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    Default Being Human in our Technocracy

    This thread is to explore what it is to be human in our technocracy. Do we shape our technology or does it shape us?

    ~~~~

    “I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
    1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
    2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
    3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

    ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

    ~~

    "Technique has penetrated the deepest recesses of the human being. The machine tends not only to create a new human environment, but also to modify man's very essence. The milieu in which he lives is no longer his. He must adapt himself, as though the world were new, to a universe for which he was not created. He was made to go six kilometers an hour, and he goes a thousand. He was made to eat when he was hungry and to sleep when he was sleepy; instead, he obeys a clock. He was made to have contact with living things, and he lives in a world of stone. He was created with a certain essential unity, and he is fragmented by all the forces of the modern world.”
    ― Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society

    ~~

    "I point out to you, Marcus Claire Luyseyal, a lesson from past over-machined societies which you appear not to have learned. The devices themselves condition the users to employ each other the way they employ machines.
    ― Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune

    ~~~~

    Some questions to explore:
    • Is technology neutral? And it's humans who are bad/good?
    • What makes technology so alluring and attractive?
    • What are the spiritual implications of technology and the integration of our lives into the technocracy?
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    Don't believe technology (at least the majotity of it) to be neutral, in fact, quite the opposite. Specially in this day and age, when everyone is trying to gather as much information as they can about the common people. As for human beings being good/bad, don't think it relates to technology but understand that it will guide the way it's used by us. Before technology there were good people and bad people, so using technology can only be viewed as an extension of that state (being good/bad).

    To most people, sadly, I believe life in all it's glory is seen as something sad, most people don't "see" the real world, don't understand how great the human being is, and for that reason dwell into new and diferente things, new technologies that will lift the grey veil that hovers above them and stops people from seeing the true colours of life. Again, and like Mr. Douglas Adams puts so nicely, this will happen until you're about 30 years old and hopefully stop there

    Implications come in virtue of why you use the technology. If you use it to have "good things" in your boring life (for those who do live life as a mandatory program and can't see past it), technology will always be an escape route. As for the technology out of your control, like CCTV cameras everywhere, new biometric systems being installed by companies that require even DNA samples in some cases from their employees... that's the scary stuff for me because I can only dodge the impact of new technology so much.

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    Quote Posted by gs_powered (here)
    Don't believe technology (at least the majotity of it) to be neutral, in fact, quite the opposite. ...

    ...most people don't "see" the real world, don't understand how great the human being is, and for that reason dwell into new and diferente things, new technologies that will lift the grey veil that hovers above them and stops people from seeing the true colours of life. ...

    Implications come in virtue of why you use the technology. ... I can only dodge the impact of new technology so much.
    Thank you gs_powered. I agree that technology for some is a distraction. Now that it seems so much more physically present and pervasive, it becomes difficult to ignore its impact and effects.


    +++

    Jacques Ellul, mentioned in the OP above, was a French sociologist who, among other topics, wrote about our society and its operation within a system of technique. By technique, he meant the widest set of structures, processes and attitudes that shape and mediate people’s lives towards efficiency, production and progress.

    Here he is in an hour long interview made in the Netherlands discussing the topic.


    Quote This hour long interview with French theologian/sociologist Jacques Ellul was produced by "Rerun Productions" (rerunproducties.nl) in Amsterdam. While the interview is available elsewhere on the internet, this is a far higher quality version.
    In the interview Ellul discusses how the technological society differs from previous societies, how it leads to a breakdown in ethics and worldviews and the hope we may have in changing.
    ~~~

    And here is a little more about his concept of technique from the pages of The International Jacques Ellul Society:

    Quote Technique is the complex and complete milieu in which human beings must live, and in relation to which they must define themselves. It is a universal mediator, producing a generalised mediation, totalizing and aspiring to totality.
    From: The Search for Ethics in a Technicist Society
    by Jacques Ellul 1983, https://ellul.org/themes/ellul-and-technique/

    Quote Ellul’s issue was not with technological machines but with a society necessarily caught up in efficient methodological techniques. Technology, then, is but an expression and by-product of the underlying reliance on technique, on the proceduralization whereby everything is organized and managed to function most efficiently, and directed toward the most expedient end of the highest productivity.

    ... the place of technique began to change dramatically in the eighteenth (18th) century with the quest for efficient procedures to find the “one best means” in every human endeavor. By the nineteenth (19th) century the bourgeoisie recognized technique as the key to their material and commercial interests. The industrialized technical employment of technique became a monster in the urbanized and technological society of the twentieth (20th) century, “the stake of the century” as Ellul termed it. Technique became the defining force, the ultimate value, of a new social order in which efficiency was no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity. Technique became universally totalitarian in modern society as rationalistic proceduralism imposed an artificial value system of measuring and organizing everything quantitatively rather than qualitatively. Like cancer in a living organism, the systematization of technique pervades every cell of our modern technical and technological society. The subtle illusion of this invasive methodology of technique is that people view technology as the liberator of mankind, the operational instrument that sets them free from natural function. Quite the contrary, says Ellul, “technique enslaves people, while proffering them the mere illusion of freedom, all the while tyrannically conforming them to the demands of the technological society with its complex of artificial operational objectives.”
    From: An excerpt from
    A Synopsis and Analysis of the Thought and Writings of Jacques Ellul
    by James Fowler, https://ellul.org/themes/ellul-and-technique/
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    The unlimited manipulative potential of the Information Technology:

    Forget this article: Mass amnesia and the internet

    Ewan Morrison Psychology Today
    Tue, 20 Aug 2019 06:54 UTC



    We have entered a new era of mass Historical Amnesia, and oddly enough, we really seem to be enjoying it. To force a metaphor, it's like we're burning the entire library of history so we can toast marshmallows on the flames.

    The main reason for this new period of forgetting is the internet. And this is ironic because the internet was supposed to be the great engine of eternal remembering, the infinite library of Jorge Luis Borges brought to life. Once information entered the net it was supposed to remain there, fixed and saved forever, or so the pioneering seers of the internet proclaimed back in the 90s. However, without us realizing it, the internet has unleashed a spate of unintended consequences — as all unmonitored mass psycho-social experiments tend to, and all are connected to different aspects of amnesia; from brain function to historical erasure.

    The first form of the New Amnesia is the shrinkage of concentration spans caused by mobile phone usage. A Microsoft Corp study of 2015 revealed that the attention spans decreased from 12 seconds on average in 2000 to just 8.25 seconds in 2015. That's a human attention span which is shorter than that of a goldfish (9 seconds). This is going on while we rewire our brains to skim and flick, with the average phone user picking up their phone 1,500 times per week, or 214 times a day. That's a lot of distraction.

    In "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," journalist Nicholas Carr claimed that the internet is teaching our brains, through neuroplasticity, to inhabit a distracted mode, more and more of the time. We're fooling ourselves into thinking we're multi-tasking when all we are doing is learning how to skim, forget and move on. This habit prevents people from retaining content because so much information is being presented at the same time. We're overloaded and we're forgetting even as we watch.

    In our increasingly tech-dependent society exposure to cell phone radiation may also negatively affect the brains of adolescents, causing potentially harmful effects to their memory performance, according to a research team at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. We're also becoming dependent on the internet to 'be our memory for us'. Rather than trawl our minds for facts, we jump on Google. How many times have you done this yourself, when stuck for a word or fact while in company with friends? "Wait," you say 'I'll Google it". As a result, we're letting natural personal brain memory atrophy and 'digital dementia' is occurring, according to German neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer.

    We're also scrambling the historical record through a plague of misattribution. It may not seem that important but, for example, the philosophers Epictetus (55-135AD) and Epicurus (341-270 BC) are now hopelessly confused with each other on internet quote-memes. Tragic really as Epictetus wrote at length on the dangers of Epicureanism. On a more trivial level — unless you're in the music business — the pop song "My Sharona" (1979) by "The Knack" is misattributed to The Ramones, across millions of views with dozens of social media and music sites duplicating the attribution error.

    Politicians are also increasingly credited with things they didn't say. There's "9 popular quotes commonly misattributed to Abe Lincoln." Hillary Clinton has had to fight off quotes attributed to her that she never uttered, while Donald Trump used the saying, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win," during his 2016 presidential campaign, attributing it, as many others have done, to Mahatma Ghandi; but there is no record of Ghandi ever having said this. Misattribution online only gets compounded over time. It acts like a palimpsest; erasing the truth that lay beneath it.


    Maya Angelou reading at Clinton inauguration (1993) © Wikipedia

    In 2015, a Maya Angelou commemorative stamp featured a quote she didn't write:
    "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."
    The quote actually comes from Joan Walsh Anglund, a children's book author, from her poetry collection "A Cup of Sun" in 1967. The misattribution originated from internet memes and no one noticed the mistake until it was already too late. The commemorative stamp with the epic misquote was endorsed at a large opening ceremony attended by Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, so the misattribution entered history with a fanfare.

    It's rather disturbing, given that the stamp was originally commissioned as a result of a political petition to the United States Postal Service. A petition which included the argument: "Stamps have featured people for their notable accomplishments in the arts. They have included American heroes, but one is missing." Ironically, and sadly, the stamp ended up embodying just how little factual history matters to us today.

    Witness also the current internet debate as to whether Stalin did in fact say that famous horrific quote attributed to him on many internet sites: "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions a statistic." Or whether it was, in fact, said by Oliver Cromwell, as The Independent argues or even an unnamed Frenchman in a 1948 edition of the Atlantic Magazine. And of course this confusion has knock-on effects on how we perceive Stalin, who is currently becoming popular again, as is Mao Zedong, thanks to the historical revisionism and historical amnesia. This is greatly facilitated by the internet with its websites and memes that claim that real communism has never been attempted or that the genocides, purges and man-made famines of Mao and Stalin, which collectively amount to between 60 and 120 million unnatural deaths, have been greatly exaggerated.

    The internet is particularly good at creating historical confusion around the issue of just how many deaths the communists were guilty of in the 20th century (as I explored in another essay). It is as if the internet was a machine that was invented to perpetuate and multiply the cynical postmodern mantra that there is no such thing as singular truth, only conflicting narratives of the truth. But wait, who even said that — was it Michel Foucault or Mao Zedong? Or both?

    Then there is the phenomenon of pranking on Wikipedia, one that exposes just how easy it is to tamper with history within the online encyclopedia and get away with it. In one noticeable, and light-hearted, incident, British journalist Hugo Rifkind on the day of the announcement of the royal wedding of Prince William went to the Wikipedia page for "29 April" and added some text to it. He inserted fictitious information about Queen Victoria — injuring her toe during a fly-fishing trip in Scotland in 1872. The information was then duly repeated by two of the top national newspapers in the UK — which ironically, were then later used to verify Rifkind's Wikipedia entry in a kind of informational ouroboros. Other Wikipedia pranks are not so light and extend to historical hoaxes and defamation. The gold standard for Wikipedia entries is, after all, not some notion of objective truth but that of "verifiability."


    Part 2
    There are places on the net with less exacting standards, and they can be used by people with toxic political agendas to create verification of their political beliefs through false attribution to historical figures. For example, there is the much-cited quotation attributed to Voltaire
    "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

    Bust of Voltaire (1694-1778)

    The quote became a trending "quote of the day" in 2012, but is now believed to have originated not with Voltaire, but with White Supremacists in the same year. This "Voltaire quote" has circulated widely and has been used by both liberals and people on the right: for example by Donald Trump Jr in a tweet. Some variations of the meme design later introduced the Star of David, and in this way, anti-Semites managed to make it appear that they had the historical backing of Voltaire and the Enlightenment.

    History becomes deliberately distorted through such processes, and there are no real safeguards to stop this happening on the net.

    Then there is erasure through "Cyber-Mobbing"; this is when accusations or false accusations are made on social media that then lead to accused people being disgraced in their public and private lives, their social media accounts being suspended or shut down, their reputations and careers destroyed, and the history of their lives rewritten.

    Many innocent people have been destroyed by this process, as was illustrated by the tragic tale of "Ana Meyer," who had her personal, sexual, and medical histories rewritten online by as many as 100 trolls who wrote posts that were "explicitly designed to make her unemployable."

    Deliberate erasure extends beyond people that we do not agree with into facts we don't like, as when a group of activists decided to "erase a scientist from history" on Wikipedia. Respected German paleontologist Günter Bechly (specializing in fossil dragonflies) was an atheist who then converted to Catholicism and became an outspoken proponent of Intelligent Design. His Wikipedia page was erased for a period of time, due to pressure from "editors," downgrading the value of his scientific work.

    Certain activist types now build entire internet identities around silencing individuals that they hate online. And this rush to erase, this fear of letting enemies speak, leads to a reduction of the spaces in which history can debate. The internet has given disproportionate power to small but organized single-issue political groups intent on wiping people they target from digital history.

    Then there is sensitivity censorship by social media, as when a post or account is deemed "too shocking, disrespectful, or sensational" for Facebook. As when Facebook blocked a fundraising video for The Wounded Blue, a charity for wounded police officers, from its platform. This sensitivity-censorship phenomenon has its offline equivalent in university and high school classrooms with trigger warnings — to protect sensitive students.

