Mark Twain's Opinion on Technology and Science
Mark Twain's: Connecticut Yankee
Mark Twain uses the modern Yankee to reveal to the readers the underlying need of the material form of the world. Yankee may seem like a modern man aiming to make himself comfortable in Arthurian England, but his commitment to his projects and his souls trajectory course depict his hope to overcome his mortal coil through initial political and technology subjects (Guttmans, 235). The evolution of Yankees psychology teaches the readers the characteristic of the modern project including the fundamental hopes and likelihood of risky excesses. Twain does not ultimately support the arguments of the Arthurians and tries to prove that the explicit claim does not lead to satisfaction of peoples desire for non-instrumental goods.
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His literature promises go beyond political actions, for example, causes of their actions include motivations derived from their opinions and political actions (Everett, 418). Political science tries to give hypothesis for the political motivations, though the literature gives information about the real life experiences (McWilliams, 336). Political science is quite shallow in terms of information delivery. According to Raymond Aron and Eric Voegelin, the twentieth centurys massive violence was triggered by the inverted Christian impulse that the modern philosophy and politics are based upon. Notably, Christian impulse emphasized on the salvation in the next world and its inverted form used worldly actualization to define importance of righteousness. However, it is difficult to understand the truth of the new worldly salvation unless analyzed from the inside bearing in mind that this salvation existed in the modern man, for example, Yankee, Hank Morgan. The novel written by Twain depicts almost the same underlying motivation like that of the Aron and Voegelin modern project document, but does it in a way modern leaders can easily see Yankees hopes through experience and vision (Everett, 420).
Examination of hopes triggers Yankees politics attempts to reveal paradoxical characters in the modern political project. According to the presentation made by Twain on the Yankee, it is evident that the modern project aims to only accomplish worldly comforts that make human beings contented with world thus undermining the targeted comfort (McWilliams, 335). Therefore Twains art tries to show the futility of the material comfort in the world described as clothing by the Yankee (Strauss, 187). Therefore, there is a room for comfortable cloths in the Yankee.
The literary works of Twain have provided the basis for study although his contribution to the contemporary political philosophy is not normally appreciated. Some of the most prominent literary works include And in Its Wake We Followed: The Political Wisdom of Mark Twa,in, by Catherine and Michael Zuckert, etc. This paper differs from the above studies since it focuses on the Twains treatment of piety and divine right issue. The work of Catherine and Michael proved to be of importance since it summarizes the entire novel thus inspiring many others.
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Yankee aimed his project at transforming the Arthurian world into approximately the nineteenth century technological world thus controlling the material world he intended to create. However, the underlying hope presented by Twain has been viewed by other scholars as a source of his inconsistency. In this case, the scholars view Twain as a man who is purely materialistic trying to maximize his bodily comfort through the everlasting protection promise gained from participation in immortality and production of a new body (Hello-Central, his daughter).
Although it might seem like Yankee embraces the alternative position from the entire novel entitled, fervent Christianity of the Arthurian, the facts depict that his subconscious longings, which contain self-mastery and sufficiency, are not embraced by Yankee without special consideration (McWilliams, 337). The modern Yankee materialism ignores the soul and focuses only on the body while the Arthurian religion does completely the opposite. Yankee prefers to be religious as the focus on the body fails to satisfy his soul, thus, he ignores the bodily urges, for example, sex.
Twain does not emphasize on the fact that spiritual and bodily oppose each other, thus people eliminate ignorance of strange mix of the soul and mortal body and concentrate on setting themselves free from hopes created by strange conditions. The right technical and spiritual approach can be used to satisfy the body and the soul. These are normal conditions in a human being and he should learn to live with them. Awareness of the hopes formed by peoples needs helps them achieve sober wisdom which is characterized by political moderation and self-understanding.
The scholarly efforts of the last century presented the novel as either a revised version of American beliefs of the problems associated with science and technological advancement or satire of medieval chivalry. The novel supports both arguments. Twain tried to show the modern worlds superiority to earlier ages. Twains literally work was not changed much despite his fluctuating economic situation.
