By Michael Vail (Chief Editor of BLN)
“The megamachine functions implacably–and the very meaning of individual liberty has vanished in it. It has the coldness, indifference, and anonymity of a machine. It certainly does not try to victimize or alienate man; it simply does so in order to exist. The more order becomes essential to the functioning of the megamachine, the more order engenders order, and the slightest disorder becomes intolerable. Thanks to the media of information and communication, the megamachine also exhibits certain features of a primary society. Each person is known in his totality (which is registered in the national computer). The computer gathers a cluster of previously scattered information about each individual, making the control of society unbearable, especially since this control will be exercised not just by "authorities," but also by the public, the "others," by public opinion. This is so because everything concerning each individual can be diffused and revealed to everyone else by telecommunications. Thus, the megamachine functions on an abstract level as a social machine and on a totalitarian level by stripping all parts of the machine of their identity.” --Jacques Ellul, The Technological System
In our homogenized technological world we rejoice in the benefits of technology but we rarely recognize that it is a double-edged sword. It can lighten workloads, offer humanity security and comfort, yet strip away some of the very things that has made us who we are since the beginning of time. When does the technological revolution end or will it continue until our humanity has been lost within it? “Technology is as the Sirens drawing the mariner onto the rocks”
“Thus, when watching TV, we are incapable of knowing that this miracle is a long social process of production, which leads to our consumption of images. For technology wipes away the very principle (social) reality. Everything that is social has moved to an abstract level, with the strange phenomenon of an acute awareness of nonreality (for example, the passion for politics) and an unawareness of reality (for example, technology). Now this shift of relationship is actually due to technology. It is technology that presents the nonreality which is mistaken for reality (consumer goods or political activity).” --Jacques Ellul, The Technological System
“But what if we do live in a virtual society, if our attention is thus distracted and captured? What if all the things that used to constitute society are now integrated as separate factors in the technological system and beguiled by technology?...The megamachine is the completely organized and homogenized social system, in which society functions like a machine, with people supposedly as gears. This kind of organization is due to a total coordination, to the continuous growth of order, power, predictability, and, above all, control.” --Jacques Ellul, The Technological System
For those of you who are active in politics, would you object to voting for virtual computer candidates? You pick the computer candidate of your choice based upon your preferences and the objectives and politics of the programmed computer candidate? Most people who would reject such as system are unaware they are participating in it! Before most politicians even consider a run for office their human/public relations staff hire focus groups, follow polling trends and rifle through historical statistics to accurately determine what will resonate with the average citizen. What is the difference between that and a virtual Max Headroom running for Senate, at the very least we could look at his source code to monitor his actions. Today politicians are vacuous meat sacks who can't choose their own clothing unless it has been field tested by PR groups.
“But this technological whole is not at all "gratifying" for man (perhaps because he remains traditional). Man still feels as if he were living in a splintered universe. A splintered society (Even though it is more thoroughly unified than ever!), a splintered, incoherent life. The wholes established by technology do not make us feel complete or satisfied; they are still experienced as splintered wholes. Here and there, man recognizes and greets a fragment of his former universe, integrated in a functional but alien and anonymous whole, in which he nevertheless must live.” --Jacques Ellul, The Technological System
“We must not forget that this totalization of technology covers all the elements making up the social body and that gradually all expressions of human life are becoming technological. This means that technology has a double effect on society and human existence. On the one hand, it disintegrates and tends to eliminate bit by bit anything that is not technicizable (this has been brutally felt on the level of merriment, love, suffering, joy, etc.). And it tends to reconstitute a whole of society and human existence on the basis of technological totalization. What is being established is no longer the subordination of man to technology, etc., but, far more deeply, a new totality. It is the process that causes such vast malaise in man and such a keen sense of frustration.” --Jacques Ellul, The Technological System
There is more integration with technology today than there ever has been before. We are living in the 'Hypnotic States of America'. So many have been taken prisoner by the television and now so many are using the internet to droll on about their daily lives instead of meeting someone face to face. Something is missing in this system and that is the natural and human environment.
“The old (natural) environment is not really abandoned in favor of the new (technological) one. Rather, the new one permeates the old one, engulfs it, utilizes it, but in order to become the phagocyte, and disintegrates it-like a cancerous tissue proliferating in an earlier noncancerous one. The simplest visual example is the way the city world encroaches upon rural areas through the spread of the suburbs. The technological environment could not exist if it did not find its support and resources in the natural world (nature and society)...Technology can become an environment only if the old environment stops being one. But that implies destructuring it as an environment and exploiting it to such an extreme that nothing is left of it. “ --Jacques Ellul, The Technological System
Daily we communicate with each other through artificial means and there is less and less of human interaction. Average families rarely have open and honest conversation besides the canned phrases tossed around the diner table. We crave real social interaction with our friends and family. Our natural environment is disappearing and being replaced with urban concrete jungles and they call it progress. Are you one of those who has found fulfilment in breads and circuses, aka gadgets and 'reality' shows? Instead of that reality far too many choose to engross themselves in distraction. It is no wonder that the pharmaceutical industry has made billions off depression drugs as there is an imbalance in our lives.
“Propaganda is called upon to solve the problems created by technology, to play on maladjustments, and to integrate the individual into a technological world...In Western Society it is no longer sufficient to obtain a transitory political act (such as a vote); one needs total adherence to society's truths and behavioral patterns. As the more perfectly uniform the society, the stronger its power and effectiveness, each member should be only an organic and functional fragment of it, perfectly adapted and integrated.” Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes
“Technology is becoming an autonomous and determining social object. This can take place only through a social stratum, which tends to become a caste or class: the technocrats, who act by way of organization. Hence, one must speak of a technocratic and bureaucratic society. And off we march to wage war against the technocracy. “ --Jacques Ellul, The Technological System
The 'social engineers' or technocratic priest class have done everything in their power to warp your natural sensibilities, apply social pressure to make you conform to the newest norms and give you their synthetic belief system. They have established paragons of technology who are always in the public eye such as a Bill Gates or Ray Kurzweil. They want you to invest in their brave new physical integration with technology, this is the post-human movement. You can be a god and live forever if you have the resources and the credentials. Your children can be genetically engineered to your specifications. Technology is not a panacea nor is it inherently evil. It simply is what we want it to be and the problem lies entirely with the manufacturer.