The first step in creating this new analysis was taken by Willem H. Vanderburg in 1985 with his pioneering work The Growth of Minds and Cultures. In this book, the first of a multi-volume series that includes Our Battle for the Human Spirit (2016), Vanderburg shows how the culture of a society underlies its science, technology, economy, social structure, political institutions, morality, religion, and art. As such, he seeks to build bridges not only between the ‘two cultures’ but between all the sciences in order to gain a deeper understanding of our age. This expanded second edition makes the author’s ground-breaking analysis available to a generation of digital natives.
Further symbolization of the human community and its relation to nature led to the possibility of creating societies and civilizations. Everything changed as these interposed themselves between the group and nature. Homo societas created ways of life able to give meaning, direction, and purpose to many groups by means of very different cultures: humanity's second megaproject.
What Das Kapital did for the nineteenth century and La technique did for the twentieth, Willem H. Vanderburg's Living in the Labyrinth of Technology seeks to create for the twenty-first century: an attempt at understanding the world in a manner not shackled to overspecialized scientific knowing and technical doing. Western civilization may well be creating humanity's third megaproject, based not on symbolization for making sense of and living in the world, but on highly specialized desymbolized knowing stripped of all peripheral understanding.
Vanderburg focuses on two interdependent forces in his narrative, namely, people changing technology and technology changing people. The latter aspect, although rarely considered, turns out to be the more critical one for understanding the spectacular successes and failures of contemporary ways of life. As technology continues to change the social and physical world, the experiences of this world 'grow' people's minds and society's cultures, thereby re-creating human life in the image of technology. Living in the Labyrinth of Technology argues that the twenty-first century will be dominated by this pattern unless society intervenes on human (as opposed to technical) terms.
Following his groundbreaking Labyrinth of Technology and Living in the Labyrinth of Technology, Willem H. Vanderburg's Our War on Ourselves explores the type of war we have unleashed on our lives by emphasizing discipline-based processes. The work also illuminates how we can achieve a more balanced, livable, and sustainable future by combining technical and cultural perspectives in our educational and institutional settings.
In this volume he exposes the limitations of conventional approaches in these fields. Modern societies urgently need to rethink the intellectual division of labour in science and technology and the corresponding organization of the university, corporation, and government in order to get out of a self-destructive pattern where problems are first created by some than then dealt with by others, making it almost impossible to get to the roots of anything. The result is what he calls the labyrinth of technology, a growing patchwork of compensations that merely displace and transform problems from one place to another. The author's diagnosis suggests the remedy: a new, preventive strategy that situates technological and economic growth in its human, societal, and biospheric contexts, and calls for a synthesis of methods in engineering, management, and public policy, and of approaches in the social sciences and humanities. He also suggests that this same synthesis can be applied in medicine, law, social work, and other professions.
The Labyrinth of Technology is a unique and invaluable text for students, academics and laypersons in all disciplines, and speaks to those who are torn between the benefits that modern technology provides and the difficulties it creates in our individual and collective lives.