    However, the idea that trigger warnings are an effective way to prevent sensitive or traumatized students from being disturbed has been thrown into doubt by a recent study from Harvard psychologists Payton Jones, Richard McNally, and Benjamin Bellet. In it, they found "substantial evidence that trigger warnings counter-therapeutically reinforce survivors' view of their trauma as central to their identity." Trigger warnings and sensitivity censorship actually have the capacity to make trauma survivors more self-conscious and fearful.

    The parts of history that some people might find distressing also can't be separated from historical facts that people might find distressing because they clash with their own political bias. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Facebook is complicit in working with foreign governments in censoring online content for political reasons, such as in the case of censorship of an unflattering image of the King of Thailand shopping with a mistress. So, facts and images get written out of history.

    History itself is subject to the problem of Algorithmic bias and this leads to the state of "Eternal-Nowness" that we live with every day online. This is the biasing of internet algorithmic search results to what is new and what is popular in the now. What is trending? Since young people use the internet more, and young people have less historical knowledge, the algorithms consider The Kardashians and The Great British Bake Off to be of greater significance than the Great British debate between 20th-century economists Keynes and Hayek.

    There is also nowness-bias due to the fact that the greatest thinkers in history were peer-reviewed in learned papers, not reviewed on vlogs and blogs, not liked or clicked; so, according to the algorithms, Beyonce is millions of times more important than Henri Bergson.

    Thus, thinkers whose work has never been turned into a free-to-download digital file are simply getting lost from history, and news stories that predate digitization are getting lost, forgotten, or simply can't be accessed online. Unless the work of an author, philosopher, artist, or scientist is suddenly popularized and makes it into the digital world, then they are in danger of being lost from the internet.

    Filter Bubbles on the net, caused by the "personalization" of our searches, and the suggestions we're fed by algorithms that track our internet lives, also make sure that we only ever get the same picture of history and politics over and over again. The same view that our filter-bubble-buddies share.

    It used to be that we believed the internet was a portal to everyone in the world; now, since personalization, everything you post or share is only seen by the group of about 10 of the filter-bubble-buddies with whom you are most regularly in contact. This tiny group of online friends is your "organic reach" — what Wired calls our "hyper-personalized tribes."

    The shrinking of the organic reach and the shrinking size of our filter bubbles are a direct result of internet platforms attempting to monetize our content. If you want to reach a wider audience, break out of your filter bubble, and speak to more than 10 people, you now have to pay to "boost your post."

    Objective history fragments under the force of internet personalization; we end up with historical narratives pre-selected for us, histories that make us and our top-10 filter-bubble-buddies feel good about ourselves. If I and my nine friends are interested in the radical politics of the 60s, that's pretty much all we'll be spoon-fed by the personalized net. We also receive history and politics info with pre-selected enemies whom we can hate with one click and share with our filter-bubble-buddies.

    Even Bill Gates warned us about this. Our view of the world goes from being a glasshouse to a mirrored cube. Our view of history becomes that which backs up the attitudes we and our filter-bubble-buddies already have.

    In this restricted historical worldview, we get fed news stories and opinions that are created to make us click more, so we get horror, controversy, and fear-mongering along the lines of exactly the same news subjects that we and our friends reacted to before. It's not hard to see how political polarization and fear of people with different views from us can grow from this, and how filter-bubble personalized history leads to exaggerated, simplified, and biased views of history.

    Sadly, this is the unintended result of the rather more trivial project, run by Internet monopolies, to personalize your feed to get you to buy more stuff. A recent study showed that 93 percent of companies see an uplift in sales as a result of personalization, while 88 percent of modern consumers now expect that their online activity will be personalized to their own tastes.

    So personalisation won't be going away anytime soon. It's like we're saying, "We trashed the entire system of political debate and messed up our knowledge of history, but hey, no worries, I just got recommended a great new pair of sneakers."

    With all these factors, we're witnessing the slow demise of historical learning not by one single vast conspiracy but by a process of a thousand small deletions, omissions, and shrugs of the shoulders, as we move on to the next exciting thing.

    But never mind, you can forget this too.

    Now, what's next?


    Related:
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    The concept of Technocracy received some focus in the 1930s (and perhaps its first formalisation). This excerpt from a Polish blog post (auto-translated by Yandex translate) describes the development.

    This is more of the conspiratorial angle and does not cover the growing dependence of society on machinery through the developments in the industrial revolution, for example. In many ways, one could frame the growing desire to “solve problems” with tools and technology as an extension of developments in scientific thinking.

    Quote ...In fact, these ideas date back to 1930, when hundreds of thousands of us citizens were taken over by a new political ideology called technocracy and the promise of a better life.

    Even the classical literature of that period was strongly influenced by the technocracy: "1984. George Orwell, H. G. wells ' the Shape of Things to Come, and Huxley's scientific dictatorship in Brave New World.

    This article explores the resurgence of technocracy and its potential to transform the New World Order into something truly "new" as well as something completely unexpected to most contemporary critics.

    Historical background.

    Philosophically, technocracy has its roots in the scientific autocracy of Henri de Saint-Simon (https://pl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_de_Saint-Simon , 1760-1825) and in the positivism of August Comte (https://pl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auguste_Comte , 1798-1857), the father of social Sciences.

    Positivism elevated science and scientific methods, more metaphysical revelations. Technocrats supported positivism because they believed that social progress was possible only through science and technology. [Schunk, Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective, 5th, 315]

    The social movement of the technocracy, with its system of energy calculations, dates back to 1930, when a little-known group of engineers and scientists proposed it as a solution to the great Depression.

    The chief scientist behind Technocracy was M. King Hubbert (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._King_Hubbert), a young geologist who would later (in 1948-1956) known today came up with the theory of Peak oil (peak oil production).

    Hubbert said that the discovery of new energy fields and their processing will be ahead of consumption, which will ultimately lead to economic and social chaos.

    Many modern followers of the Peak Oil theory argue that the global recession in 2007-2009 was profound in terms of record oil prices, which showed the truth of the theory. Hubbert graduated from the University Of Chicago with a PhD in 1937, then studied Geophysics at Columbia University. He was highly regarded throughout his career, receiving numerous awards such as the Rockefeller Public Service Award in 1977.

    Ability to manage

    In 1933, Hubbert and Howard Scott (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Scott) they created an organization called Technocracy Inc. Technocracy comes from the Greek words "techne" meaning skill and "Kratos", i.e. government.

    So these governments are skilled engineers, scientists and technicians as opposed to elected representatives.



    Technocracy was against all other forms of government, including communism, socialism and fascism, whose economies functioned on the basis of a pricing system.

    As the founders of the organization and political movement called Technocracy, Inc., Hubbert and Scott also co-authors of the textbook "Technocracy Study Course", written in 1934.

    This book serves as the "Bible" of the technocracy and is the main document to which the majority of modern technocratic thinking can be attributed.

    Technocracy postulates that only scientists and engineers can manage a complex, technological society.

    Because technology is said to have changed the social nature of society, the existing methods of Economics and government are outdated. They despise politicians and bureaucrats whom they considered incompetent.

    Using scientific and scientific methods of management, technocrats hoped to limit the huge inefficiency in the work of societies, thereby providing more benefits to all members of society, consuming less resources.

    Another integral part of the technocracy was the introduction of an economic system based on energy distribution rather than on prices. They offered to replace traditional money and energy loans.

    Their focus on energy efficiency is probably the first harbinger of the sustainable environmental movement in the US.

    The technocracy manual claimed, for example, :

    Quote Although (Earth) is not an isolated system, changes in the configuration of matter on Earth, such as soil erosion, mountain formation, coal and oil combustion, and metal mining, are typical and characteristic examples of irreversible processes, including in any case the growth of entropy. (Technocracy Study Course, Hubbert & Scott, p. 49)
    The current pressure to reduce the consumption of coal, which is causing global warming, and CO2 emissions are essentially a product of the original technocratic thinking.

    Hubbert and Scott have tried to explain (or confirm) their arguments in physics and thermodynamics, which is the science of energy conversion between heat and mechanical work.

    Entropy is a concept in thermodynamics, which represents the amount of energy in the system, which is not available to perform mechanical work. Entropy thus increases as the matter and energy in the system degrades towards a final state of homogeneity.



    In secular language, entropy means that if you used something immediately, you would lose it forever. Also, a finite state of entropy, a state of "neutral homogeneity" where nothing happens. Thus, if a person consumes all available energy or destroys the environment, it can never be repeated or restored.

    Escape from social entropy is accomplished through improving society's efficiency over the careful distribution of available energy and measuring successive releases in order to find states, "equilibrium".

    Hubbert's concentration on entropy is expressed in the Technocracy, Inc., logo known as the Yin Yang symbol, which represents balance.

    To facilitate the balance between man and nature, technocracy offers citizens to receive energy certificates for the economy:

    Quote Energy certificates are issued individually for each adult, the population as a whole... saving income and its cost height is done through a distribution Sequence, so it is a simple matter that the distribution Sequence at any time can lead to balancing the level of a given customer... when purchasing goods or services, a person gives energy Certificates, correctly identified and signed.

    The meaning of this, in terms of knowledge, nt. what happens in the system of social and social control can best be assessed if we look at the whole system from a distance. First, one type of organization stocks positions and the entire social mechanism. The same organization not only produces, but also distributes all goods and services.

    Thanks to this information nt calculations carried out on a permanent basis, the headquarters has in front of a similar case in the control panel of a power plant or bridge, a combat ocean liner... (Technocracy Study Course, Hubbert & Scott, p. 238-239)
    Two major differences between money, prices and specific evidence of energy such that:

    a) money is something common for the owner, while certificates are registered individually for each citizen,

    b) money does not expire while certificates lose their validity.

    This latter aspect makes it very difficult, if not completely, to prevent the accumulation of wealth and property.

    Transition phase.

    At the beginning of world war II, with the return of prosperity, the popularity of technocracy decreased, but the organization and its philosophy survived.

    Currently, there are two main sites that represent Technokracy in North America: Technocracy Inc with headquarters in Ferndale, Washington presented on technocracy.org. A subsidiary is Technocracy Vancouver, in Vancouver, BC and can be found on the website technocracyvan.ca.

    While the technocracy was initially focused exclusively on the North American continent, it is now growing rapidly in Europe and other industrialized countries.

    For example, the Network of European Technocrats was established in 2005 as "an Autonomous history of scientific research and social, which focuses on research and development as theory and design technocracy". Their website claims that it has members all over the world.

    Of course, some minor organizations and their websites cannot count on the creation and deployment of a global energy policy, but not because these ideas are not yet alive.



    A more likely influence on modern thinking has the theory of Hubbert-Peak Oil, which arose in 1954.

    Played an important role in the environmental / environmental movement. In fact, the entire global warming movement works indirectly with respect to Hubbert's theory.

    As the Canadian Associations of the club of Rome recently stated: "the problem of Peak Oil directly affects the issue of climate change.” (see John H. Walsh, “The Impending Twin Crisis – One Set of Solutions? p. 5.)

    Modern offer.

    Because of the combination of environmental movements, global warming with the technocratic concept of energy certificates, it is expected that the CO2 currency will be offered by this community, and indeed it is.

    In 1995, Judith Hannah wrote to New Scientist in the article "To the common currency of carbon steel", "My proposal is to determine the annual total contingent for fossil fuel combustion and distribute it equally among all adults in the world.”



    In 2004. the prestigious Harvard International Review HIR published an article "New currency", where you can read,

    Quote For those who want to slow global warming, the most effective action is to create strong national carbon/CO2 currencies…

    For scientists and politicians, the key task is to search in history for more useful directions. Global warming is defined as an environmental problem, but its best solutions are not in the Canon of environmental law.

    The prevalence of carbon in the global economy requires that its cost be accounted for in any system to control emissions.

    Indeed, emissions trading [CO2] has been anointed by the king because it is the most flexible in terms of costs.

    And since carbon dioxide trading is more like currency trading than eliminating pollutants, policymakers should look at trade and Finance, thinking about how CO2 markets should be regulated.

    We must anticipate political challenges, including the emergence of a grass-roots system, including the management of linkages between individual emerging trading systems, the principles of liability for false permits and judicial cooperation.
    HIR concludes that:

    Quote after seven years of turnstiles and bad analogies, the international carbon control system is moving, albeit vaguely, towards a productive way of working.
    In 2006, Mason David Miliband (https://pl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Miliband) the British environment Minister said the Commission, conducting an annual audit, categorically stating :

    Quote Imagine a country where coal becomes a new currency. We produce Bank cards that store both pounds and coal points.

    When we buy electricity, gas and fuel, we can use our carbon points as well as pounds. In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the government has set quotas on the amount of carbon that can be worn.
    In 2007, the New York Times published an article by Hannah Fairfield, "When coal becomes a currency." She stated emphatically that:

    Quote To build a coal market, its creators must create a carbon credit currency that participants can trade.
    PointCarbon, a global consulting leader, paired with Bank of New York Mellon evaluated the rapidly growing coal market. In 2008, a document was released:

    Quote To the common carbon currency: search for prospects for the integration of world coal markets.
    The report discusses both environmental and economic efficiency in this context, as Hubbert originally believed in 1933.

