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ENGL 102- Summary of ‘Prevail’

Aug 29, 2023

Provide a brief summary of ‘Prevail’ and each important aspect connected to prevail.

Summary of ‘Prevail’


‘Prevail’ is a detailed description of the various facets of The Prevail Scenario. Joel Garreau in this chapter analyses the proper pathway in which humans can evolve and develop. In order to describe the aptness of The Prevail Scenario as the methodology of development, Lanier’s belief in this system has been provided in this chapter. Lanier describes his belief and also contrasts it against the Heaven and Hell Scenario supported by Technology. In this assignment, a summary of the various points presented by Lanier in this chapter along with the opinions of other people have been provided.


The chapter Prevail begins with a quote by William Faulkner (Garreau, 188). This is an excerpt from the speech given by Faulkner during his acceptance of the Nobel Prize in 1950. In this excerpt, Faulkner talks about the enduring spirit of man and the manner in which he is built to survive everything. In Faulkner’s opinion even when the world arrives on the verge of destruction, human civilization will find a way to survive. Faulkner believes that humans will not only survive, but will also prevail over every opposing force. Faulkner believes that human is indomitable because as an individual every human is invested with a soul. This soul in accordance with Faulkner’s views provides humans with the power of passion and emotion which ultimately gives the man the strength to prevail through endurance and sacrifice. As a writer, it is an essential function to keep humans reminded of the glory and power associated with the emotions persisting in beings. The poet needs to not only be the voice of humans but also of the various elements that have aided them in their rise.

In the opening paragraph of the chapter, the author describes the path to the town called La Mesila (Garreau, 189). The road that takes travelers to La Mesila is El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. This road can be used to trace the entire course of the Rio Grande. The author describes the road toward Sangre De Cristo to be filled with cotton, chili, and pecan crops. There is also the abrupt presence of strangely shaped mountains. The various natural elements in the author’s view seem like Palezoic Reptiles. The author believes that these Paleozoic Reptiles are just waiting for an incantation that will bring them back to life. It is in the midst of all of these that the town La Mesilla lies.

La Mesilla’s history describes the complex identity of the town. The town at present is less than 50 miles. It is situated between the borders of the United States and Mexico. Throughout history, these boundaries have shown a lot of movement. Prior to the arrival of the Cavaliers in Virginia and Pilgrims in Plymouth Rock, Don Juan de Onate, the conquistador led some European settlers into this town and laid the groundwork for what would eventually become the United States of America. Spain arrived in this region with both sword and cross, for a span of two centuries. The Pueblo Indians that lived there gave a mixed response to the endeavor. The endeavor invited violence from the Apaches and eventually the Comanches. Eventually, in 1821 the area garnered independence and the Empire was eventually renamed Mexico. The area then enjoyed freedom for two and a half decades after which it was eventually attacked by America. America’s intention behind the attack was to convert the northern half of Mexico into Utah, California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Though America was successful in its attacks a mistake committed by a surveyor led to confusion about whether the area belonged to Old Mexico or the United States. This issue remained disputed till the beginning of the Civil War when eventually the Yankees resolved the issue in their favor. In 1861 another group arrived on the scene known as Rebels, who captured and eventually claimed a vast dominion that eventually became a part of the Confederacy. The Union struggled for an entire year to reclaim the area. Eventually, La Mesilla became a part of New Mexico which became the 47th state of the Union.

