Technology


It is a very busy world out there in which we live in. With so many different things to do and different paths to go on, it is often overwhelming to pick and choose what to experience. Technology brings more to our doorsteps then can be imagined and pop culture is changing every day. But we have choices, right? Horkheimer and Adorno charge that we in fact do not and the effects of the culture-driven industry are more damaging than we think. Through fragmentation, dependence on technology, alienation, and a loss of individuality, each of us lives a set of conditions molded by the cultural industry we live in.


With the lack of a central value system, our culture has become fragmented. The assembly line mentality of Fordism has shifted the focus of importance from society to the machine. The culture emphasizes the buy mentality rather than values like decency and respect. Even on campus we are bombarded with sales pitches such as the recent Flex dollar campaign, "Buy More, Buy Now, Buy Fast." As the end of the year rolls around, the marketing department would like to remind you that you still have Flex dollars to burn and that you don\'t want those dollars to go to waste. Such a spending focused society obviously will lose sight on values that are important to us.


Ever since the industrial revolution, culture has become more and more dependent on the machine. With the rise of technology, society has increasingly grown dependent on technology for producing and experiencing life. Television, radio, movies, music, and internet influence and determine how we experience life. If you miss last night\'s episode of Friends you find it difficult to participate in today\'s lunch conversation, banking is done with one simple click of the mouse, and did you hear Britney\'s new single? These elements define who we are and restrict who we can be. The pre-packaged culture technology offers us is tempting. It allows a common thread to bond perfect strangers (i.e. a discussion over a television show or a pop star) but it also strips us of our control over our lives and limits our options, running our lives.


With the control of technology looming over our heads, we become alienated from the culture in which we participate. Society determines our work life, when we leisure and enjoy life, and how we go about that leisure. The consumption society that exists tells you what products to purchase, even when they tell you to choose what you want as with Sprite\'s slogan, "Obey your thirst." The standardization of products, pre-interpretation and pre-packaging, disconnects the consumer from humanity. There are not unique elements to the culture you live in when the mass production mentality takes over.


With fragmentation, dependence on technology, and alienation, a loss of individuality occurs. Instead of buying items because of their value or uniqueness, we\'re driven to buy things because they\'re "new," "hip," and "cool." We then become the same as everyone else, cookie-cut out of pre-cooked dough, and we lose our individuality; what makes us unique in ourselves. The culture becomes run by a machine and we become nameless, faceless, and identified by a number.


Fragmentation, dependence on technology, alienation, and loss of individuality are Horkheimer and Adorno\'s claims about the effects of the cultural industry. Through these culture loses its identity and is driven by the dollar. Individuals in such a society are told what to like, buy, eat, and do in every day culture.