the net gain is dismayingly small, and with the advance of still more efficient means of inflicting death is becoming steadily smaller. Our failure here is the critical instance of a common failure all along the line."(366)
[Ik denk niet dat Mumford erg blij kan zijn met wat er na de publicatie van dit boek allemaal gebeurde op dat terrein - WOII, de atoombom, de Koude Oorlog, het militair-industriële complex dat sterker is dan ooit. Ook hier dus weer optimisme dat later gelogenstraft wordt.]
Een andere reden waarom het geloof in de machine minder absoluut wordt, volgens Mumford:
"The decay of the mechanical faith has, however, still another source: namely, the realization that the serviceability of machines has meant in the past serviceability to capitalist enterprise. We are now entering a phase of dissociation between capitalism and technics; and we begin to see with Thorstein Veblen that their respective interests, so far from being identical, are often at war, and that the human gains of technics have been forfeited by perversion in the interests of a pecuniary economy."(366)
[Nou, die dissociatie is er niet van gekomen, integendeel: de relatie tussen kapitalisme en techniek is sterker dan ooit.]
"But the belief that the social dilemmas created by the machine can be solved merely by inventing more machines is today a sign of half-baked thinking which verges close to quackery. (...)
At the same time, we have now reached a point in the development of technology itself where the organic has begun to dominate the machine. Instead of simplifying the organic, to make it intelligibly mechanical, as was necessary for the great eotechnic and paleotechnic inventions, we have begun to complicate the mechanical, in order to make it more organic: therefore more effective, more harmonious with our living environment."(367)
"But one can now say definitely, as one could not fifty years ago, that there is a fresh gathering of forces on the side of life. The claims of life, once expressed solely by the Romantics and by the more archaic social groups and institutions of society, are now beginning to be represented at the very heart of technics itself. Let us trace out some of the implications of this fact."(368)
"Once the organic image takes the place of the mechanical one, one may confidently predict a slowing down of the tempo of research, the tempo of mechanical invention, and the tempo of social change, since a coherent and integrated advance must take place more slowly than a one-sided unrelated advance. Whereas the earlier mechanical world could be represented by the game of checkers, in which a similar series of moves is carried out by identical pieces, qualitatively similar, the new world must be represented by chess, a game in which each order of pieces has a different status, a different value, and a different function: a slower and more exacting game. By the same token, however, the results in technology and in society will be of a more solid nature than'those upon which paleotechnic science congratulated itself: for the truth is that every aspect of the earlier order, from the slums in which it housed its workers to the towers of abstraction in which it housed its intellectuals, was jerrybuilt - hastily clapped together for the sake of immediate profits, immediate practical success, with no regard for the wider consequences and implications. The emphasis in future must be, not upon speed and immediate practical conquest, but upon exhaustiveness, inter-relationship, and integration. The co-ordination of our technical effort - such co-ordination and adjustment as is pictured for in the physiology of the living organism - is more important than extravagant advances along special lines, and equally extravagant retardations along other lines, with a disastrous lack of balance and harmony between the various parts."(372)
[Ook erg optimistisch allemaal. Van de andere kant geeft Mumford soms een visie die voor zijn tijd bijzonder goed aanvoelt wat er moet gaan gebeuren. Zie bijvoorbeeld het pleidooi voor de ontwikkeling van allerlei alternatieve energiebronnen.]
"To increase conversion, then, is no simple matter of merely mining coal or building more dynamos. It involves the social appropriation of natural resources, the replanning of agriculture and the maximum utilization of those regions in which kinetic energy in the form of sun, wind, and running water is abundantly available. The socialization of these sources of energy is a condition of their effective and purposive use."(382)
[Hij gelooft daarbij niet in het privébezit van land. Land moet collectief bezit zijn en collectief ontwikkeld worden. Evenmin gelooft hij dat 'behoeften' de reden zijn voor al die industrialisering. Hij beschrijft hoe behoeften gecreëerd worden door diezelfde industrie om maar te kunnen blijven produceren / winst te kunnen maken / geld op te brengen voor de eigenaren.]