Even after becoming a part of the Union, the dispute and struggle within Mesilla did not decrease or more specifically die down. The disruption was mainly because of the New Mexico Area that was west of the Pecos. The area was lawless and its citizens were wild in their approach to living. The town of Messila became popular for its cockfights, bullfights, and special dances called Bailes. The town’s bowling alley, bars, and pool halls also became extremely popular amongst tourists. People came into the town for all of these things from places like Tucson and Chihuahua (Garreau, 190). This gives an implication regarding the public perception related to this place. The common folks also resorted to violence even for the most menial matters. Multiple fights on the street were settled with the aid of gunfights. Inspired by the teenage hero William Henry McCarty many children in the town used to practice the method of quick drawing through small wooden pistols. William Henry McCarty became a legend amongst children as it was rumored that he had killed more people than his total age. As a result of his crimes, McCarty was tried in the courthouse on the southeast corner of the plaza. He was sentenced to death by hanging, from the authorities. While transporting to the northern territory McCarty escaped from the authorities. Sheriff Pat Garett famously caught him and killed him at the age of 19. The age at which McCarty was killed has been widely disputed. This is because his actual birth date is not known.

As time has passed on the town has gone through a variety of changes. Though in many ways it is still following the same pattern. Most of the residents in this town are direct descendants of the original settlers. They are either of Indian, Spanish, Mexican, or Anglo origin. In the daily life of Mesilla, distinctions are still made on the basis of whether an individual belongs to Spanish or Mexican origin. There are various daily issues that crop up between these two groups ranging from whose ancestors arrived first to who is browner. The inquisition regarding the true nature of Messila whether it is similar to the patterns of the ancient world or the thriving present age. The attempt to answer this inquisition was made by Jaron Lanier. Lanier born in 1960 grew up in Mesilla and garnered precious memory associated with the place. Lanier today has become a man of many talents. He is a philosopher, computer scientist, and creative artist.

Lanier is a highly respected scholar whose writings have been published in various well-known journals (Garreau 191). His work regarding human consciousness has been highly regarded. His views on the possibility of ascertaining whether a highly functional being is a zombie or with a soul have earned a lot of praise. He is also a revered artist and can play multiple instruments. As a painter, his creations have found a home in well-known galleries in America.

Amongst all of his achievements, the one he is most known for is undoubtedly the creation of the theory of ‘virtual reality’ as well as the term. It was his creation of the VPL laboratory that led to many groundbreaking inventions all across the world. The laboratory provided the facility of virtual reality to organizations. The organizations used this aspect to test out their various inventions. Inventions like Aircraft originated in such laboratories. The petrol used to run such transports was also designed in such labs. Existing elements like medicines also go through improvement in such laboratories. Medicines used for diseases like Cancer go through constant improvements in order to have better effects on humans suffering from the disease and reduce the overall severity of the disease.

Due to his impact, he was invited to be a part of Advanced Network and Services, an organization that aimed to progress the world in terms of technology. The organization was a coalition between 180 American research institutes. In accordance with various stories, the Research universities in their action of sharing networks dimmed lights all over the campus for the purpose of firing up. Lanier was given the responsibility of heading the Nation Tele-Immersion initiative. The aim of the initiative was basically to create a shared environment in which people from all across the world would come together to collaborate in such a way that it seems that they are working in the same place.  

Howard Rheingold opines that as a human civilization, it is extremely necessary that a new social contract, is established by the community (Garreau, 192). This social contract is necessary because of the manner in which the world is functioning soon humans will have the ability to create and formulate anything they desire, even in terms of experience. A social contract is necessary between humans and computers since the technology offered by them can transform the whole world irrevocably, in terms of social power as well as arrangement.

Lanier because of his achievements has become the most famous individual from Mesilla, New Mexico. His arrival to the town of Mesilla is a rare occurrence presently, but whenever he does come, he is always recognized on the streets because of his achievements as well as his appearance. He has a very unique appearance and looks as he sports sandy brown locks and has pale skin. Due to his appearance, it is impossible to mistake Lanier for anyone else.

