1. Some years ago I watched amazing documentary by Adam Curtis called The Century of Self. Nephew of Sigmund Freud - Edward Bernays - was a villain in that documentary. I’ve got chills when I saw him talking about propaganda and marketing.

    This year I decided to read Bernays’ book and I must say that I was very suprised. After reading his own words - he doesn’t seem to be this evil person who “made women smoke.”

    He seemed smart, ahead of his time, had concerns about misuse of propaganda/PR/marketing. But he said that there is no guarantee against misuse. And it makes sense to me as technologist. It is exactly the same with technology - can be used for good or for bad.

    Edward Bernays
  2. Manifest of humanity for humanity from Neil Postman. He shares his few big with ideas us.

    The first one is the idea of introspection and reflection; that is the idea of being mindful when evaluating life, decisions, tools, words, behaviors of ours and others.

    The second idea is the idea of finding the new narrative; that is a meta-purpose to our lives and the existence of humankind. He hints that idea of continuity of human race, which can be achieved through understanding of oneness between not only human beings but between humans and Nature, may be the answer. Idea of continuity should transcend one’s life (everyone should become \“smaller\“) and time (we should be fill continuity with the greats of the past and future).

    The third big idea is the idea of importance of history. Postman demonstrates by example how history might have not only origins for our problems but also ideas how to solve them. History is a tool that scales down time, that is making us smaller, and allows us to see bigger picture and have bigger ideas.

    The fourth big idea and hope from Postman is to show us that we can change things. He shows that ideas were created and implemented by real people. He suggest that we shouldn’t blindly follow the flow of history, because there is no such flow. We should alter it (at the capacities available to humans) based on the values and idea we believe in.

    The final idea is the idea of choosing correct tools and frameworks. He suggest Scientific method to us. In his book he tries to provide us with good tools that help us evaluate everything else. Neil Postman’s book is a work of ultimate importance in the post-modern world. The absence of the Narrative, forgetfulness of smaller good ideas and lost of ideals causing some lack of belief in the bright future. Postman, as a true philosophe, tries to use his intellect, following the tradition of Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke, Hume, Jefferson, and others, to give us practical examples how we can change things for the better.

    Neil Postman
  3. We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares. But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another—slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
    Neil Postman