"The next step toward the genuine rationalization of industry lies in widening the interests and increasing the social incentives to production. On one hand, this means the reduction of trivial and degrading forms of work: it likewise means the elimination of products that have no real social use, since there is no form of cruelty for a rational human being worse than making him produce goods that have no human value: picking oakum is by comparison an edifying task. In addition, the stimulation of invention and initiative within the industrial process, the reliance upon group activity and upon intimate forms of social approval, and the transformation of work into education, and of the social opportunities of factory production into effective forms of political action - all these incentives toward a humanly controlled and effectively directed industrial production await the formulation of non-capitalist modes of enterprise. Taylorism, though it had within its technique the germ of a revolutionary change in industry, was reduced to a minor instrument in a1most every country except Russia. But it is precisely in the political and psychological relations of the worker to the industry that the most effective economies have still to be made. "(385)
"The expansion of the machine during the past two centuries was accompanied by the dogma of increasing wants. Industry was directed not merely to the multiplication of goods and to an increase in their variety: it was directed toward the multiplication of the desire for goods. We passed from an economy of need to an economy of acquisition.(...) Money became the symbol of reputable consumption in every aspect of living, from art and education to marriage and religion."(391)
"First of all: vital wants are all necessarily limited. Just as the organism itself does not continue to grow beyond the norm of its species, a norm established within relatIvely narrow limits, so neither can any particular function of life be satisfied by limitless indulgence. The body does not require more than a limited number of calories of food per day. If it functions adequately on three meals a day, it does not become three times as strong or effective on nine meals: on the contrary, it is likely to suffer from indigestion and constipation. If the intensity of amusement is tripled in a circus by the use of three rings instead of one there are few other circumstances in which this rule holds: the value of various stimuli and interests is not increased by quantitative multiplication, nor yet, beyond a certain point, by endless variety. A variety of products which perform similar functions is like omnivorousness in diet: a useful factor of safety. But this does not alter the essential fact of stability of desire and demand. A harem of a thousand wives may satisfy the vanity of an oriental monarch; but what monarch is sufficiently well endowed by nature to satisfy the harem?
Healthy activity requires restriction, monotony, repetition, as well as change, variety, and expansion. The querulous boredom of a child that possesses too many toys is endlessly repeated in the lives of the rich who, having no pecuniary limit to the expression of their desires, are unable without tremendous force of character to restrict themselves to a single channel long enough to profit by its trenching and deepening and wearing through. While the man of the twentieth century has use for instruments, like the radio and the phonograph and the telephone, which have no counterpart in other civilizations, the number of such commodities is in itself limited. No one is better off for having furniture that goes to pieces in a few years or, failing that happy means of creating a fresh demand, 'goes out of style'. No one is better dressed for having clothes so shabbily woven that they are worn out at the end of the season. On the contrary, such rapid consumption is a tax on production; and it tends to wipe out the gains the machine makes in that department."(394)
"But mark the vicious paradox of capitalist production. Although the factory system has been based on the doctrine of expanding wants and upon an expanding body of consumers, it has universally fallen short of supplying the normal wants of mankind. Horrified at the 'utopian' notion of limited and normalized wants, and proudly proclaiming on the contrary that wants are insatiable, capitalism has not come within miles of satisfying the most modest standard of normalized production."(397)
"A normalized mode of consumption is the basis of a rationalized mode of production. If one begins with production as an end in itself there is nothing within the machine system or the price system to guarantee a sufficient supply of vital goods. The capitalist economy attempted to avoid the necessity for erecting a real standard of life by relying upon the automatic operation of men's private interests, under the spell of the profit motive. All the necessary gains in production, along with a cheapening of the objects sold, were supposed to be an inevitable by-product of the business of buying cheap and selling where the demand was strongest and the supply scantest. The enlightened self-interest of individual buyers was the guarantee that the right things would be produced, in the right order, at the right time.
Lacking any standard for distributing income except on the basis of the gross labor performed and on the bare subsistence necessary to enable the worker to return each day to his job, this system never succeeded in its best days even on its own terms. The history of capitalism is the history of quantity production, over-expansion, greedy private over-capitalization on the basis of an increasing prospective income, the private appropriation of profits and dividends at the expense of the workers and the vast body of noncapitalist ultimate consumers - all followed, again and again, by a glut of unbought goods, a breakdown, bankruptcy, deflation, and the bitter starvation and depression of the working classes whose original inability to buy back the goods they had produced was always the major factor in this debacle."(400-401)
[Dat is een goede samenvatting van kritiek op het kapitalisme. Mumford neemt stevig stelling tegenover het kapitalisme op allerlei plaatsen, maar zelden zo hard als hier. Hij heeft ook een alternatief - los van je behoeften bescheiden houden, grenzen aan de groei en dergelijke:het basiscommunisme in de zin van het verschaffen van een basisinkomen. Hij waarschuwt wel voor wat hij bedoelt:]
"The classic name for such a universal system of distributing the essential means of life as described by Plato and More long before Owen and Marx - is communism, and I have retained it here. But let me emphasize that this communism is necessarily post·Marxian, for the facts and values upon which it is based are no longer the paleotechnic ones upon which Marx founded his policies and programs. Hence communism, as used here, does not imply the particular nineteenth century ideology, the messianic absolutism, and the narrowly militarist tactics to which the official communist parties usually cling, nor does it imply a slavish imitation of the political methods and social institutions of Soviet Russia, however admirable soviet courage and discipline may be."(403)
[Fair enough. Maar wat is dat basiscommunisme dan wel? Het voorzien in basisvoorzieningen in ieder geval. Werkloosheidsuitkeringen en AOW zijn daar voorbeelden van wanneer je tenminste ophoudt te spreken van 'reddingsplannen' en het ziet als een positieve en noodzakelijke voorziening binnen het economische systeem, aldus Mumford.]