Lanier in regard to his childhood and upbringing is not sure about his parents’ decision of shifting from a thriving New York City to a fledgling Mesilla. During his childhood, Mesilla’s streets were not even paved. Televisions were not properly installed and buildings made out of mud were heavily common sightings. Things in the town always seemed as if they were decaying rather than progressing. Lanier felt unsure about the decision as both his parents were in high-paying careers and could have afforded New York but still chose to come to Mesilla which had absolutely no modern amenities. Lanier felt that he was growing up in the midst of death and violence. The place where he grew up was called Dona Ana County. This place during Lanier’s upbringing was the second poorest region in the United States. The place was infested with diseases that were no longer present in other parts of the country. Lanier as a child was surrounded by violence, with people around him being killed mercilessly for absolutely vague reasons.

As a child of a successful writer and pianist, with great investments, Lanier shouldn’t have needed to live in such a town. Reminiscing his past days Lanier observes a massive change in the conditions of Mesilla, as it has amenities that were unimaginable in his childhood. Apart from his experiences in the town, another thing that shapes him and his views about the future of human civilization is his family life and conditions during that time. His family life in childhood is distinctly divided into two parts, one portion was when his mother was alive and another when his mother was dead (Garreau, 193). After his mother’s death, Lanier became disillusioned and spent a year in the hospital fighting a series of diseases. His disillusionment reached such heights that he was unable to remember or recall many of the landmark events that occurred during that time like a human landing on the moon.

His life further deteriorated when his father had to take the financial reins of the house. Till that point in his life, it was only his mother that took decisions related to finance in the house. His father did not have considerable knowledge in regard to finance and predictably led his family into such conditions that they had to transfer to an impoverished land where they would have to live in houses made of considerably bad material. Lanier was given the responsibility of designing that house. Lanier truly enjoyed the experience of formulating a unique structure.

In order to make the structure of his house, he took inspiration from The Whole Earth Catalog. He modeled the domes of his house in accordance with what was shown in the book. Eventually, when he met the author of the book, Stewart Brand in person, he shared about this experience. They both began discussing things like malpractice and leaking associated with the structure. Though Lanier was proud of the structure, very little of it remains today.

Even being involved in such a unique project could not aid Lanier in resolving the various things that Lanier was dealing with in his life related to his social aspect. Lanier’s social life was an utter disaster. He not only was unable to make any kind of social connection but also was surrounded by constant violence. He describes the social environment to be extremely hostile with Mexicans and Spanish at war with each other, and Indians being suppressed and depressed. It was later in his life that Lanier understood the manner in which he needed to connect socially with each other when he entered academic institutions. In his opinion, his intellect and line of work also contributed to him being a social failure. His social experiences in his childhood were so dire that his main aim when he used to go to a shop to buy something was to do so without inviting any attention (Garreau, 194). He had garnered that much anxiety regarding social situations. In his life, he experienced another aspect of social connection when one night hundreds of students because of a mistake got connected through phone lines. He felt as if he was on the internet where no one expected his personality to be of a certain way and could be anything he wanted to be, which made him feel more freedom in his interactions.

In real life, it was at the age of 14 that Lanier gained some positive real-life experiences when it came to socialization. These experiences came at a summer camp organized at New Mexico State University. He felt that the social development stages he should have gone through before puberty happened here at the time of being a teenager. Lanier even after growing up in such harsh conditions was able to foster his interests, because of some destined situations. New Mexico State University might not have had the best amenities but it was the home of some of the most intellectual minds in America because of Nuclear development. Clyde Tombaugh who discovered Pluto also lived nearby and allowed Lanier to use his telescope encouraging Lanier’s scientific interests. Lanier became so attached to the New Mexico University that at the conclusion of the summer camp, he decided to continue on with his studies in the New Mexico University. In order to do that he obfuscated the paperwork to facilitate the matters related to his high school education.

Lanier loved his experience at New Mexico State University, especially the computer system of the establishment. The computer system of the establishment was so advanced that many innovations related to Graphical representations occurred there. The basics of the point-and-click system developed because of Graphical Representation. Lanier was able to learn so much that he was able to garner employment in Silicon Valley, where he spent his days innovating with other minds who were akin to him.