    Finally, on the day of 9 November 2009. The Telegraph (UK) presented an article: "Everyone in the UK can get personal "CO2 emissions.”



    Quote ...The introduction of separate CO2 quotas for each person will be the most effective way to achieve the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    This would mean that people would issue a unique number that they would have to provide when purchasing products that contribute to carbon emissions, such as fuel, airline tickets and electricity.

    As with your Bank account, an application should be sent every month to help people keep track of what you use. If their "CO2 bill" drops to zero, they'll have to pay to get more credits.
    As can be seen, the submitted texts do not belong to the "little League" in terms of authorship or content. The stream of early technocratic thought finally reached the shore where the waves lay on the beach.

    Technocratic prototype of the energy distribution map.

    In July 1937 an article by Howard Scott in the journal Technocration described a map of the distribution of energy in the smallest details. He stated that the use of such a tool as:

    Quote the means of calculation is part of the changes proposed by the technocracy around which the socio-economic system can be organized.
    Scott wrote on:

    Quote Will be issued directly to the citizen. It is critical to and without discussion, so cannot be stolen, lost, rented, loaned, or surrendered.

    It's unforgiving, so it can't be saved, and it can't accumulate interest. Units must not be issued, but they lose their validity after a specified period of time.
    It might have seemed like science fiction in 1937, but today it is quite achievable. In 2010 Technocracy, Inc. offers an updated idea as to how such a Map of the Distribution of Electricity might look like. Their website gives:

    Quote Now you can use a plastic card similar to today's credit cards with a built-in microprocessor.

    This layout can contain all the information you need to create the power distribution map described in this brochure. Since the same information will be included in any form best suited to the latest technology, this is the very concept of "electricity distribution Maps are explained here.
    (Power Distribution cards will be introduced along with smart meters.)

    If you examine the map above, you will notice that it is also a universal identity card and contains a microprocessor.

    This reflects the philosophy Technocracy that everyone in society needs to be closely monitored ... for keeping track of what consume in terms of energy, and that contributes to the production process.

    Market participants carbon/CO2.

    The modern carbon credit/CO2 system (carbon credits) was the invention of the Kyoto Protocol, and began to gain momentum in 2002 with the creation of the first national credit trading system in the UK.

    After this process became part of international law in 2005, the trade market is expected to reach $ 3 trillion by 2020 or earlier.

    Edmond de Rothschild 1992 UNCED meeting in Brazil. It was there that Rothshild first proposed the concept of CO2 trading to save the world:



    Graciela Chichilnisky, Director of Columbia Consortium for Risk Management and designer of the bill on carbon credits the Kyoto Protocol, said :

    ”so the emissions market is a vehicle for monetary activity and trade, but it's also a way to make a profit in a greener future.” (see also article: Who needs CO2 market?)

    Who are the "entrepreneurs" who provide open doors to participate in these profits? Currently at the forefront of betting are JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

    Bloomberg noted in a December 4, 2009 article entitled "Coal Capitalists" that:

    Quote Banks are preparing to operate in the CO2 market, similar to what they have done before: in developing an agreement on the derivatives market that will help companies that are their clients to protect price risks in the long term.

    They are also ready to sell CO2 financial products to outside investors.
    At JP Morgan, the woman who originally invented credit risk swaps, Blythe Masters, is now the head of the Department that trades CO2 credits for the Bank.

    Given the strength of the world's banking giants behind emissions trading, it is not surprising that analysts are already predicting that the carbon market will soon outshine trade in all other goods.

    Conclusion.

    Where there is smoke, there is fire. Where there is reflection, there is action.

    If M. Hubbert and other early architects of the technocracy lived today, they would be very happy with the harvest they could gather from the energy distribution ideas that grew on such a scale.

    In 1933, there was no technology to implement the energy certificate system. However, in today's world is becoming more advanced computer technology, the whole world can be easily controlled by a single computer.

    Alan Watts in the new developing system:

    Quote [ ... ] Of course, currency is just a means to an end. Who controls the currency also controls the economy and the political structures that result from them. Finding out how such a system might look like will be a subject for the future.
    ...
    From: https://vigilinclinaverat.wordpress....a-przyszlosci/
    Last edited by Cara; 24th August 2019 at 10:39.
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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    A musical interlude after all that reading: The Police from their Ghost in the Machine album, released in 1981.



    Quote "Rehumanize Yourself"

    He goes out at night with his big boots on
    None of his friends know right from wrong
    The kick a boy to death 'cause he don't belong
    You've got to humanise yourself

    A policeman put on his uniform
    He'd like to have a gun just to keep him warm
    Because violence here is a social norm
    You've got to humanise yourself

    Rehumanise yourself
    Rehumanise yourself
    Rehumanise yourself
    Rehumanise yourself

    I work all day at the factory
    I'm building a machine that's not for me
    There must be a reason that I can't see
    You've got to humanise yourself

    Billy's joined the National Front
    He always was (just) a little runt
    He's got his hand in the air with the other *****
    You've got to humanise yourself

    Rehumanise yourself
    Rehumanise yourself
    Rehumanise yourself
    Rehumanise yourself

    I work all day at the factory
    I'm building a machine that's not for me
    There must be a reason that I can't see
    You've got to humanise yourself

    A policeman put on his uniform
    He'd like to have a gun just to keep him warm
    Because violence here is a social norm
    You've got to humanise yourself

    Rehumanise yourself...
    [to fade]
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    This speech, given in 2000 by Andrew Kimbell, addresses some of the ethical issues and problems with technology and the technosphere.

    He distinguishes between the “hot evil”, which is typically driven by passion and close proximity, and “cold evil” which is brought about due to the psychological and physical distancing effects of technology and the technocratic systems we live in.

    Part 1

    Quote Cold Evil: Technology and Modern Ethics
    By Andrew Kimbrell Edited by Hildegarde Hannum
    Publications / Annual E. F. Schumacher Lecture
    TWENTIETH ANNUAL E. F. SCHUMACHER LECTURES October 2000 Salisbury Congregational Church, Salisbury, CT

    Introduction by Kirkpatrick Sale
    ​AUTHOR; MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, SCHUMACHER CENTER FOR A NEW ECONOMICS

    Our first speaker today will examine the ethics of technology, including what he calls, with an inspired touch, “cold evil,” a new term in his philosophical development. We will be the first to have the benefit of his thoughts along these lines. Andrew Kimbrell has for many years spent much of his career analyzing technology in general and biotechnology in particular, but he has now taken this to a new level, which he will present to us today.

    ...

    The following text is a revised and expanded version of the lecture delivered on October 28, 2000.

    ...

    II. The Enigma of Modern Evil

    ...When reviewing so many events of the last century (dubbed “the ruthless century” by poet Czeslaw Milosz) I was confronted again and again with a different and more enigmatic ethical problem than the obvious “hot” evil scenarios of violence, greed, crime, prejudice, and hatred that have become so familiar. It is certainly true that untold billions of human beings died terrible deaths in the wars of the past century, but a huge percentage of these victims were not killed face to face, accompanied by shouts of passion or hate, but rather from great distances in anonymous slaughter. Almost one-and-a-half million young men (shockingly, their average age was 17 years) were cut down in the battle of the Sommes in World War I. The vast majority were killed by machine-gun and mortar fire. They did not see their killers face to face.

    Less than thirty years later hundreds of thousands of non-combatants —mostly women, children, and old men—were incinerated in the span of just a few minutes in the atomic “flashes” over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, death delivered coldly and anonymously from 20,000 feet above. For much of the last half of the twentieth century a nuclear arms race pushed the world to the brink of Armageddon—the unimaginable final destruction of all society and nature by missiles and planes poised on a computer trip line. More recently, the public has been jolted by revelations of a whole new genre of global environmental threats to the biosphere itself, almost unthinkable perils to life on earth that we had not even suspected existed: ozone depletion, global warming, species extinction, acid rain, desertification, deforestation. Which evil people are responsible for these eco-catastrophes? And even as we produce ever more food, hunger increases at an astounding rate so that close to one billion people are starving every day. Who is starving these people?

    Here we arrive at a central problem for modern ethics. Evil has never been so omnipresent as it has been over the past century, so perilous to the earth and the very future of humanity. Yet there seem to be very few evil people. It would be difficult for many of us to name any evil people we know personally. The very idea of our society being characterized by masses of evil people seems somewhat comical. All in all, there is a striking paucity of modern Mephistopheleses. And virtually no one identifies oneself as evil. Obviously, few of us relish the thought that our automobile is causing pollution and global warming or laugh fiendishly because refrigerants in our air conditioners are depleting the ozone layer. I have been in many corporate law firms and boardrooms and have yet to see any “high fives” or hear shouts of satisfaction at the deaths, injuries, or crimes against nature these organizations often perpetrate. And as noted, bomber pilots tend to be viewed as heroes, not as mass murderers. We are confronted with an ethical enigma; far from the simple idea of evil we harbored in the past, we now have an evil that apparently does not require evil people to purvey it.

    III. The Technosphere

    The solution I found, over many years, to this enigma of modern evil lay in gaining a better understanding of the milieu in which I and most other modern humans live. It is commonly accepted that humanity lived the vast majority of its history (though it is called the “prehistoric” era) in direct relation to the natural world. Approximately seven thousand years ago humans were able to partially separate from our natural milieu. Primarily with the advent of agriculture and other basic technologies we were better able to control and manipulate nature as we organized larger and more complex societies. Much of our written history, laws, and ethics comes from this “social” era in our collective history. Most historians still place us in an “advanced” stage of this social milieu.

    French sociologist Jacques Ellul was among the first to realize that over the past century a large segment of humanity has unknowingly entered a third sphere of existence, which he called the technological milieu. It is not nature or even society that now dominates our lives; rather, it is technology. When we define the technological milieu (which I term the “technosphere”), we refer not only to the massive and interconnected systems of machines and techniques we use but also to the technocratic organizations, including corporations and government bureaucracies, that are required in order to utilize and operate this massive and increasingly global technological infrastructure.

    Without much awareness or comment on our part, the technological-technocratic system has usurped the natural and social milieus to become the primary environment in which we live. Our homes, workplaces, transportation, food, energy, entertainment, leisure, education, and government have all been almost completely absorbed into the technological grid. If we tally the time spent in cars, in office cubicles, in front of TVs and computers, using telephones, Palm Pilots and all our other gadgets, it becomes clear that we spend the vast majority of our waking hours with technology and working for the corporations and bureaucracies required to run the vast technological system in which we live. Each of us lives more and more in a kind of technological cocoon, where much of our action and communication are determined by, and mediated through, the technological grid.

    Further, living fully in the technosphere is now seen as the ultimate goal of human endeavor. So much so, that we patronizingly refer to societies still living in natural or social milieus as “undeveloped,” no matter how sustainable their relation to the natural world or how sophisticated their social organization, arts, or philosophic and religious beliefs. A central and disturbing question is: What happens to the natural and social spheres when they are subsumed into (i.e., developed into) the technosphere? In The Technological System Ellul gives us the chilling answer:

    Quote The technological environment could not exist if it did not find its support and resources in the natural world (nature and society). But it eliminates the natural as a milieu, supplanting it while wasting and exhausting it. . . . Technology acts upon the past environments by dividing and fracturing the natural and cultural realities. That implies destructuring the past milieu as an environment and exploiting it to such an extreme that nothing is left of it. For example, the well known ‘depletion’ of natural resources results not only from abuse by the technologies, but from the very establishment of technology as man’s new milieu.
    Even as it exploits, wastes, and exhausts our natural and social resources, the technosphere provides us with our means of production and survival. We utterly depend on our technological system for sustenance, and it provides us with the basis of our collective and individual dreams and desires—from visions of an endless array of products to our hopes for new techniques that will cure all disease, feed the world, and conquer the solar system. Clearly, living in the technosphere raises very different ethical questions and responsibilities than did the past milieus of human existence. We find ourselves not only in a novel physical environment, the technological system, but also in a new ethical landscape. For technology is never neutral. Whether it’s a hammer or a nuclear bomb or a piano or genetic engineering, technology always represents power, an extension of human power. And the question always arises, Is that power appropriate. Simply put, when power is inappropriate, evil results.

    Understanding the full ethical revolution brought to us by the technosphere is beyond both my ken and the boundaries of this lecture; however, I believe we can now see a dramatic dichotomy between evil as it occurred in the social era of human history and evil as incarnated in the current technological sphere. When humanity was still in the social sphere, ethics tended to be a matter for the individual. Right and wrong were choices each of us could make. Evil thrived on the emotionally unstable, vulnerable, or violent individual or on those who were confused or misguided, and it had a tendency toward the irrational. By contrast, the technosphere has created a technological, institutional plane on which “the system” effectuates evil in circumstances where individuals and their emotions, ethics, or morals play no significant role.

    The passionate, pathological, or satanic villainy of yesteryear has been largely replaced by a technified evil which appears cold and impersonal and as faceless as daily life in the technological milieu. Passionate, feverish “hot evil,” though clearly still with us, has been largely usurped by this automatic, systemic “cold evil” in which we all partake, in which we all are complicit. As noted by M. Scott Peck, modern evil is that which “one percent of the people cause, but in which 100 percent of us ordinary sinners participate through our everyday sins.”

