chapter  31
8 Pages

Alfred Gell Technology and Magic


The answers which have been suggested to this question have suffered from a bias arising from the misconceived notion that the obtaining of subsistence necessities from the environment is the basic problem which technology enables us to surmount. Technology is identified with ‘tools’ and ‘tools’ with artefacts, like axes and scrapers, which are presumed to have been imported in the ‘food quest’. This ‘food quest’ has been imagined as a serious, life-or-death, business, and the employment of technology as an equally ‘serious’ affair. Homo technologicus is a rational, sensible, creature, not a mythopoeic or religious one, which he only becomes once he abandons the search for ‘technical’ solutions to his problems and takes off into the realms of fantasy and empty speculation.