Metaphor as Technology


Assignment 1

Paragraph 1: In "The Ponds" chapter of Walden, Thoreau says that all the train's engineers and passengers are "better off for the sight" -- the short glimpse they get of Walden pond. For what, then, is "Walden" a symbol or metaphor? What do humans need that technology is not giving them?

Paragraphs 2: Reread these excerpts from Walden. Why might it be better to walk somewhere rather than working one day and taking the train? (Answer that question a second time, but this time, do not imagine yourself walking through the woods but rather through a bleak urban landscape.)

Paragraph 3: Would anyone nowadays ever seriously compute how much time it would take to walk somewhere in contrast to the cost of a plane ticket? If so, who? Do you think that is a good question to ask oneself or a bad one?


Assignment 2

Paragraph 1: According to Socrates, how does writing hurt human beings? That is, for him, what good are we deprived of if we become a writing culture? Would Goody agree with Socrates? Why or why not?

Paragraph 2: How must you redefine the word "technology" if, like Goody, you see writing as a technology? (You'll need to expand the dictionary definition!) Do you agree that the definition of "technology" should be expanded to include writing and/or other means for thinking, or do you see new technologies as new gadgets only? Can you imagine a circumstance, perhaps when you are thinking through a problem or trying to decide what road to take in your life, that might make you want to rely upon this expanded definition?