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Pleasure on Demand
We've come to take for granted convenient forms of technology, like the remote control, cell phones, TiVo, and iPods, that give us easy access to people, information, and entertainment. Now we're learning that these devices may have actually changed our consciousness as profoundly as if they were magic wands.
Writing in the fall The New Atlantis, a journal that examines technology's effects on society, senior editor and historian Christine Rosen reviews how these devices have altered our egos, attention spans, critical thinking, social discourse, and appreciation of art. Citing the work of psychologists, art critics, sociologists, and social philosophers, Rosen describes how seductively technological innovations can lead us toward pleasure addiction, entrenched biases, and crippled aesthetic sensibility.
Rosen says the wayward journey began with the remote control and the fact that "it's light, easily manipulated with one hand, and responds to any immediate whim with the merest physical effort." The remote trains us all to expect our pleasure on demand.