    In The Enigma of Evil theologian Alfred Schutze sums up this evolution of ethics in our technological times:

    Quote Whereas only a few centuries ago evil, so-called, had to be considered pertinent to moral behavior, more specifically the backsliding or weakness of the individual, today it also appears in a manner detached from the individual. It shows up impersonally in arrangements and conditions of social, industrial, technical and general life which, admittedly, are created and tolerated by man. It appears anonymously as injustice, or hardship in an interpersonal realm where nobody seems directly liable or responsible. . . . It has become the grey eminence infiltrating all areas of human existence . . . .
    Unfortunately, despite the unprecedented perils it spawns, this “grey eminence,” this cold evil, so intrinsic to the technosphere with its systemic exploitation of nature, culture, and societies goes virtually unrecognized. Our society continues to be deeply concerned about the remaining “evils” brought to us by the natural sphere (e.g.., floods and tornadoes) and nearly obsessed with the acts of personal hot evil endemic to the social sphere. We have utterly failed, however, to register the appropriate recognition and abhorrence of this new form of institutional evil produced by and through the technological system. Our churches, moral leaders, and teachers rarely recognize or speak out against the cold evil that has impersonally devastated so many lives and destroyed and disfigured so much of creation. The tragic result of this failure is that cold evil flourishes, causing ever greater ecocide and genocide even as it remains unnamed and unaddressed.

    IV. The Anatomy of Cold Evil

    Technology is a way of organizing the world so that we do not experience it.
    —Max Frisch


    A synonym for the work “cold” is “distant,” and a vital component in the success of modern cold evil is the physical and psychic distance that technology creates between the doer and the deed. This technological distancing is, of course, the key to “the pilot’s dilemma” that so captivated me many years ago. Using the technologies of air flight, electronic targeting, and bombs, the pilot could kill without compunction at 20,000 feet, his victims now abstracted as “coordinates,” their humanity virtually invisible. Yet once he had been shot down, the technology’s physical and emotional distance was removed.

    In his provocative book Faces of the Enemy, psychologist Sam Keen quotes a pilot who served in Vietnam and who directly experienced “the pilot’s dilemma.” “I was OK so long as I was conducting high altitude missions, but when I had to come in and strafe and I could see the faces of the people I was killing, I got very disturbed.” Technological distance creates the faceless quality so emblematic of cold evil. Computer scientist and author Joseph Weizenbaum noted this distancing and the ethical task it creates when he critiqued a massive bombing strategy outlined by a Department of Defense science panel during the Vietnam war:

    Quote These men were able to give the counsel they gave because they were operating at an enormous psychological distance from the people who would be maimed and killed by the weapons systems that would result from the ideas they communicated to their sponsors. The lesson, therefore, is that the scientist and technologist must, by acts of will and imagination, actively strive to reduce such psychological distances, to counter the forces that tend to remove him from the consequences of his actions.
    (“Closing the Distance” in Visions of Technology: A Century of Vital Debate About Machines, Systems and the Human World, ed. Richard Rhodes)

    Needless to say, our military scientists and technologists have yet to demonstrate the “acts of will and imagination” called for by Weizenbaum to breach psychological distancing. Far from it. During the Persian Gulf War enemy troops and houses were viewed by pilots as so many blips on computer screens, blips which disappeared after a “hit”—a kind of desert Nintendo. Television stations such as CNN seemed particularly enamored with the images of the computer-generated “hits.” It was not until long after the war that we learned about significant human “collateral damage” caused by the weapons’ surprisingly large margin of error.

    Nuclear war perhaps best exemplifies the facelessness and technological distancing that confounds traditional ethics and creates the cold-evil scenario. The nuclear annihilation of much of the human race is designed to take place thousands of miles away, through aptly named inter-continental ballistic missiles. These weapons, capable of destroying life as we know it, are to be launched half a world away from the intended targets. To compound the physical and psychic distancing and further deflect responsibility, the missiles will not even be launched by humans but rather by technology—computers programmed to assess the threat and make the “cold” launch decision.

    When contemplating cold evil’s military incarnations we see not only the ethical consequences of distancing but also the critical role of scale. Kirkpatrick Sale has written eloquently in Human Scale about the crucial role scale plays in all aspects of contemporary life. It is also an essential problem of modern ethics. When technology allows us to deliver weapons (or energy, food, education, etc.) on a tremendous scale, personal contact and responsibility are lost. Imagine if one had to kill millions of people one at a time with a sword. Contrast this with allowing a computer to annihilate the same number of people with a few nuclear bombs. The sword, however destructive, is a human-scale weapon that has a very circumscribed ability to kill. By contrast, the nuclear bomb’s scale is almost unlimited and its consequences beyond individual or even social control.

    Ethical distancing and ethical problems of scale are not limited to high-impact military technology. The behavior and nature of modern technocracies, business, and government organizations are equally illustrative of this cold evil. Witness how corporations, now working on the global scale, routinely make calculated decisions about the risks of the products they manufacture. Typically, they weigh the cost of adding important safety features to their products against the potential liability to victims and the environment and then make the best “bottom line” decision for the company. More often than not, safety or environmental measures lose out in this calculation. As for people or nature, they have been “distanced” into numerical units relegated to profit-or-loss columns. The corporations then decide how many units they can afford to have harmed or killed by their products.

    We witness daily the way the modern corporation has become distanced in time and space from its actions. A pesticide company has moved to another country or even gone out of business by the time—years after it has abandoned its chemical plant—the local aquifer and river have become hopelessly polluted, fish and wildlife decimated, and there is a fatal cancer cluster among the families relying on the local water supply. The executives of a tire company are thousands of miles or even a continent away and do not hear the screech of wheels and the screams as their defective tires burst and result in fatal crashes.

    The workings of the global trade and finance corporations and organizations epitomize the physical and psychological distancing of cold evil. In the isolation of their First-World offices, members of the World Trade Organization and their partner financiers and economists of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) make decisions affecting millions. This is most evident in the imposition of “structural adjustment” measures on developing countries. For decades the IMF and World Bank loaned money at considerable interest to “developing” nations, essentially to capitalize modernization and technification. The funding was often for huge, ecologically devastating industrial projects. Not surprisingly, much of the money ended up in the hands of corrupt governments or as kickbacks to First-World corporations. As payments became overdue and interest rates skyrocketed, many countries found themselves unable to repay these loans. To solve this repayment problem the IMF and World Bank implemented a series of “structural adjustment programs” (SAPs). These programs involve renegotiating a country’s loan on more favorable terms if it agrees to “adjust” its spending policies, which means reducing wages, lowering labor and environmental standards, slashing social programs (particularly in health, education, and welfare), and allowing increased foreign domination of the country’s industries.

    The effects of the SAPs have been disastrous. Millions have lost their jobs and find themselves with no access to housing, health care, or food. Spending on education in many countries has declined by more than 25% in less than a decade. It is now estimated that as many as 19,000 children die every day from disease or malnutrition as a direct consequence of the SAPs mandated by the IMF and World Bank. Yet despite its horrific toll, the cold-evil practice of structural adjustment has gone without ethical censure until quite recently. Contrast this indifference with the public and media outrage that would erupt if a group of terrorists, driven by hot-evil hatred, were killing thousands of children a day. It is now accepted, even by the global financial technocracies, that SAPs have been fiscally ineffective as well as socially and environmentally devastating. But the trade technocrats and corporations simply view this outcome as a policy “miscalculation” that requires “modification.”

    Cold evil’s distancing is also profoundly present in those who work for corporations and other technocracies. Our minute and specialized jobs have separated us from ethical consideration of our collective work. Whether processing financial statements at a bank, riveting at a Boeing plant, litigating for a large law firm, or delivering on-line data to corporations, most people’s work represents a tiny cog in the great machine of production. As a result, we become psychologically numbed and removed from the ultimate consequences of the collective work being done. We fall into what E. F. Schumacher termed “‘the sullen irresponsibility” of modern work. Moreover, even if a worker were somehow able to overcome this irresponsibility, to breach the distance and cry out against the immorality of modern production (“I reject this alienating labor. Stop the machines; they are destroying nature, society, and the dignity of work!”), that person’s employment would quickly be terminated.

    Virtually all corporations and government bureaucracies are dictatorships in which autocratic managers quickly punish any underling who begins to demand an ethical basis for work and production. Each of us is caught, therefore, in a kind of job blackmail. By allowing ourselves to become numbed by inhuman, meaningless work and to become fully distanced from what we actually produce, we forsake responsibility for the consequences of our production system. We sell our moral birthright in order to “pay the bills.” In this way we each experience our own “pilot’s dilemma.” The distancing endemic to our huge technological system and the massive private and public technocracies that run this system have turned workers, the vast majority of us, into ethical eunuchs and even unintentional criminals.

    Whatever their ultimate moral and physical cost, our paychecks do allow many of us to become profligate “consumers.” This cold-evil lifestyle is termed “the good life.” We proudly bring home the new, convenient, “family friendly” SUV, fully distanced from the global warming to which this gas guzzler contributes and the respiratory illnesses it cause in our and our neighbors’ children. Similarly, we buy our kids hamburger meals with “happy face” logos. But both parents and children would recoil with horror if suddenly forced to participate in the almost unspeakably cruel slaughter of the particular cow involved or to take a power saw to the rain forest or personally commit the other environmental crimes behind so many of our fast-food burgers. We turn the computer on without stopping to think that the power is supplied by a nearby nuclear power plant with all of its social and environmental risks. We even feel virtuous eating our vegetables, without a thought to the topsoil loss, pesticide pollution, and loss of diversity caused by their industrial-style production. If we paid attention to the sources of what we buy, we would find that we are complicit in myriad wrongdoings stemming from the technosphere’s systemic evil, which is not easily recognized because of the distancing involved.
    ...
    From: https://centerforneweconomics.org/pu...modern-ethics/

    Part 2 is here.
    Last edited by Cara; 26th August 2019 at 07:57.
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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    Interesting video by David Icke as to the subtle manipulative imposition of technology amongst the young and it's inherent dehumanising dangers.


    It will be done by 2030



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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    (Part 1 is here)

    Part 2

    Quote V. The Techno-Cocoon

    In recent years the technological system has engendered the ultimate in psychic distancing. Whether we are in the automobile, office, or airplane or using the television, computer, or telephone, we are ever surrounded and circumscribed by technologies and technocratic thinking. Our daily work usually involves being cocooned indoors in artificially lit, temperature-controlled, machine-laden office cubicles and locked into the technocratic hierarchies emblematic of corporate and bureaucratic life. As for our non-work hours, the average American spends more than four hours a day in front of the TV and an increasing number of hours using a computer. In the transition between home and work the majority of Americans commute to work alone, inside temperature-controlled cars and utilizing their radios or stereo systems. This absorption of each individual into what I call the “techno-cocoon” profoundly limits our experience and consciousness of anything not part of the technosphere.

    As a result of techno-cocooning, huge segments of the population have become autistic in relation to the natural world. Non-human creation is almost completely ignored; when we do notice nature, it is usually viewed on television or glimpsed from a whizzing car, train, or plane. For the short periods when we are in nature, it is usually experienced as technological recreation (re-creation) mediated through the roar of RVs, motor boats, jet skis, snowmobiles, and other power toys.

    Our circumscription by technology has also made us autistic in relation to one another, markedly eroding our social lives in recent years. Come twilight time, I often note the startling difference between the streets of suburban northern Virginia, where I currently live, and those of Queens, New York City, where I was raised more than three decades ago. When I was growing up, people talked on the stoops in the evening, kids played games together, babies were walked in strollers—there was a real sense of neighborhood. Now, as I walk my dog each evening along successive suburban cul de sacs, what I see are the glowing blue lights emanating from the various TVs and computers in each home as family members individually cocoon themselves into their favorite night-time techno-entertainment or work. This technologically engendered isolation and collapse of community are not merely anecdotal. Author and scholar Robert D. Putnam, in his aptly titled study and later book Bowling Alone, carefully documents the precipitous decline in all forms of civic participation during recent decades.

    Many argue that rather than eroding our social lives, techno-cocooning actually expands the scope of our interaction with others. After all, people are making contacts at an astonishing rate. We are constantly communicating with others by telephone, e-mail, and “chat rooms” as well as catching up with the rest of the world via TV, radio, and the Internet. The obvious problem is that all these contacts are mediated through technology and its ever-present distancing. All of the human connections in the techno-cocoon are “long-distance” ones. There is little or no human-to-human (face-to-face) communication taking place. This creates a tragi-comic paradox for those living in the techno-cocoon: in a world of ever expanding, near universal communications, we grow ever more alone, locked into the noisy solitude of the cocoon. As activist Beth Burroughs quips, “Sex on the Internet is mostly typing.”

    Ultimately, techno-cocooning makes impossible the “acts of will and imagination” that Weizenbaum so aptly calls for to restore ethics to our society and to end cold-evil distancing. Recovering a sense of ethics is permanently precluded by our circumscription into the perpetual distancing of the cocoon. Passively and with little awareness, we abandon our minds and wills to the convenience, power, and amusement offered by the technological cocoon. In fact, the technological environment becomes to us as water is to fish; we do not consciously recognize that we are enclosed in a cocoon. We do not experience the ongoing devastation of nature, society, or even our own spirit.