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Twain introduces a public opinion in the preface: he is a confident believer in the progress which contradicts ungentle laws and customs depicted in the historical Arthurian England following Americas achievements in the nineteenth-century (Lustig, 342). He expresses satisfaction in the historical progress whatever one of these laws or customs was lacking in that remote time, its place was competently filled by a worse one.
Being guidied in the choice of leaders in America, bearing that these leaders have some weaknesses in terms of their morals, is ironical. He intentionally includes this irony in the novel to mock the modern leaders who see him as a joker contrary to his seriousness in the divine right. He argues that beliefs in divine right and progress are just but beliefs. Relating belief in God and belief in the inevitable progress helps Twain protect the divine right by proving that the divine right is unquestionable because they cannot also question their beliefs in progress ((Lustig, 340). This comparison also addresses the Christian beliefs of God selecting a leader who is perfect and possessing extraordinary abilities and clarifies that the leaders are not meant to enable human souls triumph over the bodies.
The Yankees Belief in Technology
Twains initial conversation with the Yankee in the nineteenth century was marked significantly by the following phrase nearly barren of sentiment, I supposeor poetry, in other words; he is a man who knows how to make things, guns, revolvers, cannon, boilers, engines, all sorts of labor saving machinery, (Everett, 419). The statement described Yankee as practical man who tried to make everything to please the body and maximize comfort. Yankee ventures in technological invention and innovation with the comfort of the body in mind and as the centre of interest. Crave for bodily comfort makes Yankee ignore the goodness of the soul. However, the quest for technological goods to satisfy the body ends up acting as protection for the soul. Twain uses Yankee to prove that focus on the bodily comfort and ignorance of the soul makes a human being vulnerable to the nature. He argues that the tendency to use technological innovation to counter the evil only ends up exposing man to more evil. Focusing much on bodily comfort turns a man into a slave of the nature. Therefore, Yankees quest for technological advancement and superiority drifts him into the field of politics. The same technology that man seeks also results in mass-murder at the end of the book (Everett, 419).
The Politicization of the Yankees
Twain, in his novel, portrays politics as a vehicle needed to accomplish technological advancement. The beliefs in the worldly comfort and failure to believe in afterlife makes a man be always traumatized as a result of defeats suffered while on the earth: shrinking from the change, as remembering how long eternity is (Guttmans, 234). Yankees emphasis on technology leads to ignorance of eternity, thus, strives to attain earthly comfort. Yankee considers technological as clothing necessary for the protection of the body and tries to explore technology more in quest for the best likened to comfortable clothing.
Arthurians are able to control their behaviors through the belief on piety and nobility. The Yankees have morally rotten behaviors. The Yankees do not consider the soul important and can take it away easily without fear. Twain cautions against the regimes of the twentieth century claiming that the nations will embrace technological totalitarianism. This means that the regimes will use technology to manufacture weapons of mass destruction thus slaughter their fellow human beings in quest for their own comfort and ultimately bodily comfort.
Twains novel argues that a believer should not go for an alternative, however attractive and convincing it might appear. Believers should shun the alternatives that may present themselves. In the presentation of the romantic chivalry of Arthur and his Knights, Twain shows how Arthurian emphasis on soul perfection ignores the importance of the body considering that the souls are rooted in the body and its desires. Ignorance of the body ultimately results in ignorance of an important dimension of the soul. However, Twain tries to provide the solution for the above contentious issue by stating that people should seek more than mere clothing. Lancelot and Gareth provide an introduction to Arthurian chivalry arguing that control and virtue of the knight present an uneasy relationship between the soul desires and that of the body.
THOMAS D. ZLATIC: Language Technologies in a Connecticut Yankee
There are two factors upon which A Connecticut Yankee is based: language and technology. The two factors are interrelated through studies and shows that the language used in the novel leads to Mark Twains the negative attitude towards technological advancement. A close relationship between language and thought is attributed to the tendency to apply the Arthurian language in decision making, judgment and statement of expected values hence leads to confusion emerging from possible contradiction. Considering A Connecticut Yankee for the machine used by Hank, triggered revolution in the Middle Ages and the communication technology internal effects, the essay shows that though Hank and medieval England enter into a disagreement described in terms of sentimental versus pragmatic and pragmatic versus ideal, the conflict between Camelot and Yankee is due to confrontation based on mentality of literacy.