Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on Technologies



10 thoughts on “Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on Technologies that Limit our Autonomy, Self-Sufficiency and Freedom

  1. Avery Avery says:

    I recently read about an international survey that contrasts the self expression values of the West with the survival values of Eastern Europe and Russia especially For readers who have already become convinced by their own reading and analyses that self expression values are on their way out and survival values are going to triumph, this book is an indispensable building block for conceiving of an antifragile post Western society It attempts to approach systems which are too massive a I recently read about an international survey that contrasts the self expression values of the West with the survival values of Eastern Europe and Russia especially For readers who have already become convinced by their own reading and analyses that self expression values are on their way out and survival values are going to triumph, this book is an indispensable building block for conceiving of an antifragile post Western society It attempts to approach systems which are too massive and too invasive in Western lives for us to even start thinking about escaping, from a liberated Russian perspective I cannot call this book a classic because it is a bit conspiratorial in its thinking and is very much written for a critical time which I would roughly define by the dates 2017 2019 But if you want to know what you should be preparing for in these years, this book is the right place to get started It s worth owning


  2. F Wiseman F Wiseman says:

    The worst book I ve ever read The worst Goodreads needs a 0 option for this particular form of hell Not all book club selections are fabulous but please, let s not sink so low again


  3. Ray Foy Ray Foy says:

    Shrinking the Technosphere by Dmitry Orlov is a disturbing read, especially if you re new to collapse literature, but it is high on my Get a Clue list It shines such a light on reality that I consider it essential reading for anyone who dares to see the true workings of human affairs Its great value is in its baseline idea averring that the sum of all technologies and cultural institutions are best viewed as a living, evolved, even sentient, organismintegral entities that consist of whatShrinking the Technosphere by Dmitry Orlov is a disturbing read, especially if you re new to collapse literature, but it is high on my Get a Clue list It shines such a light on reality that I consider it essential reading for anyone who dares to see the true workings of human affairs Its great value is in its baseline idea averring that the sum of all technologies and cultural institutions are best viewed as a living, evolved, even sentient, organismintegral entities that consist of what to the human mind appears as an infinite number of parts interacting in an infinite number of ways artifacts part numbers, stock keeping units, model numbers, versions, bills of materials that have built our industrial civilization This idea is complimentary, in a dark way, to James Lovelock s idea of the earth s biosphere being seen as a single organism The Gaia Theory These two supra organisms constitute the totality of life on Earth and are, Mr Orlov says, in a death struggle In nine chapters, an Introduction, and an Afterword, Mr Orlov describes what the technosphere is, where it came from, what it does, and where it s likely going taking us with it He shows us the technosphere s pervasiveness and what it threatens basically, all life on Earth He offers some strategies for wresting control from the technosphere and describes the Great Transition that is already underway.I find the technosphere concept a useful tool for evaluating our situation It allows us to encapsulate the many components of industrial civilization into a whole that we can better comprehend That comprehension is of a Frankenstein s Monster, spawned by the Agricultural Revolution see the works of Daniel Quinn and Riane Eisler and rampaging over humanity throughout history Seeing that rampage as the work of the technosphere, keeps us from being distracted by the multitude of oppressors psychopathic rulers, moneyed oligarchs, capitalists, bankers, organized crime, organized religion, communism, militarism, the breakaway civilization, all governments, and on and on All of these are components of the technosphere nurtured by it and enabling of it Viewed this way, we can readily see, in history and in current events, the root of our problems.In Chapter Three, Mr Orlov spends some time on a couple of other thinkers who also wrote about the technosphere without naming it as such One is Jacques Ellul, who wrote The Technological Society in French over sixty years ago from a Christian viewpoint I had never heard of the man but the quotes from his book struck me as accurate descriptions of current life.The other thinker is Ted Kaczynski, the FBI declared, Unabomber While not condoning Kaczynski s violent actions, Mr Orlov finds his writings and the man apparently writes a lot from prison accurate in describing the technosphere Some may see this section as controversial or off putting, and it is tough to reconcile Still, the quotes from Kaczynski read as insightful and without offering any violent solutions he must have changed his mind later There is no condoning of Kacznyski s violence here, just a noting that some portions of his writings got it right.Chapter Seven, Social Machines, describes the state of the organizations that make up our society religion, government, business, all taking on the operating characteristics of machines and functioning to dehumanize us This chapter contains a section on psychopaths that I found especially relevant Mr Orlov is not the first commentator to note that psychopaths run things, but he explains how the technosphere selects for them And so our rulers throughout human history, from clan elders to kings to presidents, tend to be heartless and brutal Shrinking the Technosphere is a major contribution to collapse literature and a significant addition to Mr Orlov s writings In defining the technosphere, he is showing us the enemy that has matured and nearly reached its end of life That end, however, is frightful and humans must wrest control from it The suggested strategies for doing just that is the hopeful part of this book Indeed, it s the only hope humanity has, because the technosphere, Satan like, seeks to control absolutely everything.That we can escape the technosphere s fatal trap are suggested by this book s subtitle Getting a Grip on the Technologies that Limit Our Autonomy, Sell Sufficiency and Freedom The strategies Mr Orlov describes are, I think, valid, and echo what other collapse thinkers have said He adds that some kind of social glue is also helpful in the form of a common ideology or religion Getting back to our human roots, he says, will shrink the technosphere He suggests ways to do that without abandoning all of modern technology he is an engineer and IT worker and in ways that won t feed the technosphere.The subject matter of industrial civilization s history, operation, and collapse is very dark material when approached with open mind and brutal honesty That darkness is reaching the point of penetrating the bubbles of even the most distracted among us The only apparent end of it all is total destruction Mr Orlov s writings recognize this and don t usually offer much hope In Shrinking the Technosphere, he offers the only hope that is likely for humanity and for the earth, which is to make the transition from global technical complexity to local sustainability He describes that transition in his book, The Five Stages of Collapse, which I see as a companion to this one This book s last chapter, The Great Transition, is among the most hopeful and compassionate writing I ve seen from Mr Orlov, and is a fitting conclusion Shrinking the Technosphere offers a useful way of looking at our situation It is a bubble bursting view of reality that also points out some enduring life styles that, while difficult to embrace, form our best chance for survival How to put them into effect is an exercise for the reader