    As we slip into near total technological autism, we cannot hear the great machines as they level the world’s forests and dig up and destroy the earth. We cannot hear the cries of animals being abused, slaughtered, or harassed to extinction. We cannot see the suffering of our fellow humans, whether they are the homeless we step over to reach our cars and offices or even despondent members of our own family locked into nearby, but utterly separate, cocoons. We do not recognize the banalization and ultimate death of our own will and imagination as we “amuse ourselves to death.” All in all, the techno-cocoon provides a kind of final anatomy of cold evil, creating a continuous buffer between each person and the many horrific wrongs of our technological system, sins in which we are all complicit and yet blissfully unaware of our complicity. We sit in our cocoons, fully alienated from nature and one another while fully entranced by and engaged with machines. This mass autism is surely unprecedented in both the scope and extent of its alienating impacts. We literally are no longer present to participate in the Creation, the social world, or the spiritual world. The diremption caused by cold evil is complete. We are deprived of the very relationships required for our healing.

    VI. The Ideology of Cold Evil

    Pig number 6707 was meant to be “super”—super fast-growing, super big, super meat quality. He was supposed to be a technological breakthrough in animal husbandry. Researcher Dr. Vern Pursel and his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture had used our taxpayer money to design this pig to be like no other, and to a certain extent they succeeded. No. 6707 was unique, both in his general physiology and in the very core of each and every cell. For this pig was born with a human growth gene engineered into his permanent genetic makeup, one of hundreds of thousands of animals that have now been genetically engineered with foreign genetic material. I met the pig and his creator over a decade ago while doing research for my book The Human Body Shop. Pursel’s idea was to engineer human growth genes into livestock in order to create animals many times larger than those currently being bred.

    Pursel’s pig did not turn into a super pig. The human genetic material injected into the animal at the early embryo stage had altered its metabolism in unpredictable and horrifying ways. By analogy, imagine injecting elephant growth genes into an early human embryo and the physiological changes that would accrue. The human growth genes caused huge muscle mass in the pig, which made it crippled and bow-legged and riddled with arthritis. The genes also made it impotent and nearly blind. This deformed pig could not stand up and could be photographed in a standing position only with the support of a plywood board. When I asked Pursel about his purpose in creating this pathetic creature, he responded that he was attempting to make livestock more efficient and more profitable. As for his failure, he said that “even the Wright brothers did not succeed at first.” My attempts to point out the difference between the pig and a machine (i.e., airplane) were met with an uncomprehending shrug.

    Instead of changing technology so that it fits life, the breathtaking attempt is being made to change life so that it fits technology—to genetically engineer plants and animals so that they will fit with global warming and survive the rising temperatures; to genetically engineer our farm animals so that they can survive in the factory-farm system; and yes, even to genetically engineer us, so that we can survive in the technological world to come. Here I am only touching upon something that calls for another lecture!

    We have seen how technology masks its consequences through physical and temporal distancing, thus creating a psychological disconnect between the doer and the consequences of the deed. There is another mode that modernity has brought us that creates and compounds psychological distancing and cold evil without physical or temporal distance. Here Pursel was not physically distanced from the suffering he was creating, for he was with pig no. 6707 day after day, carefully assessing each deformity and reaction. But he was ensconced in habits of thinking that were as effective in psychologically distancing him from his actions as any physical distance.

    No. 6707 is vivid and tragic evidence that cold evil is not only a function of technological distancing but also of certain “trickle-down” ideologies that have over many generations now become habits of thought. These imbedded secular dogmas separate us from the ethics of our actions just as surely as spatial or temporal distancing. Pursel was motivated to genetically engineer pig no. 6707 by his belief in objective science, efficiency, profit, and a mechanistic view of life. These ideologies have also become the central dogmas underlying the technosphere. They are modern credos born centuries ago of the minds of some of the Enlightenment’s great thinkers. I am not suggesting that animal researchers or other purveyors of cold evil have read up on their Descartes, Bacon, or Adam Smith. Quite the contrary: I believe that certain basic tenets of these philosophers have trickled down from the scientific and academic elite to become habits of thinking and perception for the general public. These ideologies now go virtually unexamined, yet they provide the basic rationale for much cold evil.

    The Cult of Objectivity

    One of the epochal moments in the history of Western science occurred on June 22, 1633, when Galileo, under extreme pressure from Church inquisitors, “abjured” his heresy that the earth revolves around the sun. Since that time Galileo has remained an ultimate symbol of modern enlightenment martyred by the forces of superstition and prejudice. Yet if we consider the nature of the cold evil so prevalent today, we can bring charges against Galileo anew. For his real crime was not his understanding of the nature of the heavens but rather his seminal role in creating what could be called “the cult of objectivity”—resulting in a science and science community that have largely been purged of subjectivity and qualitative human thought.

    Galileo, a mathematician, was convinced that the natural world could not be understood through participation, relation, or metaphysical or spiritual work; rather, he maintained that the truth could be found only by means of objective quantitative measurement and rigorous mathematical analysis. All the “warm” aspects of the human—memories, senses, kinship, relationship—he dismissed as subjective and immeasurable and therefore without value in the scientific search for truth. Galileo wrote that color, taste, and all subjective experiences were “merest opinion” while “atoms and the void are the truth.” He then carried this argument one incredible step further, positing that what cannot be measured and reduced to number is not real. This philosophical “crime” of amputating human qualities from the search for truth is summarized by historian Lewis Mumford in The Myth of the Machine:

    Quote Galileo committed a crime far greater than any dignitary of the Church accused him of; for his real crime was that of trading the totality of human experience for that minute portion which can be observed and interpreted in terms of mass and motion. . . . In dismissing human subjectivity Galileo had excommunicated history’s central subject, multi-dimensional man . . . Under the new scientific dispensation . . . all living forms must be brought into harmony with the mechanical world picture by being melted down, so to say, molded anew to conform to a more mechanical model.
    The magnitude of the revolution in science inaugurated by Galileo and his fellow Enlightenment thinkers is difficult to comprehend. Perhaps philosopher Scott Buchanan best encapsulated this transformation when he described Galileo and his generation of thinkers as “world-splitters.” For that is what they were. Focusing fully on treating all of life and creation in cold, strictly mathematical and mechanical terms, they created a lasting dualism by separating the quantitative and qualitative, the objective and subjective. Regarding all the warm, subjective, and feeling functions of the human as incapable of quantification and therefore of little or no importance, they elevated one value, the objective, as the only road to truth. Their dualism resulted in the attempt to completely eliminate human subjectivity from the scientific search for knowledge and truth. This cult of objectivity is thus based on the pathetic fallacy that somehow the observed can be separated from the observer, a fallacy which has disfigured and deformed science for centuries.

    The cult of objectivity also provides the central ideological underpinning for cold evil, offering a sure ideological defense against any attempt to reduce distancing through the infusion of qualitative human experience, whether it be feeling, relationship, participation, or culture. Its influence results in a “just the facts,” “bottom line” conception of truth. Whoever seeks to break the bondage of cold evil, to strike out against that “grey eminence,” is inevitably accused of being unscientific or, even worse, emotional. When we protest against the dangers of nuclear technology, the dire effects of global warming, the massive destruction of wildlife, forests, and biodiversity, or the monstrous creations of genetic engineering, we are inevitably warned not to react emotionally but rather to rely on purportedly objective “experts” using “sound science.” We are intellectually bludgeoned into abandoning our protest and acquiescing to the objective “laws” and methods of science, the cold facts. As a result, the arts and philosophy are ghettoized as entertainment or academic pursuits while love of, and participation in, nature are dismissed as “romantic.”

    The cult of objectivity results in a kind of social schizophrenia that separates our public lives from our private lives. If we tried to bring the cult of objectivity into our family setting, we would correctly be viewed as insane. If a mother described her child solely in mathematical terms, stating that all the rest is “unreal, ” she would be an appropriate candidate for institutionalization. Yet this objectivist view is exactly what determines public policy in science, law, and much of our governmental and educational systems. Woe to the scientist who would speak of scientific truth received through poetry, long meditation on a salmon, or the experience of a Mozart piano concerto; woe to the lawyer who would ask the judge to use intuition in resolving the case; or even to the biology teacher who would teach that all of life has an “inside,” a soul.

    The ideological hold of the cult of objectivity is so strong that as a society we have virtually eliminated human culture and subjectivity as part of our scientific pursuit of knowledge and truth. Our policies continue to be guided by the cold objective values of quantification and measurability; they ignore intuition, emotional understanding, spiritual wisdom, and all the warm, subjective human values so needed for our healing and wholeness. The continued reign of the cult of objectivity among our scientific and policy elites is a fundamental precondition of the technosphere and ensures the continuing spread of cold evil.

    The Cult of Efficiency

    Just four years after Galileo’s historic confrontation with the Church another mathematician, René Descartes, published his now famous Discourse on Method. Among its many provocative arguments was his revolutionary view that animals are really “beast machines,” nothing more than “soulless automata.” In a memorable passage Descartes writes,“ I wish . . . that you would consider all the functions [of animals] neither more nor less than the movements of a clock or other automaton . . . so that it is not necessary, on their account, to conceive within any animal any sensitive soul . . . . ” This mechanistic concept of life quickly became a cause celebre as theologians and others attacked the bête-machine theory. But the Cartesians were adamant and became active adherents and practitioners of vivisection. Jean de La Fontaine gives us an account of where Descartes’s theory led his followers:

    Quote There was hardly a Cartesian who didn’t talk of automata . . . They administered beatings to dogs with perfect indifference, and made fun of those who pitied the creatures as if they had felt pain. They said the animals were clocks; that the cries they emitted when struck were only the noise of a little spring which had been touched, but that the whole body was without feeling. They nailed poor animals up on boards by their four paws to vivisect them to see the circulation of blood, which was a great subject of conversation.
    (Quoted in Leonora Cohen Rosenfeld, From Beast Machine to Man Machine)

    As with Pursel’s work and much of modern day animal research, it is hard to imagine a more telling picture of cold evil, here spawned by the ideology of mechanism. This ideology is summed up by historian Floyd Matson, who notes, “With Descartes all of life has become a machine and nothing but a machine: all purposes and spiritual significance alike have been banished.

    In the centuries since Descartes we have fully entered the technological milieu, and as we create our great machines, they in turn re-create our images of ourselves. The extent to which the incorporation of mechanism has trickled down into the general public consciousness is evident in the manner in which we describe ourselves. We speak of our soldiers as “fighting machines”; our leaders ask us to be “mighty engines of change,” and our bedroom partners call on us to be “sex machines.” When we are tired, we say we are “worn out” and “run down,” perhaps near a “breakdown.” Cold evil thrives when all of life is viewed in terms of machinery. What dignity or responsibility inheres in a machine? How can machines love or care or feel? The habit of perceiving life as machine ultimately distances us fully from our own humanity and from the entire living community.

    Perhaps the greatest impact of Cartesian mechanism is its creation of the cult of efficiency. Efficiency—maximum output with minimum input in minimum time—is an appropriate goal for the productivity of machines. Under the sway of mechanism, however, efficiency has metastasized over the past century into the principle virtue, not just for machines but for all life forms as well. We have undergone a kind of mechano-morphism, turning all life into machines and then judging and changing life utilizing the mechanistic value of efficiency. The effort to make humans more efficient began in earnest over a century ago when the eugenics movement became accepted public policy in the United States and led to the sterilization of thousands of the “unfit.” The cult of efficiency was further forced on humans in the years prior to World War I by the pioneering work of U.S. mechanical engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor, who began a managerial revolution to make workers more efficient in the newly developed assembly-line method of production.

    Over the generations the trickle-down effects of the cult of efficiency have turned into a veritable flood. Efficiency has become our number one unquestioned virtue. A large part of our public and personal lives is constructed around this cult. As a society we repeatedly urge efficient government, an efficient and productive work force, efficient use of natural resources, and efficient use of human resources (that’s us!). Everyone is trying to become more efficient. We have all become “multi-taskers,” using the best-selling minute-manager manuals for reference (surely The Nanosecond Manager will be a bestseller of the future).

    As demonstrated by the creation of pig no. 6707 the cult of efficiency is leading to enormous potential crimes against life. The great philosopher Owen Barfield in his seminal work Saving the Appearances warned that “those who mistake efficiency for meaning inevitably end by loving compulsion.” Now the genetic engineers such as Pursel are literally remaking the genetic code of the world’s life forms in order to make them more efficient. Humans are not to be spared, as indicated by a recent report with recommendations by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation; altering the permanent genetic make-up of humanity to increase the “efficiency of performance” is now a top scientific priority. Even as the doctrine of efficiency is becoming the dictate for biotechnology, nanotechnologists tell us that they will soon be rebuilding all of matter, molecule by molecule, to make it more efficient.

