Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Photo of the Day: Technological Enslavement

Street photo taken by friend and reader, -C., in San Francisco, California, USA (October 2015).

- A note about the blog: as of today, lengthy posts are going up fortnightly, due to other work commitments.

This street poster promotes a book by Swiss writer James Heim. His site, VoluntaryEnslavement.com, warns that we are interacting with technology like drug addicts and enthralled cultists:
Our use of technology gives us a broad range of intriguing advantages, which in turn strengthen our belief in technology as a universal remedy. It seems increasingly self-evident, that we should focus ever more of our time, energy, and attention on technology’s efficiency and functionality to reach our goals and satisfy our needs.

Enjoying some ice-cream or a glass of beer or wine can great. Being agreeable has many advantages, as does exercising regularly. We know, however, that habitually enjoying too many sweets or too much alcohol, never being able to say “no,” and constantly overstraining one’s body are likely to have negative effects. These insights are common knowledge. We accentuate the important idea of balance through sayings such as “everything in moderation.”

Yet regarding technological development – the most crucial area of human endeavor in our times – there is an alarming absence of moderation. What are the consequences of this lack of restraint?

Aldous Huxley once remarked that “… in an age of advanced technology, inefficiency is the sin against the Holy Ghost.” Has our culture of technology become a religion? Are we – on a societal level – still able to question how quickly and thoroughly we are infusing technology into our human circumstances? Or has it become “sinful” to doubt our culture’s central paradigm, which simplistically equates technological development with being beneficial?

The book 'Voluntary Enslavement', by James Heim, fundamentally questions our technology culture. The questioning is rooted in the assumption that the variety of our human essence – for instance, that we are social and cultural beings – as well as human choice and freedom are valuable aspects of the human experience. It is explained why an uncritical submission to the inherent logic of technology's evolution inevitably dilutes human diversity and undermines choice and freedom. The book also examines the fueling of technological progression through the systematic over-empowerment of some of our primal motivations, such as curiosity. The basic pillars of an improved culture of technology (i.e., one that sustains a broad and free human experience) are discussed, as are the ways we can contribute to such a transition.

Changing our views on technology and our handling of technological development has become humanity’s biggest evolutionary challenge. Rising to the challenge would be humankind’s greatest accomplishment.
In 2010, I wrote that it would take time for anti-tech movements to get off the ground. When it comes to combating voluntary enslavement, the solution may be simpler than building a neo-Luddite counter-movement. Time recently reported that nanotechnology had lost its lustre; perhaps technological addiction will simply go out of fashion, like sun-tanning.

See other earlier posts on the Anti-Tech Backlash here, here, here, here, here and here.