IN THE ABSENCE OF THE SACRED by Jerry Mander

IN THE ABSENCE OF THE SACRED

The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A heartfelt plea to rethink the industrial world's alleged headlong rush to oblivion through its mad pursuit of technology. Mander, who conducts ad campaigns for nonprofit groups, expands greatly here on ideas he discussed in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978). Through clever manipulation of product images and relentless promotion of best-case scenarios, Mander says, Americans have been sold a bill of goods by corporate, government, and academic boosters of new technologies. Evidence of this pattern surfaces in several predominant technologies--computers, TV, genetic and molecular engineering--and in each case a negative side exists to blacken industry's rosy view. Provocatively claiming that society would be better off without computers of any kind, since they benefit the military and a Big Brother mentality far more than they meet individual needs, Mander argues that serious consideration of age-old native attitudes toward life and economics is the only viable cure for the cancer of megatechnology. Details of recent battles between corporate and native interests in Alaska, Nevada, Hopiland, Hawaii, and elsewhere--in which the author played an active part--make the point that the spiritual and social values of these native peoples continue to be attacked even as their perspective becomes more desperately needed. To critics who accuse him of romanticism, Mander counters: ``What is romantic is to believe that technological evolution will ever live up to its own advertising, or that technology itself can liberate us from the problems it has created.'' Wide-ranging and impassioned--an important reminder as the 500th anniversary of Columbus's ``discovery'' approaches that native traditions still live, and that they may be the last defense against rampant corporate greed.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-87156-739-3
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1991