As for the “more detached view,” I don’t think he’s saying it’s “better.” He’s saying it’s a coherent and valuable way of looking at the total combination of historically embedded infrastructure and human social forms developed to support, maintain, and extend that infrastructure. Call it a God’s-eye view if you want, but that same view has been endlessly valuable for understanding the geosphere, the biosphere, and the lithosphere.
Let me riff on this for a minute. From a large-scale, long-term view, everyone is born into a world full of infrastructure. He does talk about the few remaining hunter-gatherer societies, but rightly points out that they are fast vanishing; in the encounter with “developed” world ways of life, theirs is losing. (No, I’m not happy about that, but I can’t pretend it isn’t true—nor that I, or almost anyone I’ve ever met, would happily return to a hunter-gatherer life, even though I once read that their average workday is less than four hours.)
Being born into infrastructures means being pre-enrolled, from the very beginning of your life, in supporting, maintaining, and possibly extending infrastructures. You (we) pay your (our) electricity bill. You watch TV. You use a cellphone, the Internet, sewers, roads, cars, airplanes, and trains. And you pay for them. To some extent, you may even personally maintain some of those things—adding oil to your car engine, fixing your home router, cleaning out your clogged storm drain. Millions of people work full-time maintaining those things. So in some sense, we work for infrastructure as much as infrastructure works for us. And as Haff points out, if a major piece of it, such as a chunk of the power grid, goes down temporarily, a huge swarm of both human and automatic, machinic activity immediately puts it back online. It defends itself and self-repairs, as if it were autonomous.