  4. Ben Ben says:

    A useful investigation into the idea of a sentient technosphere as a construct to understand the world as it comes through the peak of everything I felt the book suffered from a lack of concrete examples of ways to eliminate the influence of the technosphere from our lives, and would benefit from some stories from the community of smart people Dmitry Orlov has gathered around him I also found the scattered topics didn t form a cohesive approach to the central shrinking theme Each topic loosel A useful investigation into the idea of a sentient technosphere as a construct to understand the world as it comes through the peak of everything I felt the book suffered from a lack of concrete examples of ways to eliminate the influence of the technosphere from our lives, and would benefit from some stories from the community of smart people Dmitry Orlov has gathered around him I also found the scattered topics didn t form a cohesive approach to the central shrinking theme Each topic loosely tied to the idea of technosphere, but ranged from lifestyle blocks in the Siberian outback, western meddling in Russian politics via Color Revolutions and the psychopathic behaviour of modern bureaucratic organisations.Overall, I enjoyed the read Orlov has a good no nonsense voice that comes through in this book It s a good addition to the literature of Peak Everything, although not the book I would give to someone as an introduction to those ideas


  5. Brett Brett says:

    This was a very strange book, and I had a hard time finding an appropriate rating for it.Shrinking the Technosphere was an easy, enjoyable read, and I do think it is worth approaching if you are apprehensive about our society s long term resilience Orlov does a great job of summarizing the many present threats to our modern consumption driven society, and he presents this summary in an accessible manner that doesn t demand much domain knowledge from the reader Resource security, environmental This was a very strange book, and I had a hard time finding an appropriate rating for it.Shrinking the Technosphere was an easy, enjoyable read, and I do think it is worth approaching if you are apprehensive about our society s long term resilience Orlov does a great job of summarizing the many present threats to our modern consumption driven society, and he presents this summary in an accessible manner that doesn t demand much domain knowledge from the reader Resource security, environmental concerns, and social resilience all receive an appropriate level of attention, and he presents a review of potential solutions mitigations for each area of concern.To me, the most interesting part of this work was Orlov s conception of the technosphere itself as an organism I m not quite doing it justice with this short description, but Orlov s technosphere is our culture s technology driven economy based on debt, consumption, and the gradual financialization of human society I have read many prior discussions of systems as organisms, from companies to countries to the biosphere itself, but I have not yet seen such an analysis applied to the modern globalized economy This concept deserves a deeper treatment than this short book can give, and I hope to see other authors take up the challenge.Orlov s passion shines through as does his uniquely Russian sense of humor and this carries the work in many places where the material would otherwise be dry and dense Unfortunately, this same passion is his undoing in other areas Orlov has a tendency to quickly shift from reasonable exposition into overblown tirades reminiscent of the most paranoid, reactionary prepper types Some of this may be cultural, as he obviously comes from a traditionally conservative background given his tiring asides regarding appropriate gender roles and his complaints about Western degeneracy As someone who disagrees with his cultural arguments, I still found them to be mostly well reasoned, and I could understand why he was making his arguments even as I found his conclusions to be faulty Fortunately, these discussions are only a small part of the book.The biggest problem with Shrinking the Technosphere is simply focus This book is perhaps too ambitious in scope for being just over 200 pages Orlov often introduces a topic, demonstrates a few concerning points, and then moves on before exploring the topic in anydepth As a discerning reader, you get the sense that he is attempting to hand