"We give at least a minumum of food and shelter and medical attention to criminals who have presumably behaved against the interests of society: why then should we deny it to the lazy and the stubborn? To assume that the great mass of mankind would belong to the latter category is to forget the positive pleasures of a fuller and richer life."(404)
"Limiting rationed production and communized consumption to basic requirements, the amount of compulsory labor would be even less [dan 20 uur werk per week voor alle werkenden - GdG]. Under such provisions technological unemployment would be a boon.
Basic communism would apply to the calculable economic needs of the community. It would touch those goods and services which can be standardized, weighed, measured, or about which a statistical computation can be made. Above such a standard the desire for leisure would compete with the desire for more goods: and here fashion, caprice, irrational choice, invention, special aims, would still perhaps have a part to play: for although all these elements have been grossly over-stimulated by capitalism, a residue of them would remain and would have to be provided for in any conceivable economic system. But under a basic communism, these special wants would not operate so as to disorganize production and paralyze distribution. With regard to the basic commodities there would be complete equality of income: and as consumption became normalized, the basic processes would care, in all probability, for a larger and larger part of the community's needs. On this basis - and as far as I can see on no other basis - can our gains in production and our growing displacement of human labor be realized in benefits for society at large."(405)
Waar kunst eeuwenlang iets was van de bezittende klasse ging wetenschap in tegenovergestelde richting: het karakter van wetenschap is universeel en wetenschappelijke kennis beperkt zich daarom niet tot een bepaalde maatschappelijke elite en ontwikkelde zich in samenhang met de praktijk.
[Merkwaardig genoeg zegt Mumford in volgende alinea's al het tegendeel: in de paleotechnische fase ontstond er een kloof tussen wetenschap en arbeid. En nu is kunst ineens wel iets dichtbij het volk. Vreemd. Ook hier schiet de analyse tekort.]
"for the fact is that creative activity is finally the only important business of mankind, the chief justification and the most durable fruit of its sojourn on the planet. The essential task of all sound economic activity is to produce a state in which creation will be a common fact in all experience: in which no group will be denied, by reason of toil or deficient education, their share in the cultural life of the community, up to the limits of their personal capacity. Unless we socialize creation, unless we make production subservient to education, a mechanized system of production, however efficient, will only harden into a servile byzantine formality, enriched by bread and circuses."(410)
"Not work, not production for its own sake or for the sake of ulterior profit, but production for the sake of life and work as the normal expression of a disciplined life, are the marks of a rational economic society. Such a society brings into existence choices and possibilities that scarcely existed so long as work was considered extraneous, and profit - or terror of starvation - was the chief impetus to labor."(410)
"Once the objective of industry is diverted from profit-making, private aggrandizement, crude exploitation, the unavoidable monotonies and restrictions will take a subordinate place, for the reason that the process will be humanized as a whole. This means that compensations for the repressive elements in the industrial routine will take place by adjustments within industry itself, instead of being permitted to heap up there, and to explode disastrously and anti-socially in other parts of society. To fancy that such a non-profit system is an impossibility is to forget that for thousands of years the mass of mankind knew no other system. The new economy of needs, replacing the capitalist economy of acquisition, will put the limited corporations and communities of the old economy on a broader and more intelligently socialized basis: but at bottom it will draw upon and canalize similar impulses. Despite all its chequered features and internal contradictions, this is to date perhaps the chief promise held out by Soviet Russia."(412-413)
Mumford is voorstander van minder werkuren, gezondere werkomgevingen. Arbeid moet zinvoller worden voor de arbeider, ook al wordt er daardoor minder snel geproduceerd.
"The chief benefit the rational use of the machine promises is certainly not the elimination of work: what it promises is something quite different - the elimination of servile work or slavery: those types of work that deform the body, cramp the mind, deaden the spirit. The exploitation of machines is the alternative to that exploitation of degraded men that was practiced throughout antiquity and that was challenged on a large scale, for the first time, in the power economy evolved in the eotechnic phase.