Lanier through his intellect has been able to create an extremely better life for himself, undoubtedly. Even at present he is without any kind of diploma and travels the world taking various appointments in College departments (Garreau 195). In his spare time, he thinks about the ways computers work at present, and the way they can improve in the future. The sudden transformation that has happened in human nature has been a question of huge interest for intellectualists all across the world. Ray Kurzweil opines that ideas are the essential elements that are needed to resolve these issues. Bill Joy believes that death is the only way for this issue to resolve. Lanier seeks to gain the lost connection through his innovations. Kurzweil Joy and Lanier are all distinct in their opinions. Kurzweil’s opinion clearly states that technology and its impacts have reached such a stage that they cannot be avoided or made to go away. Lanier is in agreement with this opinion and also believes Joy when he points out the mortal dangers of such dominance by technology. Lanier’s firm belief is on the path of transcendence. Lanier trusts that there is a way for humans to expand their connections if they desire. Unlike Joy and Kurzweil he does not believe that the situation at hand is pre-determined. He believes that humans have the willpower that transcend the situation at hand and create scenarios in which humans have the opportunity to develop a unique relationship with technology. In his opinion, there is no fixed outcome and humans have the capability of changing this matter in the way they please. In his belief, humans will not become akin to technology but technology will become like humans messy and chaotic. The author represents Lanier’s thought process as the Prevail Scenario.

The biggest issue that has been pointed out in The Prevail Scenario is its uncertainty (Garreau, 196). According to Lanier that is not a drawback but a feature. He believes that the only way to garner a wholesome result out of any idea is to be aware of its loopholes. In his opinion, there should always be a way to improve things and make them better. That would be the only way to get the best out of any situation. In this aspect, he disagrees with both Kurzweil and Joy who have provided scenarios in which there are only a finite number of ways in which the situation can manifest itself. He dislikes such limitations. Lanier does not believe that the interpersonal gap brought on by technology is accelerating. In his opinion, this gap is not increasing in an uncontrollable manner. He believes that even though technology as an aspect is improving and increasing that does not mean its effects are having the same progress. He does not believe that technology has been able to suppress the influence of emotions in any meaningful way and that emotions still have a certain ability.

Lanier firmly believes that transcendence will happen in the future with the help of an ‘infinity game’ (Garreau, 197). In this game, human beings will be in the central position and there will be a possibility of developing an infinite amount of connections around them. This concept of ‘Infinite Game’ was further cleared by James. P. Carse in his book ‘Finite and Infinite Games’. Carse states that finite games occur everywhere in the world, on the work front as well as in personal life. In these games, there is a winner and a loser. These players play the game in accordance with certain rules and regulations. It is within these rules and regulations that a winner and a loser are decided. Everything in these games is predetermined. There is nothing already determined about infinite games. The players are surprised at every point by certain things that are thrown at them. Past does not determine the consequence of this game. As the future changes, this game automatically changes. This game’s objective is not to win but to transcend. These games allow people not only to transcend the game but to transcend themselves.  

Lanier does not fully trust the heaven and hell scenarios presented by various luminaries. He does believe in certain laws like Moore’s law and the conventions presented by those laws, but he doesn’t adhere to the fact that everything in the world can be explained in definite terms. There cannot be a fixed and determined commodity attached to everything, especially human emotions. Money is an economic commodity that can be measured but its impact is immeasurable. The Constitution and its various aspects cannot be measured as they are a product of the human operating system. It is because the emotions and passions of humans cannot be calculated in definite terms.

Lanier opines that human nature should not limit itself in accordance with technological improvements. In his opinion, this does not lead to human enhancement but entraps them into limitations and forces them to shape according to the technology at play. If a human being calls to book a flight and a Reservation system responds, there are only a certain amount of questions that can be answered (Garreau, 198). The Reservation system is not programmed to answer questions not present in the database. Ultimately this leads to humans altering themselves to only ask particular questions. In this methodology, it is humans who are changing themselves and limiting their ability to suit themselves to the constraints of technology. This makes technology similar to oppressive regimes, in which distinct thought is deemed as ineffective.

