I just finished reading a comprehensive exam answer in which the student refers to Lewis Mumford’s notion of “biotechnics,” which he elaborates at the end of The Myth of the Machine. For Mumford, biotechnics is an attempt to subordinate technological development to the rules of life instead of the rules of math, an attempt as a reformed, sustainable model of technology. There’s much to be said about his model of technological abundance, but I cannot look past the delivery system. For as I pulled my copy of the book from the shelf — a used copy I picked up as a bargain some years ago — I could hear the crackling sound of particles of glue falling from the space between the pages and the binding. And as I opened the book, it, too cracked. In my single act of rereading a few pages in the 390s, it completely unbound itself. Thus, the book somehow demonstrates its mute author’s point.
As for me, I just ordered my replacement copy. Which is clearly an example of the kind of abundance that Mumford derides as “megatechnics” in the very same passage.