By the completion of our machine organization, we can recover for work the inherent values which it was robbed of by the pecuniary aims and class animosities of capitalist production."(414)
[Dit alles is een goede kritiek op het kapitalisme, maar toch ook wel naïef in zijn verwachtingen over de ontwikkelingen ervan. Alles in de economie draait nog steeds om geld, winst, etc. en mensen worden daar nog steeds aan onderworpen.]
"We have now to work out the details of a new political and social order, radically different by reason of the knowledge that is already at our command from any that now exists. And to the extent that this order is the product of scientific thought and humanistic imagination, it will leave a place for irrational and instinctive and traditional elements in society which were flouted, to their own ultimate peril, by the narrow forms of rationalism that prevailed during the past century.
The transformation of the worker's status in industry can come about only through a three-fold system of control: the functional political organization of industry from within, the organization of the consumers as active and self-regulating groups, giving rational expression to collective demands, and the organizatIon of industries as units within the political framework of cooperating states."(417)
"Since the present shareholders of industry have already been dispossessed by the machinations of capitalism itself, there would be no serious jar if the system were put on a rational basis, by placing the banking functions directly under the state, and collecting capital directly out of the earnings of industry instead of permitting it to be routed in a roundabout fashion through acquisitive individuals, whose knowledge of the community's needs is empirical and unscientific and who's public interest is vitiated by private concerns - if not by outright anti-social animus. Such a change in the financial structure of our major instruments of production is a necessary prelude to humanizing the machine. Naturally, this means a revolution: whether it shall be humane or bloody, whether it shall be intelligent or brutal, whether it shall be accomplished smoothly, or with a series of violent shocks and jerks and catastrophes, depends to a large extent upon the quality of mind and the state of morals that exists among the present directors of industry and their opponents."(421)
[Wat er ook gezegd en geschreven is, het kapitalisme heeft nooit kunnen bestaan zonder de ondersteunende rol van de staat. De laissez-faire filosofie wordt altijd verdedigd als het goed gaat met de economie, nooit in tijden van crisis.]
"Rationalization, standardization, and above all, rationed production and consumption, on the scale necessary to bring up to a vital norm the consumptive level of the whole community - these things are impossible on a sufficient scale without a socialized political control of the entire process.
If such a control cannot be instituted with the cooperation and intelligent aid of the existing administrators of industry, it must be achieved by overthrowing them and displacing them. The application of new norms of consumption, as in the housing of workers, has during the last thirty years won the passive support, sometimes subsidies drawn from taxation, of the existing governments of Europe, from conservative London to communistically bent Moscow. But such communities, while they have challenged and supplemented capitalist enterprise, are merely indications of the way in which the wind is blowing. Before we can replan an reorder our entire environment, on a scale commensurate with our human needs, the moral and legal and political basis of our productive system will have to be sharply revised. Unless such a revision takes place, capitalism itself will be eliminated by internal rot: lethal struggles will take place between states seeking to save themselves by imperialist conquest, as they will take place between classes within the state, jockeying for a power which will take the form of brute force just to the extent that society's grip on the productive mechanism itself is weakened. "(422-423)
Mumford gelooft er niet in dat de machine ons in toenemende mate zal gaan domineren en dat er geen kwalitatieve verandering mogeljk is in onze omgang met het mechanische. Hij denkt datg we toegaan naar een dynamische balans van mens en machine, mens en natuur en dergelijke.
"In a word, as social life becomes mature, the social unemployment of machines will become as marked as the present technological unemployment of men. "(426)
"The passive dependence upon the machine that has characterized such large sections of the Western World in the past was in reality an abdication of life. Once we cultivate the arts of life directly, the proportion occupied by mechanical routine and by mechanical instruments will again diminish."(426)
"Like an old-fashioned menial, the arrogance of the machine grew in proportion to its master's feebleness and folly. With a change in ideals from material conquest, wealth, and power to life, culture, and expression, the machine like the menial with a new and more confident master, will fall back into its proper place: our servant, not our tyrant."(427)
[Het boek eindigt dus optimistisch van toon. Ik denk niet dat we kunnen zeggen dat Mumfords voorspellingen zijn uitgekomen. Dat het noodzakelijk zou zijn - niet 'it will' maar 'it must' zoals hij zelf aangeeft - is een andere kwestie. Normatief gezien heeft hij denk ik gelijk. Maar de samenleving is nog lang niet volwassen en het kapitalisme nog lang niet afgezworen.]