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Is it difficult to refuse your friends, your boss, your kids, your spouse — even perfect strangers? Saying “no” is rarely easy. Often, it's downright uncomfortable. Book No Further is an independent bookstore offering new fiction and books on the latest hot topics, along with like-new books for those careful about the. Browse Books by Section. Non-Fiction NEW LOCATION: Book No Further | Market St SE, Roanoke, VA | | [email protected]
If our technological civilization is to avoid falling into decay, human obsolescence in one form or another is unavoidable.
Returning to my motel room exhausted each night, I unwound by reading excerpts from an old book, Summa Technologiae. Where Aquinas argued for the certainty of a Creator, an immortal soul, and eternal salvation as based on scripture, Lem concerned himself with the uncertain future of intelligence and technology throughout the universe, guided by the tenets of modern science. To paraphrase Lem himself, the book was an investigation of the thorns of technological roses that had yet to bloom.
The Book No One Read
Most surprising of all, in subsequent conversations I confirmed my suspicions that among the masters of our technological universe gathered there in San Francisco to forge a transhuman future, very few were familiar with the book or, for that matter, with Lem. Such blindness was, perhaps, understandable. In , only fragments of Summa Technologiae had appeared in English, via partial translations undertaken independently by the literary scholar Peter Swirski and a German software developer named Frank Prengel.
These fragments were what I read in the motel. The first complete English translation, by the media researcher Joanna Zylinska, only appeared in Even now, if Lem is known at all to the vast majority of the English-speaking world, it is chiefly for his authorship of Solaris , a popular science-fiction novel that spawned two critically acclaimed film adaptations, one by Andrei Tarkovsky and another by Steven Soderbergh.
Yet to say the prolific author only wrote science fiction would be foolishly dismissive. That so much of his output can be classified as such is because so many of his intellectual wanderings took him to the outer frontiers of knowledge.
Lem was a polymath, a voracious reader who devoured not only the classic literary canon, but also a plethora of research journals, scientific periodicals, and popular books by leading researchers. His genius was in standing on the shoulders of scientific giants to distill the essence of their work, flavored with bittersweet insights and thought experiments that linked their mathematical abstractions to deep existential mysteries and the nature of the human condition.
Much of his best work entailed constructing analyses based on logic with which anyone would agree, then showing how these eminently reasonable premises lead to astonishing conclusions.
And the fundamental urtext for all of it, the wellspring from which the remainder of his output flowed, is Summa Technologiae. The core of the book is a heady mix of evolutionary biology, thermodynamics—the study of energy flowing through a system—and cybernetics, a diffuse field pioneered in the s by Norbert Wiener studying how feedback loops can automatically regulate the behavior of machines and organisms.
Considering a planetary civilization this way, Lem posits a set of feedbacks between the stability of a society and its degree of technological development. In its early stages, Lem writes, the development of technology is a self-reinforcing process that promotes homeostasis, the ability to maintain stability in the face of continual change and increasing disorder.
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More advances lead to more protection, which promotes more advances still. The result is a disconcerting paradox: To maintain control of our own fate, we must yield our agency to minds exponentially more powerful than our own. And yet, Lem argues, that same technology-driven positive feedback loop is also an Achilles heel for planetary civilizations, at least for ours here on Earth.
Past this point, our civilization should reach the end of what has been a period of exponential growth in science and technology. Attempts to simply muddle through, Lem writes, would only lead to a vicious circle of boom-and-bust economic bubbles as society meanders blindly down a random, path-dependent route of scientific discovery and technological development.
The Alphabet Book With No Pictures
Lem thus concludes that if our technological civilization is to avoid falling into decay, human obsolescence in one form or another is unavoidable. This would occur via a sophisticated plagiarism, the virtual simulation of the mindless, brute-force natural selection we see acting in biological evolution, which, Lem dryly notes, is the only technique known in the universe to construct philosophers, rather than mere philosophies.
The result is a disconcerting paradox, which Lem expresses early in the book: Does technology control humanity, or does humanity control technology?
Where are the absolute limits for our knowledge and our achievement, and will these boundaries be formed by the fundamental laws of nature or by the inherent limitations of our psyche? If given the ability to satisfy nearly any material desire, what is it that we actually would want?
He had a deep appreciation for entropy, the capacity for disorder to naturally, spontaneously arise and spread, cursing some while sparing others. Michele Borba, Ed.
Read More Testimonials. The Book of NO gives people the courage to stand up for themselves. Jody J.
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Foster, M. Joy, M.
All too often we find ourselves overworked and overstressed because we take on too much at work or at home. Ronald E.
Riggio, Ph. The good news is that Susan Newman is here to help. Using detailed examples, humor, and actionable steps, Newman helps us explore our own obstacles to setting and maintaining healthy boundaries and empowers us to put an end to personal overload.
Andy Molinsky, Ph. In this updated edition of The Book of No, social psychologist Susan Newman offers research and immensely practical tools to help us set boundaries and stop people-pleasing.
Along with each scenario are specific dialogues that demonstrate exactly what to say. So many of us struggle to skillfully set boundaries without hurting our relationships. This book is just what we need! This book will free you.
Will you read this book? It can help individuals protect their time, balance relationships, safeguard their health, create positive change, stay on course, and feel more purposeful. In The Book of NO , author Susan Newman helps people learn to say NO, illustrating this by way of short sample scenarios—addressing many authentic, sticky situations that arise with friends, family, work colleagues, forceful people, and more. Joanne Foster, Ed. Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate.
Newman considers scenarios that pop up among friends, at work, within families and in parenting. Do you think this book might be helpful to you? Subscribe and receive updates and research on parenting, family relationships, work-life issues and news you can use to make life better — straight to your inbox.
The Book of NO: See tips below.
Available from: Page navigation Little Things Long Remembered: Up Your NO-how. Tip 1 Saying no means making a conscious effort—choosing—to be in charge of your life.A lower-tech option: Look in the back of similar books to see who the author thanks in the acknowledgments. Self-publishing means publishing your book on your own, or with the help of a self-publishing platform like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or CreateSpace , which is also owned by Amazon.
Despite the concerns of his fellow books and humorous appearances made by some famous authors , Morry soon ventures off his bookshelf to discover a wider world. He longs to be read, but the other books - who fear having their spines cracked and their pages smudged with fingerprints - tell Morry he's better off staying hidden on the shelf.
Fun book! Not to mention the illustrations were so off-putting to me. When we were at the local library while on vacation, Neo was lured into beginning a summer reading challenge.
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