Lanier does not want computers or any other technical element to become successors to humans (Garreau, 199). He desires them to enhance humans and not replace them. He does not want humans to become employees at a laundry service. This reduces the social connection that occurs between shopkeepers and customers since machines as shopkeepers cannot establish that social conversation. Machines being used to enhance the capabilities of humans, like increasing their memory is fine. Machines should not replace humans in any position. Lanier rejects the version of the world where technology is the religion and Stanford is the hall of worship. In his opinion, the Prevail scenario allows for the possibility of unique situations and unidentified conclusions. Everything is not predetermined. The Prevail scenario thrives in not knowing everything. It is through this act that in Lanier’s opinion human world can transcend. The Prevail scenario has the ability to incorporate octopi, child psychology, and even the possibility of aliens with human elements.

Lanier’s Prevail scenario’s central element is transcendence. This transcendence needs to be both complex and evolving. In the Heaven and Hell Scenario, there is a singularity that is completely absent from the Prevail scenario. The Prevail scenario always expands while the Heaven and Hell scenario with its singularity falls back to its familiar patterns. There is no expansion. Humanity is in danger because of this singularity, because over time humans have been provided with particular conventions, and as a civilization, humans have become comfortable in operating within the confines of those conventions. Through evolution, humanity was forced into some changes which turned beneficial in the long run. Ultimately Lanier’s concern is that humans are becoming unwelcome of change (Garreau, 200). He explains this through the perspective of Martians from Star Trek who in his opinion would find the rigid and determined way of communication set by forefathers and still followed by humans to be comical.

Lanier explains the limitations that humans have put within themselves through the Martians. Lanier believes that aliens must have a form of connection in which they could enter each other’s dreams and that must have been possible because of the constant manner in which they were always progressing and transgressing their set boundaries (Garreau, 201). Humans also went through such transgressions and evolved their ramp of connection. Even without language and primitive brains, humans were able to communicate with each other. Through progression, aspects like writing and reading evolved the aspect of communication. Technology with the ease it proposes threatens to limit this evolution. The Heaven and hell scenarios do not foster or encourage creativity which is necessary for evolution. The Heaven and Hell Scenarios happen when children garner the consciousness regarding the difference between inside and outside as well as reality and fantasy. The moment they are made to realize that they are within the confines constituting reality is when creativity gets hampered.

Reality as Lanier explains also has its own benefits. These benefits include the lack of loneliness and connectivity. In the fantasy world, children are god-like creatures but they are absolutely alone (Garreau, 202). In reality, relationships are real, people like mother and father are real. Connectivity serves as fodder for the human soul. Reality provides that connectivity. This connectivity is enhanced by the virtual world, as people are able to form connections with other people but at the same time retain fantastical powers that give them the ability to create anything they desire. This works because it is still humans in that experience and not any machine. The virtual world still incorporates aspects like emotions.

Transcendence is visible in many beings of the earth. Their means of communication show that there is a possibility for humans to develop the style in which they communicate with each other. The best example of this evolution is Cephalopods (Garreau, 203). The creatures on Earth that apply intelligence to survive, are all similar to humans with the exception of Cephalopods. They survive only through their wits and are advanced in that aspect. This is because, in the evolutionary process, they were devoid of physical strength and were made soft and vulnerable. Certain species of Octopus and Squids have the capability of changing colors. It is because of cells called Chromatophores. These cells expand or contract because of the excitement in the beings. A giant cuttlefish species due to its cellular makeup is also capable of having moving animation on its skin. All of these showcase the different possibilities that are beyond the heaven and hell scenario.

