Taking care of the symbolic order: How converging technologies challenge our concepts

Tsjalling Swierstra*, Rinie van Est, Marianne Boenink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
112 Downloads (Pure)


In this article we briefly summarize how converging technologies challenge elements of the existing symbolic order, as shown in the contributions to this special issue. We then identify the vision of ‘life as a do it yourself kit’ as a common denominator in the various forms of convergence and proceed to show how this vision provokes unrest and debate about existing moral frameworks and taboos. We conclude that, just as the problems of the industrial revolution sparked off the now broadly established ideal of sustainability the converging technologies should be governed by the ideal of ‘human sustainability’. The essence of this ideal is formed by the ongoing discussion about the extent to which we may, or should want to, ‘make’ our environment and ourselves, and when it is better to simply accept what is given and what happens to us.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Converging technologies
  • Ethics
  • Sustainability


Dive into the research topics of 'Taking care of the symbolic order: How converging technologies challenge our concepts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this