Monthly Archives: July 2009

Relatia masina/om in intelepciunea chineza

Un mic text despre relatia masina-om, scris in secolul al IV-lea i.Cr. de catre Inteleptul chinez Zhuangzi.

N.B. Structurarea/sublinierile imi apartin.

As Tzu-Gung was traveling through the regions north of the river Han, he saw an old man working in his vegetable garden.  He had dug an irrigation ditch. The man would descend into a well, fetch up a vessel of water in his arms and pour it out into the ditch. While his efforts were tremendous  the results appeared to be very meager.Tzu-Gung said: There is a way whereby you can irrigate a hundred ditches in one day, and whereby you can do  much with little effort. Would you not like to hear of it? Then the gardener stood up, looked at him and said: And what would that be? Tzu-Gung  replied: You take a wooden lever, weighted at the back and light in front. In this way you can bring up water so quickly that it just gushes out.  This is called a draw-well. Then anger rose up in the old man’s face and he said: I have heard my teacher say that:

– whoever uses machines does all his work like a machine

– he who does his work like a machine grows a heart like a machine

– who carries the heart of a machine in his breast loses his simplicity

– who has lost his simplicity becomes unsure in the strivings of his soul

– uncertainty in the strivings of the soul is something which does not agree with honest sense.

It is not that I do not know of such things; I am ashamed to use them.

Bun. Acum, asa dupa cum stiti, eu sunt mai sceptic de felul meu (si tare nu-mi place uneori). Adica inghit cam greu chestiile filosofico-religios-misticoide. Am nevoie de argumente clare, rationale pentru orice. Ma intreb:  nu este roata olarului una dintre cele mai vechi inventii umane – cu prezenta atestata in China preistorica? Este. In povestioara se spune ca gradinarul buclucas cara apa cu un vas. Vasul – si cam stim cum arata vasele antice chinezesti, nu-i asa? – a fost facut la roata, asadar la un dispozitiv mecanic. Santul cu pricina nu a fost nici el sapat cu mainile – presupun. Asadar, omul a folosit tehnologie pentru a-si usura munca si imbunatati calitatea uneltelor. Putea foarte bine sa sape cu mainile si sa care apa in gura. Daca insa ar fi facut asa, respectiva pilda nu ar mai fi existat. Surpriza: la un moment dat se opreste. Nu vrea sa mearga mai departe cu tehnica. Cand Tzu-Gung il sfatuieste cum sa-si construiasca o fantana cu cumpana, gradinarul il repede furios si, mai mult, ii ofera Inteleptului itinerant 5 argumente impotriva avansului tehnologic.

Ce am inteles eu din fragmentul de mai sus: gradinarul (probabil) mai intelept decat Tzu-Gung insusi, nu era impotriva tehnologiei in sine (el insusi a folosit-o), ci impotriva incapacitatii de a te opri la un moment dat. Sa fi intuit el cumva consecintele ultime ale unei biete fantani cu cumpana: moara, motorul, irigatiile computerizate, plantele modificate genetic etc?

…si spuneam: este totusi posibil sa spui STOP inventivitatii si “progresului” tehnologic? Aceasta nu inseamna sa pui, in fond, STOP, creativitatii mintii umane si sa transformi lumea intr-un univers al infinitei teorii si masturbari mintale pe chestiuni de terminologie abstracta filosofic-religios-ideologic-politica? Intr-o lume in care nimic niciodata nu s-ar putea materializa, ci totul ar fi speculatie pura. Care este relatia intre simplitatea spirituala si complexitatea tehnologica (vezi si sentimentul rusinii si, de aici, al vinovatiei, care il incerca pe gradinar)? Exista oare, intr-adevar, una?! Caci, cand gradinarul s-a referit la heart like a machine, m-am gandit instant la pacemaker-e… si la pacea nevinovata a inimii.

Vechea povestioara chineza a fost preluata din Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964.

O scurta prezentare a cartii, aici.

[2012 edit: nu mai sunt de acord cu analizele mele aici.]


Matematicianul american Joshua Sasmor scria ca perhaps one day the tools will be better than us – but we won’t be _able_ to know, only the tools will

  • James M. Curtis, Marshall McLuhan and French Structuralism, in boundary 2, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Autumn, 1972), pp. 134-146
  • Wilfred Watson, Marshall McLuhan and Multi-Consciousness: The Place Marie Dialogues, in boundary 2, Vol. 3, No. 1, A Canadian Issue (Autumn, 1974), pp. 197-212.
  • Adrienne McLean, Media Effects: Marshall McLuhan, Television Culture, and “The X-Files”, in Film Quarterly, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Summer, 1998), pp. 2-11.
  • Jennifer Wicke, Reading Modernism, After Hugh Kenner (1923–2003). Hugh Kenner’s Pound of Flesh, in Modernism/modernity, Volume 12, Number 3, September 2005, pp. 493-497.
  • Susan Douglas, The Turn Within: The Irony of Technology in a Globalized World, in American Quarterly, Volume 58, Number 3, September 2006, pp. 619-638.

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Lea Redmond is the Postmaster, setting up her tiny mobile office in cafes and shops where passers-by can write a letter and have it turned into a “world’s smallest letter.” The letter is transcribed on a miniature desk in the tiniest of script, sealed with a miniscule wax seal with the sender’s intial pressed into it, packaged up with a magnifying glass in a glassine envelope, and finished off with a large wax seal.