These animals have not achieved mainstream popularity, mainly because they were discovered after the advent of the camera (Garreau, 204). Nobody wants to believe that such natural wonders exist without the aid of technology. This shows the way technology has dominated the things that humans choose to believe. This is an example of a limitation it can impose. People looking at animals believe it is the work of technology. The manner in which they communicate is different from the conventions set by society. In their process of hunting, they attempt to kill their prey in a unique way. Their prey takes up a defensive or attacking posture while the hunter showcases their capabilities by incorporating animation. This is not something the prey normally expects and this makes the process in the favor of the hunters. This kind of interaction is unique and challenges the popular thought process that physical strength in such processes is paramount. This moves away from the singularity of conclusions.

In terms of evolution, these beings have progressed farther than us as they have better ways of communicating with each other. The only reason humans have been able to dominate the world and not them is because of the emotional capability present in humans which is decidedly absent in the organisms of these species. These beings do not have a childhood and do not have the capability to cultivate a culture (Garreau, 205). Humans on the other hand do have this capability which gives them the upper hand. Technology and the ease it provides endangers the process in which culture is cultivated.

Lanier opines that technology’s allegiance with The Prevail scenario occurs as its various elements help to transcend the ways of communication. Lanier throughout human history tries to point out various examples of the Prevail scenario. The epics such as Odysseus are about people that have already transcended and therefore do not prevail over anything. The closest an Epic comes to showcasing the prevail scenario is Exodus, in which thousands of families take an unlikely path to reach their destination (Garreau, 206). In that path, they are able to prevail over many conditions. In literature ‘Huckleberry Finn’ is a great example of the Prevail scenario where the main character decides to not adhere to the conventions and free the slave named Jim.

‘Casablanca’ also showcases the Prevail Scenario when Rick transcends his own values to help Ilsa. The most popular franchises of the present day are based on the prevail scenario starting from Star Wars to Harry Potter (Garreau, 208). In all cases, an ordinary person transcends the embedded belief. Embedded belief is the principle accepted by people at large. The popularity of such stories clearly reveals the fact that human nature responds well to the act of prevailing over such embedded beliefs. It is also necessary for the sake of progress that such embedded beliefs are not taken so strongly as revealed in ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and the Malthusian assertion that Industrialization will bring starvation. Ultimately it brought obesity (Garreau, 209). Thus, even though technology is bringing predictability, human nature is such that its creativity and will to prevail cannot be suppressed as clear by various examples in history.

Lanier believes that the only way the Prevail scenario can work in the present-day world is if it is social. The transcendence needs to happen through connection and this connection needs to be present between humans and not transistors. The Prevail scenario always accompanies the aspect of progress. This progress conventionally has been measured in two manners, technologically and morally (Garreau, 210). The moral progression is clear from the fact that humans have developed from being savages to humans adhering to the concepts of the judiciary. Though relying on Moral progression can create wars and conflicts. Technological progress is also a complex concept, as it is unreliable. Lanier believes that something as essential as progress should not be dependent on 0s and 1s. Moreover, technology is not reliable as the larger the code is the more chances it has of crashing. The only reason Technology has not created mass destruction is that humans still control it. It is because of the aspect of human behavior that technology has not managed to fulfill many of its bold predictions.

Lanier has issues with the prediction of technology as an all-knowing force. Technology in Lanier’s opinion cannot possibly know everything or achieve an insurmountable status. Even humans the most visible beings on the planet are impossible to know fully as there are many elements that are involved and incorporated into it. The dismissal of technology is severely criticized by luminaries like Kurzweil and Vernon Vinge (Garreau, 212). They hail technology because of the remarkable progress it has already caused in the world. Lanier is firmly against it and believes that technology as it develops will be harder to handle. On the other hand, he prefers the ramp of moral development. Though he is scared of the co-opting, technology is trying to do to humans morally. Technology through its growing essentiality is becoming a moral necessity for humans. This is something Lanier rejects as he believes technology should never equate to humans in any way.

