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Book Critique of "In the Absence of the Sacred"

EssayChat / May 23, 2018

Jerry Mander's book "In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations" gives his point of view about technology. The focus of this writing concerns television, radio, and print. Jerry shares that television is a training mechanism for some perceptive yet all-encompassing forms of social control.

Sacred Book CritiqueAs an example, information gained from research disclosed that even in the absence of chemical evidence of addiction, people spent hours in front of the television appearing to be "mesmerized" with children appearing to be in a "zombie" state while watching television (Mander, 1992 p.80). A deeper study by scientists concerning brain-wave activity revealed that the longer an individual watches television, the greater the possibility of the brain slipping into "alpha" level which is a slow and steady brain-wave pattern with the mind being in the most receptive mode (Mander, 1992 p.80). It appears that this film imagery is very refined and detailed as the richer the detail, the better the image causing the viewer to become more involved in what is being watched.

When viewing the subject of technology, Mander shares that Americans have celebrated all new forms of technology and see technology as being intrinsically innocent of causing any potential for harm. But the author believes that technology should be examined with somewhat more concern. When viewing radio, it stimulates the imagination very similar to a person reading a book. The announcer describes something with the listener visualizing what has been spoken. Radio suppresses alpha while watching television allows an individual's image-making process to go dormant.

Another media of interest is print which is the most engaging and participatory of any media. There is no inherent time limitation with books and newspapers as these sources offer complex detail and background than other visual mediums. Gathering information from reading print is an active versus passive process. The author shares that if television viewing could be compared to a drug experience, it would be speed versus valium.

Research performed by the Australian National University exposed that as television became popular in Australia, there was a corresponding increase in hyperactivity among children. Further research discovered that the parents of hyperactive children usually allow their children to watch television so that the children could be calmer. The opposite effect was the final results (Mander, 1992, p.83). Educators have shared that young people are unable to maintain attention becoming bored while being taught one subject. In the classroom, children respond to constant change with the teacher performing rather than teaching to deliver the material. When viewing the subject of reading, very few young people are patient enough to get through a reading of The Hunchback of Notre Dame because the events move slowly with detail versus the continual explosive content that can be seen on television (Mander, 1992, p.86). The information delivered on the subject of television, radio, and print reveals the effects of this platform on people over the long term.


Mander, J. (1992). In the absence of the sacred (pp. 80-95). San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.

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