    As with the cult of objectivity, if the efficiency principle is applied to private life, it quickly turns into the ludicrous. This should not surprise us, for efficiency is a machine value, not a life value. Is a father to treat his children efficiently, giving them minimum food, affection, and “quality” time for maximum good behavior or academic performance? Are we to treat our friends according to an efficiency calculation? Do we treat our beloved pets on an efficiency basis? Most pets produce nothing at all (my dogs specialize in spoiled rugs and chewed baseball gloves), but we lavish on them our love and affection. In fact, all these relationships are based not on efficiency but on empathy and love. Yet the cult of efficiency has robbed much of our public life of the language of empathy. Thus, the cold-evil cruelties of the workplace, slaughterhouse, and research laboratory overwhelm the values that could reform and heal them.

    The Cult of Competition

    In 1993, after the hard-fought passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a victorious President Clinton issued a paean to the glories of economic competition: “In an economy where competition is global and change is the only constant, our only chance is to take the world head on, to compete and win. . . tonight we have not flinched. Our people are winners . . . tonight we are ready to compete and win to shape the world of the 21st century.” Critics quickly asked what it really meant to economically “win” against other countries. Was it right to enthusiastically herald competition and victory that would result in increasing poverty, unemployment, and social unrest in the “losing” countries? Despite this criticism, most in the media praised the White House for strongly reasserting that economic competition is the very basis of U.S. economic life and success. The competition ethic does not apply only to economics. In No Contest: The Cult of Competition educator Alfie Kohn observes that competition permeates virtually every aspect of our lives: “From the time the alarm clock rings until sleep overtakes us again, from the time we are toddlers until the day we die, we are busy struggling to outdo others. This is our posture at work and at school, on the playing field and back at home. It is the common denominator of American life.”

    How did competition become the common denominator of our lives? Once again, it is because an ideology has trickled down to become part of the public consciousness. Anthropology teaches us that competition was never, prior to modernity, the manner in which a society allocated scarce resources. As historian Marcel Mauss writes, “Nowhere in the uninfluenced primitive society do we find labor associated with the idea of competition.” The idea of competition as the means of achieving economic survival and furthering one’s self-interest is relatively recent. Eighteenth-century philosopher Francis Hutcheson was looking for rules of human behavior that would be analogous to the newly discovered laws of physics. He finally determined that the greatest motivator of life is self-interest, asserting that this ethic is to social life what gravity is to the physical universe.

    In 1776 Adam Smith, Hutcheson’s most notable pupil, published The Wealth of Nations. This book would become a gospel of the new competitive economics. Smith maintained that each individual freely pursuing his own selfish needs would, without intending to, contribute to the economic and moral good of all. He thus saw the market as an almost divine “invisible hand” that would magically turn selfish competition into unintentional altruism. Smith’s teachings encouraged the growth of the Industrial Revolution and our entry into the technosphere, providing the “moral” basis for the development of the capitalist-industrial state. Today Smith’s theories concerning self-interest, competition, and the market have evolved into a veritable faith in human secular salvation through a self-regulating market.

    As with objectivity and efficiency, competition is a “cold” ethic. It is the ethic of isolation and annihilation, separating us one from the other in the blood sport of making a living and leading us to desire the annihilation of the competitive other. As we each relentlessly pursue our self-interest, we become ever more cold-hearted and isolated, ever more autistic—the very prescription for a cold-evil society. Psychologist Nathan Ackerman gives a telling description of the pathology of competition: “The strife of competition reduces empathetic sympathy, distorts communication, and impairs the mutuality of support and sharing.”

    Morton Deutsch, perhaps the most well-known researcher in the psychology of competition, describes the mind-set required of those mired in the cult of competition: “In a competitive relationship, one is disposed to . . . have a suspicious, hostile, exploitative attitude towards the other, to be psychologically closed to the other, to be aggressive and defensive towards the other, to seek advantage and superiority for self and disadvantage and inferiority for the other” (quoted in Alfie Kohn’s No Contest). The proliferation of this mind-set in the competitive market system acts as a powerful disincentive to practicing the empathy and cooperation so essential to fighting cold evil. The isolation and emotional stunting of competition exacerbate technological autism and match perfectly the individual technological cocooning now reaching epidemic proportions. Finally, as with objectivity and efficiency, competition acts as an ideological defense against those attacking cold evil, who are regarded as mere sore losers in the game of life.

    The “Cold Trinity”

    Modernity has brought with it increasing tolerance for diverse religious beliefs and traditions. We are rightfully proud of our pluralistic religious environment. Yet over the years I have grown skeptical about this purported robust religious pluralism. The almost unquestioned acceptance of the cold-evil ideologies of objectivity, efficiency, and competition makes it obvious how little our religious beliefs affect our social practice. I have come to a far different conclusion about the diversity of our religious life: I now believe that we tolerate various religions with increasing ease because they have gradually become tangential and irrelevant to the actual workings of the technosphere and do virtually nothing to impede the work of that grey eminence “cold evil.” I see somewhere in the dark oracular workings of the technosphere a single “default” religion made up of these ideologies, a religion whose doctrines the vast majority consciously or unconsciously believes.

    This new secular religion is, of course, Progress. Almost a half century ago philosopher Richard Weaver, in The Ethics of Rhetoric, noted the central religious position that “progress” has taken in the modern technological state: “. . . ‘progress’ becomes the salvation man is placed on earth to work out; and just as there can be no achievement more important than salvation, so there can be no activity more justified in enlisting our sympathy and support than ‘progress.’” Our faith in technological progress may be obvious, but I think it is more difficult, and not completely fanciful, to see that it has a governing trinity. The secular “cold trinity” of Progress apes the Christian trinity in a tragi-comic way: Science will let us know everything; Technology will let us do everything; the Market will let us buy everything. Science takes the place of God the Father in this new trinity. Mysterious and unknowable to all but the cognoscenti, science has its own objective, unemotional laws and rules, which define the universe. To find “the Truth” it has its own unwavering impersonal process (ritual), known as “the scientific method.” Any statement that begins “Science tells us . . . ” has the imprimatur of unquestioned truth.

    Technology plays the role of the incarnated God, the Son. Science incarnates in our daily lives as technology. It is an admittedly inhuman, cold, mechanical incarnation, yet it manufactures miracles. Technology saves lives, allows us to fly and to speak to others who are thousands of miles away, and creates so many other everyday wonders. Our belief in the Father (Science) is bolstered by the acts of the Son (Technology), which appear to be devoted to making our lives a “heaven on earth.” Technology also has its impersonal, unquestioned commandments based on its mechanical nature, the aforementioned “laws” of efficiency. Importantly, Technology takes on the mysterious nature of its progenitor Science. After all, few of us understand how even the most basic technologies (telephone, television) actually work. So Technology is in this world but, at least to our consciousness, not wholly of this world. It is a kind of incarnated magic.

    Our adoration of Technology, despite its dominance over our lives, is not with us at all times, nor does it fully motivate our daily lives. Although we do not understand our technologies, we soon tend to take them for granted, so an animating, ever-visiting third member of the trinity is needed: the Spirit (the Market). We wake every day, go to work, and make money—with a deep desire to buy. Just as in traditional theology the Holy Spirit gives us access to the Son, so too the Market gives us access to (the ability to purchase) Technology and brings it into our lives. It is this spirit of acquisition that brings us fully to the trinity. The Market also takes on the numinous quality of Science and Technology. As noted, its “laws” of supply and demand and competition are unquestioned dogmas that control public policy in virtually every sphere of our national and global economic lives. They are laws to which almost all of our economists and politicians genuflect on a daily basis.

    The cold trinity provides a powerful, though mostly unconscious, arsenal for the defense of cold evil. No matter what environmental horror or exploitation of animals or humans occurs, it can be rationalized through the trinity, whereas complaints against cold evil are routinely condemned as heresies. The trinity acts as a kind of implicit enclosure of the spirit, a spiritual cocoon, blocking society from any incursion against the cold and binding laws of Science, Technology, and the Market. Questioning any one part of the trinity leads to immediate suspicion, the potential ouster from serious discussion, or loss of influence. Those “heretics” who would expose the cold evil inherent in this default religion of Progress risk ridicule as well as academic and social excommunication.

    ...
    From: https://centerforneweconomics.org/pu...modern-ethics/

    Part 3 in the next post.
    Last edited by Cara; 26th August 2019 at 07:58.
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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    (Part 1 is here and part 2 is here)

    Part 3

    Quote VII. Relationship and Healing

    ...I have no panacea for addressing the growing threats of cold evil, entwined as they are with so much of our daily lives in this technological society. There is, however, a first step we can take, and that is to gain awareness. As E. F. Schumacher writes in A Guide for the Perplexed, “Only if we know that we have actually descended into infernal regions where nothing awaits us but ‘the cold death of society and the extinguishing of all civilised relations’ can we summon the courage and imagination needed for a ‘turning around,’ a metanoia.” One major obstacle to attaining this awareness is our current monolithic view of evil as only the hot evil of terrorism, crime, or personal violence. Until we confront the cold evil in which we are complicit and recognize the potential catastrophic threat it represents to ourselves and Creation, we cannot hope for the metanoia of which Schumacher speaks.

    ...

    We can also break distancing by using our imagination to alter the language of cold evil that has almost become second nature to us. For example, we could stop saying “consumer” to define our role in the technological system. To consume means to destroy (as in a consuming fire) or to waste (tuberculosis was called consumption because it wastes away the body). We must no longer be mere consumers, destroying and wasting the natural world. We must no longer be complicit in the crimes of our industrial system. To face cold evil we must become creators, not consumers. We must break out of our techno-cocoons and recognize that the actions we take in deciding which products to buy or which services to use or render will create a better future for ourselves and the earth. We must take responsibility for the consequences of how we fulfill our basic human needs. Further, we must become true citizens, asserting our sovereignty over corporations and not allowing ourselves to be mere consumers of what they provide us.

    We must also attempt to change our relationship to work. We can no longer be content with mere “jobs” and the wage blackmail through which cold evil works. Despite often overwhelming economic pressures, we must at least attempt to seek a vocation, a calling, that expresses our values and fits our needs. Our work should be a “profession,” a profession of our beliefs—good work whose consequences we can embrace.

    In addition, we must learn to regularly practice heresy against the religion of Progress. We must reinfuse science with the qualitative experiences required for any holistic search for truth. We must balance efficiency with empathy, and competition with cooperation, not only in our private lives but also in our policy and public discourses. We must never allow the word “progress” to be used except in the context of the question, “Progress toward what?” We then must redefine progress as movement toward a future vision in harmony with the Creation and our spiritual needs.

    Ultimately, confronting cold evil requires us to begin dismantling the totalitarian technological structures and systems in which it thrives. Our technologies and technocracies currently legislate our complicity in cold evil. Most of us cannot control where our energy or food comes from, where our taxpayer dollars go, what is taught in our public schools, whether or not to use automobiles, or even what jobs we will have. Moving toward the restoration of human scale in our social and production systems as an alternative to current global-scale organizations and technologies may be the only way to permanently defeat the distancing that has been such a moral disaster for modern humankind. We can start small by growing our own food or joining a Community Supported Agriculture group or starting a local drive for sustainable transportation and energy. As E. F. Schumacher teaches in Good Work, “I can’t myself raise the winds that might blow us, or this ship, into a better world. But I can at least put up the sail so that when the wind comes, I can catch it.”

    There is, of course, a metaphysical part of this work. In the memorable words of Father Thomas Berry, our current economic and technological systems have turned all of nature “from a community of subjects into a collection of objects.” To restore relationship and begin healing we must again treat the living kingdom as a community of subjects, each with its own meaning and destiny, its own eidos and telos. Living beings must never be treated as mere objects, commodities, or means of production. Moving toward this new moral community involves nothing less than replacing the infrastructure of cold evil with technologies and human systems that are responsive to our physical and spiritual needs and the needs of the rest of the biotic community. This requires evolving a means of production and social organization for which we can truly take responsibility. It is a daunting, even overwhelming task, but the alternative is to continue to live in a state of cold evil, complicit in the current system’s crimes and distanced from relationship and healing. This we can no longer do.

    If we are going to rid ourselves of the cold evil threatening the biosphere, destroying society, and emptying our children of all meaning, we simply must devolve our technological systems so that they are democratic, so that they can be responsive to us and we can take responsibility for them, and so that they comport with nature, with life forms on the earth.

    There is absolutely no doubt that we cannot be a democratic nation, we cannot be a democratic people, and we cannot free ourselves from the cold evil of technological control that now has spread even to our genetic core until we stop allowing technology to control human choices and instead see to it that our human choices control technology.

    Question & Answer Period

    ...

    Q: There’s one thing in us that you didn’t touch on—why we’re vulnerable, why we can be seduced by this amazing technological efficiency model. You didn’t touch on the matter of fear, our own fear, why we’re susceptible to it, and what it is we fear, which perhaps starts with death.

    A: I think there’s probably no way to avoid theology on this subject; certainly the technological imagination’s ultimate promise, which is often made, is that death will be conquered, particularly with the advent of genetic engineering or Martin Minsky’s idea of downloading the human brain into silicon and creating silicon bodies for all of us. One of the most alarming books I have read and recently reviewed is Through the Skylight by O. B. Hardison, the great Shakespeare scholar. Hardison ardently advocates that we all give up our romance with our carbon bodies and embrace “silicon immortality.” We are now spending not millions but hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars on just such experiments as Minsky’s. This seems to me to reflect directly on your question. If you’re looking for a secular salvation, if you’re looking for heaven on earth, then survival would be the key.

