Anyone familiar with my thought will notice one thing: my insistence that individuals, in the modern sense, no longer exist. They are no longer needed or wanted and, as the nice people that they were, they obliged by disappearing.
I am now studying John Dewey, who lived from 1859 – 1952 – the period when all this happened. His influence on educational theory (progressive education) was still strong in the Fifties – but has since vanished. Progressive is now considered a dirty word – and honest progressive thinkers now recognize it has been a failure. It tried to save the world – but the world rejected it. This included a rejection of critical thinking:
Philosophy is inherently criticism, having its distinct position among various modes of criticism in its generality; a criticism of criticism, as it were. Criticism is discriminating judgment, careful appraisal, and judgment is appropriately termed criticism wherever the subject-matter of discrimination concerns goods or values.
I want to pick one key phrase from the above passage: he lumps goods or values together – something Dewey himself did not notice – and something, from the vantage point of fifty years of extremely rapid change – the equivalent of centuries of ordinary change – we can now appreciate.
Put in different words: the goods (the technologies) we embrace become us. For example, our society (which is us) has merged with the automobile – and the TV, the computer, and the Internet.
And it has done this unconsciously, now that critical thinking has been banished to the outer darkness.