Tag Archives: technology

How technological control undermines human desire

Contrary to what most people believe, the world is approaching the dystopian totalitarian society portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984, although ours does not, at first sight, appear to be totalitarian. And yet it is every bit as controlled, albeit in a much more subtle way. The Canadian thinker, Gilbert Germain, homes in on this state…

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The world has not learnt anything from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s ‘Gothic’ (proto-)science fiction novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which was published when the author was only 20 years old. It was the fruit of a contest among herself and two other literary figures — her future husband, the poet Percy Shelley, and another poet, Lord…

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The present ‘world dis-order’

Bernard Stiegler, referring to the battle for the attention of (particularly young) users of technical devices such as smartphones, writes about the ‘dis-attention’ that results from this. What he has in mind is the manner in which capitalism, not wasting any opportunity for marketing, uses these mnemo-technical devices to disrupt the flow of attention on…

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The high cost of technologically controlling our social environment

Few people are in the position, or have the means, to be able to know just how detrimental the incremental control of our social environment – and our own feelings – by technological means really is. In a nutshell, it is a process that is gradually extinguishing the very core of our being. In his…

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Selfies, the disappearance of the natural world and nihilism

I don’t like shopping malls; they remind me of the weakness of our species when it comes to commodities that they ‘must have’, according to the spurious ethos of the prevailing economic system. Hence, when the woman in my life asked me to accompany her to that monstrosity known as the Baywest mall, outside the…

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The cyber-war(s) being fought right under our noses

Time magazine invariably has very clever, multi-faceted covers, the latest one being no exception. It shows the White House – the American president’s residence and workplace, all in one – being slowly but surely devoured by Saint Basil’s Cathedral, with its red brick walls and colourful onion domes, which stands on the Red Square and…

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The early 21st century: Taking stock

We live in a society in transition – a process rooted in a technological revolution that stretches back to the middle of the previous century, with the invention of television, followed by other innovations in the media, and culminating in the invention of the internet, initially conceived as a military tool of sorts. Although the…

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Technocratic culture: ‘Disconnect’

If you don’t like thinking for yourself, don’t read this post. If you prefer playing around on your mobile device or smartphone, don’t bother reading further. The phone is definitely smarter than you are if you have relinquished your own memory and thinking-ability to its functionality. But if you would like to know something more…

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The automatic society

It should come as no surprise to learn that we live, and have in a sense always lived, in an “automatic society”. But – and this is a big “but” – digitalisation has not only made it more conspicuous; it has also brought us to the point where this “automatism” confronts human beings with a…

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The world has become an uncertain and ugly place

Several things I have read recently have impressed upon me that, despite developments (particularly in the field of technology) that are bound to excite some people, in some respects the world has become more uncertain and “ugly” than ever before. To be sure, it has always been uncertain in an existential sense – no one…

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