Noga Arikha

Historian of Ideas, Writer, Paris

Noga Arikha is a historian of ideas and philosopher, the author of essays on mind, body, science and medicine, and of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours (2007). She currently lives in Paris and is affiliated with Institut Jean Nicod (Ecole Normale) and SPHERE (Paris 7). She has just completed a book based on neuropsychiatric patients and is at work on a life of Franz Boas.

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The hand-held’s tale

Noga Arikha

I asked this because we are so used to constant change, so used to the next technological fix, the perpetual, unstoppable, ever-increasing growth of technological power, the transformation of cities and, sadly, landscapes by the drive for more, better, further. Sure, this is already an old story, and hence mine is somewhat of a rhetorical question. After all people started bemoaning change with the industrial revolution; and some people, like the Italian Futurists, celebrated it. But the rate of change has only accelerated, and the process cannot be stopped. Yet I still remember visiting old peasants in the French or Italian countryside who only spoke their own “patois” or “dialetto”, and...

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