wave away any points that may contradict him, and this is a big problem In the end it weakens his own conclusions, and I came away feeling that perhaps humanity s situation though it may be precarious is not as dire as he suggests.Despite its problems, I did enjoy this book It may be meandering and haphazard, but in some ways that is part of the charm For example, Orlov dedicates much of his naturelike technologies chapter to a technical discussion of the traditional Russian Izba rural cabin and Russian oven I found this sort of digression to be an enjoyable break from the doom and gloom present in other parts of the book, and the constant bouncing from topic to topic kept me reading to the end In many ways this book is like a good B movie you can t believe that you re watching it, but you also can t bear to look away


  6. Tie Webb Tie Webb says:

    Interesting and thought provoking book.


  7. Rick Rick says:

    fascinating bat shit crazy manifesto that s a lotpro Putin and anti civil society than it is anti technology as the title would suggest.


  8. Radoje Radoje says:

    Rise up and strike a blow


  9. Carl Carl says:

    Marvelously provocative, Orlov thinks writes the unthinkable This is about the big picture of climate disruption resource depletion what to expect from worst case scenarios which may already be inevitable Orlov divides the human environment into the biosphere composed of all natural living things which supports life the technosphere which is the sum total of human invention argues that the technosphere is the enemy of the biosphere will inevitably work towards its destruction Marvelously provocative, Orlov thinks writes the unthinkable This is about the big picture of climate disruption resource depletion what to expect from worst case scenarios which may already be inevitable Orlov divides the human environment into the biosphere composed of all natural living things which supports life the technosphere which is the sum total of human invention argues that the technosphere is the enemy of the biosphere will inevitably work towards its destruction There is much in the book which is frightening distasteful yet I recommend it highly consider it essential


  10. Jason Gordon Jason Gordon says:

    Pending


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Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on Technologies that Limit our Autonomy, Self-Sufficiency and Freedom [Reading] ➬ Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on Technologies that Limit our Autonomy, Self-Sufficiency and Freedom ➳ Dmitry Orlov – Thomashillier.co.uk Over the past two centuries we have witnessed a wholesale replacement of most of the previous methods of conducting both business and daily life with new, technologically advanced, efficient methodsWh Over the past two Technosphere: Getting eBook ↠ centuries we have witnessed a wholesale replacement of most of the previous Shrinking the PDF or methods of conducting both business and daily life with new, technologically advanced, efficient methodsWhat exactly is progressive the Technosphere: Getting PDF/EPUB ç or efficient about this new arrangement is hardly ever examined in depth if the new ways of doing things are so much better, then we must all be leading relaxed, stress free, enjoyable lives with plenty of free time to devote to art and leisure activities But a careful look at these changes shows us that many of these advances are not weighing favourably in a harm benefit comparison The harm to the environment, society, and even to our own personalities, on an individual level, is plain to see, but is brushed off with hollow claims about efficiency and progressShrinking the Technosphere guides readers through the process of bringing technology down to a manageable number of carefully chosen, essential, well understood and controllable elements It is about regaining the freedom to use technology for our own benefit, and is critical reading for all who seek to get back to a point where technologies assist us rather than control usDmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad, USSR, and emigrated to the United States in the mid s He holds degrees in Computer Engineering and Linguistics, and has worked in a variety of fields, including high energy physics, Internet commerce, network security and advertising He is the author of several previous books, including Reinventing Collapse and The Five Stages of Collapse.