    Fear leads people to want to control. The ethic of technology is the idea of complete control, and I think what we are seeing is an attempt to actually recreate all of the given universe as technological creations so that they can be controlled—by a combination of genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics. Genetic engineering recreating life at the genetic level, nanotechnology recreating life at the molecular level, robotics and computer technology able to reproduce controllable offspring and, ultimately, silicon bodies. I’m not saying it’s going to succeed, but I think that the process itself is incredibly destructive. Behind it seems to lurk the fear of death and other aspects of life we cannot control. I think a lot of that fear comes from the idea that there is no given good. Of course you’re afraid if you don’t believe there is a given good. If you think that there’s no difference between a river and a Buick—that they’re both just systems and the only question is which is the more efficient one—then the only comfort you have is that things are as good as humans can make them. If you believe in a given good, on the other hand, there is truly comfort, for there is a Creator who is inherent in the given good, in which we can participate and which is within us.

    Q: Would you contrast the centralized, capital-intensive energy technologies, which you’ve already criticized, with the equally centralized and highly capitalized telecommunications technologies? Do you find any qualitative distinctions, from an ethical standpoint?

    A: No, I don’t. There are of course obvious examples of totalitarian technologies. A nuclear power plant requires a military and scientific elite, massive bureaucracies to regulate safety and to distribute the energy created, centralized control of energy, etc. We cannot take responsibility for this kind of megatechnology nor can it be truly responsive to us. ...

    David Korten, my co-speaker today, and I have discussed telecommunication technologies, and we agree that they present a more complicated picture. At first glance they seem to be more democratic; after all, don’t they empower us? My belief is that this aspect of current telecommunications is mostly an illusion; however here are those who believe that computers do empower us in our work. Manuel Castells, for example, has written a three-volume, very compelling argument on the subject. His view is that people are able to take advantage of telecommunications in ways that will improve the future of radical politics, the future of revolt against the system, and that certain telecommunications technologies carry the seeds to countervail the system itself. I recommend that you read his book, although I profoundly disagree with it because I have found that in each of the areas he speaks of—including the feminist, environmental, and gay movements—when people partake in the system, they inevitably begin to ask for things that are available within the system: Give us the right to equal opportunity within the system; let us sit at the table. So what you have is an osmosis. The system has an amazing way of taking these movements, bringing them in, making them feel to some extent enfranchised. It would seem that the very use of communications technologies requires a buy-in to these systems. What’s lost is the original radical critique.

    Personally, I think that the corporations and the whole technological system are the ultimate gainers in the growth of telecommunication. They are truly able to harness it and use it to homogenize the world’s cultures through television and the Internet. Vandana Shiva has called it the monoculturing of the mind. Additionally, corporations and the military arms of the government are able to harness new computer technologies for their marketing and intelligence purposes, which has almost fatally undermined our rights to privacy. Yes, there is a certain amount of empowerment that trickles down to us. We do gain some benefits, but no one can convince me that the massive telecommunications that exist in the world are not helping the corporations, helping this whole system grow, far more than they’re helping us get our word out.

    Q: I have heard of Owen Barfield, and I wonder whether you have any further remarks about him aside from his perception of the present dangers.

    A: Yes I do, but unfortunately it would take an hour or two to say all I would want to. He is a seminal thinker to whom I owe a great deal. If you have not read Owen Barfield, I highly recommend you start with Saving the Appearances, which I read every year, just to get my mind straight. It’s a short, dense book, but I think you’ll find it very rewarding.

    Barfield has remarkable insight into consciousness. He teaches us that there has been an evolution of consciousness throughout human history. In most schools, students learn about the evolution of ideas—that is, Descartes had this idea, then Hobbes had this idea, then Kant had this idea, then Hegel had this idea, or Jefferson had this idea that came from Locke. It is the accepted method of teaching, and it is assumed that we all view reality in the same way and then come up with ideas about it. The scientific world view is in fact based on the premise that perception is objective and the same for everyone at all times. Not so, says Barfield. He teaches us that perception itself is creative. Modern man does not see in the same way that Plato or even Shakespeare did.

    According to Barfield we have lost the deeply creative relationships of perception that prior civilizations and cultures had; our perception has become hopelessly reduced. Not our ideas, our actual perception. I once told my children about something Barfield said, which I think came from Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian mystic/philosopher and founder of the Waldorf school movement. He described a tree as an upside-down person, with the roots being the brain system, getting knowledge from the earth, and the limbs stretching out to the heavens. It’s a lovely perception, and my kids have told me that it changed forever the way they perceived trees. One of the most impressive aspects of the Waldorf schools, which I’m a proponent of, is that the better ones actually educate young people to be able to perceive the natural world creatively. Not to have ideas about it but to perceive it creatively.

    Barfield thinks about thinking like almost no one else. He frees us to understand that our perception can be creative and can be trained so that we actually see things differently. That is what much of our education should really be about. You can see why I think he’s such a seminal thinker—because his teaching brings us to the metanoia in consciousness I referred to in my talk.

    ...

    Q: I’m a teacher in public school. At what age do you think we should start to expose our children to bad news?

    A: My brother is a teacher in Catoctin High School in Maryland, and my sister-in-law is a teacher in a Florida high school; we frequently have conversations about this. My view is that kids, certainly in the early years, should be taught mostly wonder. I believe that the great curative for much of what I’m talking about here is a renewal of a sense of wonder, which is the beautiful expression Rachel Carson used. I think that out of this sense of wonder love and awe grow organically. At some point in their development children will come to perceive what’s happening to those sacred things that bring wonder and awe. They will then become aware over a period of time, more or less as early teenagers, of what’s going on, and the bad news will be apparent.

    I’ll use the question to say that computers in the early grades are extremely dangerous. I cannot tell you how strongly I feel about this. It is the most destructive trend I can imagine. Television is already omnipresent for these children. Now computers in school lure their young minds away from wonder and into calculation, and in so doing eliminate arts, sports, and social interaction. Computer programs in school are a frightening incarnation in the early grades of the cold-evil ideologies. To be sure, the ideologies of efficiency, competition, and reductionist science have existed since the days of Horace Mann and John Dewey, but to actually take these young minds and enclose them in the technological milieu, shutting out wonder and substituting computer programs, is tragic.

    For those of you who need support to stop what’s happening in your schools, my organization, the International Center for Technology Assessment, has a lot of information that could be helpful. Several major studies show that, at least through sixth grade, scores go down, even in math, when computers are used. Additionally, there’s a decrease in social interaction, a decrease in hand-eye coordination, and an increase in depression. One of these studies was actually done by the computer companies themselves. So there is plenty of ammunition. We also have an ad about computers in schools that we put in The New York Times, and we can send that to you.

    There are many school-related issues we need to be concerned about, such as standardized testing, which handcuffs teachers, making them unable to teach. But from my point of view, there is no more crucial issue you can take on at the school level than the damaging effects of computer use.

    Closing Remarks

    Marie Cirillo, who has been working in the trenches of Appalachia all these years, brought up something earlier today that for me is terribly important and is part of the hidden history of what we’ve talked about today—the history of enclosure. You probably didn’t learn about it in school, but the process of enclosure is what created the modern age, and it is key to understanding the problems we’re talking about. The enclosure of land to remove farmers and devote that land to valuable export crops started five centuries ago in England, and it is still going on throughout the world right now. Just think about what it does to people when they are removed from the land, whether it be in England in the fifteenth century or worldwide today through the actions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

    I was very touched by what Marie was saying. The people she described in Appalachia are removed from their land, they’re removed from their communities, removed from their religious and cultural traditions, from virtually everything that has bound them together. The people Marie tells about had been living with the rhythm of the land, with all the exigencies that means. There can be bad years as well as good years, but nevertheless they were living in harmony with natural rhythms, circadian rhythms, biological rhythms. And where do they go after they have been removed from their land? They go into urban centers, where they provide cheap labor for industry. They have to sell their labor, sell their lives; often the family is split up.

    What’s more, they have lost their food independence. If you are not growing your food, there are only two ways to get it—you can buy it or the state can give it to you. It’s these massive enclosures throughout the world that are causing starvation. In the “developing” world hundreds of millions of farmers have been forced into the cities, where—now unemployed or underpaid—they cannot afford food, and the safety net programs that might feed them have been dismantled by the IMF and World Bank, as I described earlier. When Monsanto tells you we need genetically engineered food to feed the world, that is the height of hypocrisy. It is corporations like Monsanto and the technological systems they represent that are responsible for driving farmers off their lands by promoting large-scale industrial agriculture.

    One of the best things those of us who are educators can do is teach the history of enclosure, which has created so many of the current problems of the technological state, and consider how to reverse it. It’s no longer just the enclosure of the lands: it’s the enclosure of our genes, it’s enclosure of the seas, it’s the corporate enclosure of virtually the entire living commons. Reclaiming that commons, even if we have to do it one tiny piece at a time, as Marie is doing, is a tremendous victory, and I honor her achievement.
    From: https://centerforneweconomics.org/pu...modern-ethics/
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    I can't be sure when exactly I came to this conclusion, but at some time fairly far into my ongoing attempt to

    see through this reality I am bound into, I started to believe, or fail to transcend the idea that everything in creation is neutral. Every person, fellow being,society, and invention is by nature neutral, and because of the
    existence of limits and barriers in creation, there is a potential of healing or harm.
    Technology can be used to indoctrinate, as well as deprogram one from previous indoctrination's. Above I can see where one or more people point out the tendency of technology to be a distraction. How far that distraction goes is limited to the subjects discipline, and dedication to removal of fixed beliefs. There are various timers put on the process, I think that there is a certain limit where the body can deprogram itself, as well as the programs that are running it. When the body dies there seems to be a window of deprogramming available, since no body ever gets out of here alive, (physically anyway) as well as comes back without the possibility of hidden indoctrination programs running we will never know for sure.
    I tend to believe that we are still outside the window where we will cease as a species to be able to reverse this perceived harm to ourselves. Studies of trans-humanism, Atrificial intellegence tend to put 2030 as a point of no return.
    Greybeard, posted an Edgar Cayce video that suggests that 2030 will be the end of the present race, the beginning of a new one, as well as the beginning of a golden age. Everytime I have heard this date, Something within me resonates rather strongly. I find it quite interesting that one of the most impressive forms of information retrival before digital technology was rapidly diseminated, and developed on this planet has some of the same information as the present technology predicts.
    I have experienced a number of things in my life that seemed to change me for the better, and at those times I felt like I was a new person. I can imagine that with a sufficient number of these types of experiences one might call themselves a different species. Most of the experiences had the effect of giving me a wider perspective of myself, and included the shedding of programs that were limiting me.

    The idea that evolution occurs within fairly narrow windows that start with planet wide extinctions, and move from there to a rapid radiation of species into a fairly stable set of forms that remain on the planet for a long time, is written about by Rupert Sheldrake. He also states in one of his books that that view has been the most widely believed among paleontologists for some time.

    So at least for now, I would say the outcome of technology is steerable by mankind as a whole.


    John
    "I am fascinated by religion. (That's a completely different thing from believing in it!)" Douglas Adams

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy


    "That thought process was all about, how do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?"

    Sean Parker - First President of Facebook (on the principles behind its creation)


    "And it is a point in time where people need to hard break from some of these tools, and the things that you rely on. The short term dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works."
    Chamath Palihapitiya - former senior executive at Facebook
    ________________________________________

    The following very well made documentary was created by Richard Grannon who I'd heard back in March in conversation with Sam Vaknin, world renowned expert in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and I thoroughly recommend that that is listened to as well- it lays the ground and sets the scene very nicely before watching the documentary.

    Please do give this a view and certainly a very good listen.

    ________________________________________


    Some pertinent commentary here in the film would include the following observations:

    [Sam Vaknin in conversation with Richard Grannon]
    07:48 [Sam] - It was designed to condition them and to some extent, addict.It's more conditioning, but designed to condition them. Once they got conditioned, they reacted like any conditioned or addict.

    They developed depression and anxiety.

    However, when you develop depression and anxiety in reality, reality has the capacity to cure you, to heal, via what we call the reality test. Reality keeps sending you messages that intrude on your depression and anxiety. So for example, a beautiful girl smiles at you. You're promoted at work. Something happens, gradually, and this is how we overcome grief, grief, for example. Time heals everything.

    What do you do if you are firewalled from reality? And you live in a toxic environment that gets increasingly more toxic, where you're exposed only to toxic messages, and where you're engaged in a toxic activity of social ranking which is made public in order to shame you and motivate you to further go into the toxicity?

    It's a self-perpetuating loop.

    You have no countervailing influences.

    08:57 [Richard] -- Yeah.

    08:58 [Sam] - And so, it becomes what we would define as psychotic disorder, psychotic world, it's a bubble. So, and it's the first time it's happening in human history.

    I have no way to predict what would seven billion people do. Because they're spread everywhere, and they're men and woman and they are of all age groups, and they are all [different] socioeconomic strata, and all educational levels.

