McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
archetypal, hermeneutic, metabletic, mythological, technology
There are few phenomena in contemporary culture that are more dynamic and impactful than technology. That said the understanding of technology held by most therapists is overly simple or, at best, based on one-dimensional critiques of technological life. The present study endeavors to build a broader understanding of technology that allows for both a robust critique and a more accepting recognition of its potential contributions. The present study explores the archetypally invariant structure of technology as well as the more culturally and historically contingent elements of several of its historically specific expressions. It engages this material through a series of three exceptional artistic works: Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, and Ronald Moore's Battlestar Galactica. Furthermore, in order to broaden the exploration, the present work takes as a forestructure the late work of philosopher Martin Heidegger, the Freudian-Marxist and aesthetic sensibilities of Herbert Marcuse, and the metabletic analysis of psychologist Robert Romanyshyn. By bringing the thinking of these three into the analysis, the work claims a breadth that exceeds a simple literary analysis.
Each of the literary sources of this work represents concerns about technology as well as its ongoing promise. For instance, the myth of Prometheus as it is represented in Prometheus Bound reflects technology as a force that supports humankind in an ongoing struggle against the harshness of the world as well as the need to maintain sensitivity to the broader natural world to engage in the full range of human possibilities. In contrast, Frankenstein struggles explicitly with the issues of control and a modernistic agenda of narcissistic control over the natural world. Finally, Battlestar Galactica captures a postmodern world and attends in particular to issues of fluid identity, plurivocality, and the integration of difference. Common areas of concern, including the place of hope, the role of community, the narcissistic structure of technology, and the relationship to figures of the maternal and the feminine are key to each piece of literature and reflect archetypal dimensions of the phenomenon. In contrast, the specific content and attitude reflected in each work varies, showing the gradual progress of technology from its balanced position with respect to broader meanings in the Ancient world, toward a program of command and control in the Modern milieu and finally toward a recognition and integration of multiplicity and aesthetic richness in the post-modern context.
Blais, W. (2009). A Hermeneutic Exploration of the Literature of Technology: Prometheus Bound, Frankenstein and Battlestar Galactica (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/327