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portions of the book), statements that in no way are derived from the careful methodology used elsewhere in the book, that I left the book with some doubts. The author argues persuasively that some of the methods of literary and poetic analysis can, and should, be applied in an aesthetic criticism of technology, that, in fact, it can be helpful to view technological artifacts as cultural products equivalent to literary texts or artistic works. However, before one could trust the conclusion of this criticism, a much clearer view of the author's underlying aesthetic stance is needed. The author states that "to be human, in the present context , is to live creativelv, and living creatively can be described as the process of making something, not merely consuming it." Perhaps. Perhaps not. Contemporary technology and social realities are redefining what it is to be human and what humans value. Animals and plants are 'acquiring ' rights from human society that are in many ways equivalent to those that society began to confer on individuals several centuries ago. Cencric engineering, modern medicine and computer technologies arc making humanness malleable in ways that were unthinkable decades ago. I would argue that malaise is a healthy response to such rapid change, but that this malaise in itself does not necessarily argue that the change itself is undesirable. or untrue or unbeautiful . The development of a contemporarv aesthetics that is coherent with the modern world is sorclv needed. Onlv with a fullv developed aesthetic t heorv can the techniques advocated bv Choe lead us to a consistent aesthetic criticism of technology. RESPONSE TO REVIEW OF TOWARD AN AESTHETIC CRITICISM OF TECHNOLOGY Comment by Wolhpp Choe, Humanities Department, Polvtrrh nir l 'niuersit». )J, [a» Street, Brookl» II , NY 11201, llS.A. I lind Roger Malina's review of my book Toward all Aesthetic Criticism of TfrhT/ol0f!:Y to be kind and just on the whole, and I respond in an appreciative spirit to his 'doubts' about my concluding remarks in his call for a "contemporary aesthetics that is coherent with the modern world". I will coniine rnv remarks to two 96 (:UITCllt Liu-r.nurcconcepts , change and rreatioit», which relate to Malina's doubts discussed in the following statements in his review: ( I) "I would argue that malaise is a healthy response to such rapid change, but that this malaise in itself does not necessarily argue that the change itself is undesirable, or untrue or unbeautiful"; (2) "Perhaps. Perhaps not" to mv argument that to be human is to survive creatively. Nowhere does mv book suggest that change is undesirable, let alone 'untrue' or 'unbeautiful'. Quite the contrary, it argues that change characterizes humanity's creativity. (;oing beyond Malina's implied support for change quoted above, my book describes how perceptual. structural and social changes occur in the act of making; it describes how the maker selects limns of cultural artifacts and transforms them into a new artifact. The operative definition of crcativitv presented in mv book focuses on the human act that 'consuuctivelv' changes the acting self and its world. The word 'constructive' refers to making » structure (a cultural artifact) with something. And that something has a structure and meaning also evolve-d culturallv. Furthermore, the act of making implies selectivity in matter and manner. The making self discovers a fact about the world and makes it part of itself and its world. The book proposes that techuolo ~' be apprehended in this fundamentally constructive sense, rather than politically or ideologically, so one can appreciate its creative potential and ronstrurt its future. The present social and political arrangements of technolo~' are, on the whole, blind to the necessity of a rtmstrurtiue future. One element without which aesthetic thinking becomes nonacsthetic is the perceiver. How one conceives the perceiver largelv determines the shape of an aesthetic thcorv, The springboard for the aesthetic self in my book is the self rooted in the romantic tradition. In the American soil, this becomes a ·genius·. or 'Man Thinking', as Emerson defines the American scholar, skeptical about collective wisdom untested on the self. The aesthetic self, evolved from the ninetecnth-centurv European romantic self and American transcendental ego, may be to...


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pp. 96-97
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