    I mean it's not, they're not limited. They are more or less like seeds. And in this sense, they're epidemic.

    ________________________________________


    Plugged In : The True Toxicity of Social Media Revealed
    2019, TECHNOLOGY - 53 MIN

    Source: https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/plug...edia-revealed/

    Source (youtube):

    ________________________________________

    Overview:
    No phenomenon in recent history has fundamentally changed us to a greater degree than social media. What might seem like an innocuous means of passing time and staying in touch with old friends is actually destroying us. So say many of the mental health professionals featured in Plugged In: The True Toxicity of Social Media Revealed.

    "People need a hard break from some of these tools," says one of the film's interview subjects. It's a question of survival. Evidence suggests that the frequent use of social media platforms alienates us from physical social interactions, heightens our feelings of insecurity, and has had a profound impact on the rates of depression, anxiety and suicide around the world, especially among adolescents.

    The executives and designers behind these platforms are not oblivious to the ill effects that result from overuse of their product. They're the unfortunate byproduct of their business model. Social media algorithms are crafted to inspire a short-term infusion of dopamine, and can quickly condition the user's brain and central nervous system. It's an engine where narcissism thrives. It generates a strong sense of envy in many users that can quickly evolve into deep depression. Cyber bullies feel empowered to lash out under the cloak of anonymity.

    The diagnosis is grim. With the help of author and behavioral researcher Sam Vaknin, the film attempts to piece together a possible cure. Additional interviews with social media users shine a spotlight on the power of these platforms to prey upon the vulnerabilities in human nature, and how simple behavior modifications can help to curb the perils of instant gratification.

    The film insists that the mere existence of the internet and its social media possibilities are not inherently evil. But our exposure to them must be moderated and used responsibly just like any potentially addictive activity.

    It's an addiction that afflicts many millions of users across the globe. Most of them are likely unaware of their dependency or the risks it poses to their psyche. Plugged In: The True Toxicity of Social Media Revealed offers a valuable deep dive into the psychological impacts of the medium.
    Last edited by Tintin; 29th August 2019 at 16:25.
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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    The Digital Love Industry - film/documentary (warning: contains strong language and some explicit scenes/imagery)*

    (*Alternatively, the overview printed below should suffice as a thinking point in itself: the film is not mandatory viewing by any means)

    ________________________________________


    Before I contribute my own thoughts more expansively on this splendid thread I guess no discussion about being 'human in our technocracy' can possibly sidestep discussion, or at least consideration of, our natural need for intimacy in romance/love or indeed sex.

    Whereas the documentary linked above in post 12 confronted some of the challenges that the use of social media presents us with, the film that follows tackles how the development of VR (Virtual Reality) tools have been developed to satisfy more primal needs: to replicate real physical interaction with virtual landscapes. That is, digital sex and love.

    "The Digital Love Industry" does contain some very explicit imagery and anyone wishing to explore this facet of our humanity in this film should very fairly be alerted to that. But, I do think it is important within the framework of a discussion that we do deal with this.

    It is more fascinating and salutary material for consideration, and digestion, while we endeavour to maintain our humanity within what seems the ceaseless march of technology.

    The opening sequence narrative poses the question [JO FUERTES-KNIGHT - VICE Media]:
    "Since the first time I turned on a computer and patiently waited for the modem to dial out I have been hooked on technology. Now, the rise of social media, endless new tech and a blurring of our real and online selves has transformed how we interact and as we spend less time with loved ones and more time staring at screens it's the definition of intimacy that's become even more ambiguous. So with the appetite for technology showing no signs of slowing down how is love and sex fairing in todays digital age?"
    ________________________________________


    Overview: (sourced from here)
    Technology has altered the way we experience the world and each other, but at what cost? Case in point: the notion of sex in the realm of virtual reality. This emerging field serves as the tantalizing subject for a new documentary titled The Digital Love Industry. Produced by VICE Media and hosted by correspondent Jo Fuertes-Knight, the film takes us around the globe to explore the various technologies that harbor the potential to compliment (or endanger) the future of human intimacy.

    What if you could virtually simulate a sexual encounter with your favorite adult film star, or with a mate that you design using your ideal specifications? What if you could take your long distance relationship to the next level by forming a physical connection through specially designed pleasure devices?

    From a virtual reality conference in Los Angeles to the porn capital of the world in the San Fernando Valley to development companies in the Netherlands and Amsterdam, The Digital Love Industry shows us that the technologies to achieve all this and more exist at this very moment, and they have to be seen to be believed.

    Virtual reality represents the next evolution in inter-connectivity, and it's no longer relegated to the nerd-dominated fringes. Just ask Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who recently acquired the leading producer of virtual reality technology, Oculus VR, and instantaneously propelled it into the mainstream.

    Much like Facebook, though, the possibilities of virtual reality may be as troubling as they are thrilling. In many respects, the advent of these advanced technologies have made us more connected than ever before, but as the film questions, they may also lure us further away from the potentially awkward but oftentimes meaningful rewards of actual physical contact.

    It's a dilemma we face more and more often in our modern technology-driven world, but it's especially relevant as it applies to the consumption of virtual sex and pornography. Will our ability to interact with our fantasies in a hyper-realistic virtual environment cause us more harm than good? Or will our basic human need for a face-to-face connection always win out in the end?

    How will we define love and sex in the digital age? As The Digital Love Industry so deftly illustrates, the future of virtual sex has indeed arrived, and as it continues to evolve it may force us to do the same.
    Last edited by Tintin; 29th August 2019 at 16:28.
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    Default Being Human in our Technocracy

    Today I listened to a newish interview with Edward Snowden with the German publication DeutschlandFunk:

    Quote Edward Snowden im Dlf-Interview
    Was wäre die Gesellschaft ohne Whistleblower?

    2013 ging Edward Snowden mit geheimen Dokumenten an die Öffentlichkeit, die eine massenhafte Überwachung durch US-amerikanische Geheimdienste enthüllte. Im Dlf kritisierte er, dass es für Quellen investigativer Recherche immer schwieriger werde. Sein Leben im Exil zeige, welche Konsequenzen die Entscheidung mit sich bringe.

    Edward Snowden im Gespräch mit Stefan Fries und Stefan Koldehoff
    Here: https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/edwar...icle_id=458854

    The interview itself is in English (while the article is in German)

    Regardless of whether or not one feels that Snowden is someone’s instrument / operative or what one thinks of the efficacy of his technical advice and solutions in avoiding surveillance, this is an interesting discussion.

    Snowden speaks about his recently published book, which includes both his story and also the broader contact against which his story is set. He speaks of the rise of a “sinister authoritarianism” and discusses laws brought into play in various countries that allow bulk surveillance.

    Overall, an interview which is worth watching for the discussion of the broader context of surveillance, control and power.


    Source: Watch on Vimeo

    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    This is a very interesting series of photographs taken of day to day situations “without” the handheld device that might normally be included.

    These photos really highlight the way living in a Technocracy can remove us from the world and people around us.

    Quote Eric Pickersgill photo series removes phones to show lonely world — Quartz
    Steve Mollman
    August 28, 2019

    Click image for larger version

Name:	73AD44E0-F225-4946-B607-19F1AA95AE17.jpg
Views:	21
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ID:	41570
    Eric Pickersgill
    Out of hand.


    Are you reading this on a handheld device? There’s a good chance you are. Now imagine how’d you look if that device suddenly disappeared. Lonely? Slightly crazy? Perhaps next to a person being ignored? As we are sucked in ever more by the screens we carry around, even in the company of friends and family, the hunched pose of the phone-absorbed seems increasingly normal.

    US photographer Eric Pickersgill has created “Removed,” a series of photos to remind us of how strange that pose actually is. In each portrait, electronic devices have been “edited out” (removed before the photo was taken, from people who’d been using them) so that people stare at their hands, or the empty space between their hands, often ignoring beautiful surroundings or opportunities for human connection. The results are a bit sad and eerie—and a reminder, perhaps, to put our phones away.
















    Photos courtesy of Eric Pickersgill.
    From: https://qz.com/523746/a-photographer...ely-new-world/
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    A couple of those photos could have been replaced with a book in hand, in my family growing up. But not when we were out and about, anyway.
    Somehow individual book reading together felt warm and cozy, while screens do not.

    Younger folks - I am curious. Do individual screens (phones) while in group settings feel as isolating to you as they do to we who were born before this technology?
    "We're all bozos on this bus"

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    (Rather surprisingly,) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson uses his UN general assembly speech to warn of digital authoritarianism.

    Quote Boris Johnson warns of ‘digital authoritarianism’ in UN speech
    In his one nod to Brexit, PM likens the process of quitting the EU to Greek mythology.

    By Zoya Sheftalovich | 9/25/19, 9:38 AM CET | Updated 9/25/19, 3:15 PM CET


    "In the future, voice connectivity will be in every room and almost every object," Boris Johnson said | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    On the day the U.K.’s highest court ruled he had unlawfully suspended parliament, British PM Boris Johnson wanted to talk instead about the challenges posed by Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa.

    Digital authoritarianism is not, alas, the stuff of dystopian fantasy but of an emerging reality,” Johnson warned bemused world leaders in his inaugural address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York late Tuesday, calling on them to be “more ambitious” in ensuring “that new advances reflect our values.”

    In the future, voice connectivity will be in every room and almost every object,” the PM said. “Your mattress will monitor your nightmares; your fridge will beep for more cheese, your front door will sweep wide the moment you approach, like some silent butler; your smart meter will go hustling for the cheapest electricity. And every one of them minutely transcribing your every habit in tiny electronic shorthand, stored not in their chips or their innards … but in some great cloud of data that lours ever more oppressively over the human race, a giant dark thundercloud waiting to burst. And we have no control over how or when the precipitation will take place.”

    The “internet of things” could be useful, but “could also be used to keep every citizen under round-the-clock surveillance,” Johnson told the half-empty audience, as some leaders and their envoys appeared to be attempting to stifle their mirth. “A future [Amazon] Alexa will pretend to take orders. But this Alexa will be watching you, clucking her tongue and stamping her foot.”

    Johnson also pondered the implications of artificial intelligence.

    “AI, what will it mean?” he mused. “Helpful robots washing and caring for an aging population, or pink-eyed terminators sent back from the future to cull the human race? What will synthetic biology stand for: restoring our livers and our eyes with miracle regeneration of the tissues, like some fantastic hangover cure? Or will it bring terrifying limbless chickens to our tables? Will nanotechnology help us to beat disease, or will it leave tiny robots to replicate in the crevices of our cells?”

    In his one nod to Brexit, Johnson likened the process of quitting the EU to Greek mythology.

    “When Prometheus brought fire to mankind … Zeus punished him by chaining him to a Tartarean crag while his liver was pecked out by an eagle,” the PM noted. “And every time his liver regrew the eagle came back and pecked it again. And this went on forever — a bit like the experience of Brexit in the U.K., if some of our parliamentarians had their way.”

    Johnson also used his address to the U.N. to lament the fact there are “people today who are actually still anti-science,” pointing to those who oppose vaccination, “and who by their prejudices are actually endangering the very children they want to protect.” He added: “I totally reject this anti-scientific pessimism.”

    Johnson concluded his speech by inviting the assembled leaders to a tech summit next year in London, where, he joked “it is not raining 94 percent of the time.”
    From: https://www.politico.eu/article/digi...mpression=true

    Rather sad to read of the characterisation of the audience response as mirth. Whether they did respond this way or not we don’t know. This is clearly a hit piece.
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    These two videos discuss alienation from a Marxist economic analysis perspective. David Harvey explores some ideas in Marx's early thought on the problem of alienation and then goes into a review of the various symptoms and issues of this alienation.

    I'm fairly certain that his (and Marx's) attribution of the cause of alienation to problems in the capitalist system is probably less to do with the mechanisms of capitalism and is more to do with larger cultural, philosophical and spiritual tenets at play in society. It might be possible that the discussion of alienation remains mostly unchanged if technocracy is substituted (for mechanisms of capitalism) as the root cause of the alienation in today's world.

    I found this to be a very thought-provoking discussion of the issues of alienation - regardless of what one attributes them to.



    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    We made the technology with our very own consumer power; our personal cash/credit is the overwhelming force. So easy to project the problem away from human behaviour. Technology, especially phones, become a social status symbol similar to cars. Phones are little computers, with Swiss army knife multi-function: recording audio/video, publishing to the internet, accelerometer, GPS, the list goes on.

    The technology infrastructure we have built over the last fifty years enables great things: unprecedented learning, freedom from centralised media control, peer to peer journalism. And at exactly the same time technology (or should I say, we) constantly threatens us with a future that could only be dreamed of by the love child of Orwell and Huxley*1.

    *1 Huxley vs Orwell, AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH, by Stuart McMillan, May 2009 (image)

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    Default Re: Being Human in our Technocracy

    David Bowie on the Internet:



    He says some thought provoking things:

    “Is there life on Mars? Yes, it’s just landed here.”

    “I’m talking about the actual context and the state of content .... Where the interplay between the user and the provider will be so in sympatico it’s going to crush our ideas of what medium are all about.”
    Last edited by Cara; 15th October 2019 at 03:55.
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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