ERIC Number: ED262893
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Plus Ca Change: The High-Tech Child in Historical Perspective.
The perennial issues of which historians remind us are issues of pressure - those we experience as adults and those we put on our children. The recurrent ambivalences concern progress. Every generation imagines itself the first to be forced to confront the pellmell pace of modern life. History is nothing if not a study in unintended consequences. And developmental psychology is finally accumulating a sufficient store of longitudinal studies to enable psychologists to come to a comparable skepticism about linear continuity of character. Never forged in accordance with deterministic developmental laws, character is always subject to the vagaries of temperament, interpretation, and the exigencies of the historical and cultural moment. Psychologists, who see subjects predominantly at a single historical moment in a single culture, sometimes overlook such vagaries. Historians cannot do so. One of the best accounts of the persisting anxieties and perplexities of parents across the past few centuries in the West is a book ("Technics and Civilization," by Lewis Mumford) which traces the emergence in the modern West of mechanistic conceptions of nature and of man. It is that mechanization of our ideas of our world and ourselves to which we owe our perennial impasse. Nowhere more than in America, we are believers in the machine. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Please Touch Museum Symposium (Philadelphia, PA, October 25-26, 1985).