The biggest issue with equating development with morality is a kind of rigidity (Garreau, 214). This rigidity is because of the thought process that only a particular principle or way is right and everything else is wrong. This again leads to a sort of singularity. Lanier believes that the best way to bring progress is by increasing connections between people. Historically this progress has occurred with the advent of talking and writing. These processes help to bring people closer. Rheingold analyses the process of swarming as a unique way in which humans have developed their social behavior. In this, a message is distributed to several others in order to bring a large number of people into the same place. This process of swarming in Rheingold’s opinion is unpredictable as it can be used for opposing purposes like democracy and terrorism. The central element of this process is that its goal is not predetermined by programmers, it is the participants who are in charge of its execution.

The mobile phones are essentially a progression in the ramp. Earlier cassettes and radios were used to bring together swarms for effects like protests, and now mobiles are used to do that endeavor (Garreau, 216). Mobile phones have the ability to expand communication in such a way that it reaches everyone all the time. It is through these devices that protests can happen in a more functional way. Mobile phones can also be used for meager purposes like drunk dialing. Therefore the effect of mobile phones is myriad from serious to trivial.

They also have a way of changing the manner in which social life operates. The usage of phones has created softness in terms of time. People can call anyone at any time, there is no physical limitation. It is more agreeable to be late as people are connected all the time. Therefore various elements and features of social life are slowly transforming. It has a lot of side effects as people are in danger of losing the understanding or opportunity of real experiences. These devices only provide connections and not relationships. Lanier defines it as flavor (Garreau, 219). Flavor is every marvelous component present in the circle of empathy. Lanier wants the connection to narrow the gap between humans and maintain flavor.

Lanier thinks that just the way devices were produced to enhance music, in the same way, there will be a way to enhance people biologically (Garreau, 220). This will create another way of communication. This form can also lead to people being able to visually transfer or showcase their thoughts.

The most interesting aspect of the scenario presented by Lanier is its unpredictability (Garreau, 221). The author fully believes that of all the ways presented Lanier always takes the most unlikely route which makes the journey more exciting. This is clear in their journey to New Mexico together where they visit Palacio Bar, which has significantly transformed from its violent origins. The trip also made them encounter a chili bar in Hatch where the owner Felipe Mendoza provides a variety of chillis. In this bar, there is a tradition of marking with pins on the map about how far you have come to eat at the bar. There is also constant discussion about the food and its flavor. This, as the author notes, is another example of the prevail scenario. In this Mendoza is constantly improving himself by getting inputs from people who are far away from his origin. He is improving through connection.

This kind of improvement is advocated by Lanier as humans have the need to evolve. This need in Lanier’s opinion can be wholesome only through the Prevail Scenario rather than the Hell and Heaven scenario.

Prevail scenario has two defining elements (Garreau, 224). Humans have the tendency to forge their own paths which are distinct from the instructions provided by history. This tendency causes them to rise to the occasion and defeat the odds in order to transcend and prevail over a situation. Lanier adds his own opinions by stating that technology even with its progress cannot deter the human impact on social setup in unpredictable ways. This human impact is through a connection which in Lanier’s opinion is social in nature and not solitary. In order for the Prevail scenario to succeed future needs to be considered as uncertain. Lanier opines that technology’s progress is susceptible to shutdowns. There is proof that humans can cause uncertain changes, this is clear in the way many technological developments have been decelerated or rejected by humanity. This is also an aspect of the Prevail scenario.


The chapter ‘Prevail’ details how humanity should progress. Humanity in its nature can stand up to challenges and prevail over them. The advent of technology threatens this scenario and produces a Heaven and Hell scenario in its place. In this case, everything is definite and predetermined because of the steady manner in which technology is developing in everyday life. Lanier believes that such trust in technology is unwarranted and humans should be allowed their creative freedom. It is only through creative freedom that it is possible for humans to truly evolve and become closer to each other through apt communication.

Works Cited

Garreau, Joel. Radical evolution: the promise and peril of enhancing our minds, our bodies–and what it means to be human. Crown, 2005.

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