The Problems of Technology as God
In our Age of Information, we are bombarded daily by answers forged to distract us from natural questions, questions we are born to ask.  Technology does not merely serve as transmission-vehicle for those answers, those “data compounds”; technology is the “way of life and being” the answers feed us into.  The information clusters mean their… The post The Problems of Technology as God appeared first on VoegelinView.

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In our Age of Information, we are bombarded daily by answers forged to distract us from natural questions, questions we are born to ask.  Technology does not merely serve as transmission-vehicle for those answers, those “data compounds”; technology is the “way of life and being” the answers feed us into.  The information clusters mean their mode of transmission; they ultimately bespeak technology as universal “way of meaning”.  By accepting to “receive” the world through technology, we accept the providential authority of technology as “way, truth and life,” new Logos, final incarnation of divine absurdity (as opposed to divine mystery), consummate manifestation of the Death of God.
Beyond all ambiguities, technology stands as new providential agent in the wake of the eclipse of natural divine providence, or a providence rooted in nature while manifest above nature.  Technology is not rooted in nature; neither is it manifest purely above nature.  For it integrates nature within its otherwise empty shell.  In this respect, technology marks the rise of a new nature that, somehow, provides for itself, as technology itself.
In sum, technology is not merely a means, but its own end, the purported end of nature upon the erasure of all previous pre-technological ends, above all the God of natural reason—the divine we divine naturally.
Prior to being mediated by technology, our senses are mediated by a natural, poetic reason, a voice tying our senses into a unity independent of any compulsion to create something new.  Socrates’s daimonion (δαιμόνιον) comes to mind—“something divine” (divinum quiddam), as Cicero would dub it, a genius or “generating mind” serving as original principle of organization of our life.  It is in virtue of this immanent principle that pre-modern man sees his life as poetic, rather than “scientific,” where nature is defined by its mysterious “ways,” rather than by abstract laws—nature as flower, rather than as a brick wall.
The bricks making up the wall of modern man’s so-called nature, are information defined, discovered as if accidentally, and managed by technology as method not restricted to a laboratory, as might be the formal scientific method of early-modern natural philosophers, but pertinent to all circumstances of life.  Indeed, technology rises as the method/way of life itself in a new scientific world beyond value-judgment, a word beyond the old poetic distinction between good and evil.
In the new world, freedom itself is new, being mediated and thereby defined by technology, the new progressive building way of life.  In the new world of information bricks we are free insofar as we embrace the new building imperative, the new technological compulsion in which all compulsions are unified, ordered, governed.  Why is technology an imperative?  Because classical freedom—freedom rooted in an internal principle of order—is exposed as a Chimera.  Technologically-mediated information signals the triumph of compulsion over natural or free desire, teaching us that all that might otherwise be conceived as free is really moved by external, hidden forces.  For the medium of technology replaces the medium of unaided raison, and so too senses unaided from without.  Technology is a deus ex machina replacing the God hidden within the senses—the divine speaking from within the abysmal depths of the senses.  That divinity is rejected by technological intervention, an intervention that distracts the senses from their natural raison d’être, the immanently-transcendent principle that awakens the senses naturally or freely, not to grasp mechanically ad nauseam, but to let go of themselves to receive teleologically, to be enriched with divinely sourced meaning.
Contrary to technologically-mediated experience, natural experience does not tend toward strife, but toward peace: it does not prepare for final, universal peace by struggling, but prepares for war—to face compulsion—by growing concentrically-peaceful.  Whereas technology makes us weak and violent—fragmenting/disintegrating our natural aspirations— naturally cultivated senses make us strong and peacefully dangerous.
Finally, technology teaches us to feel in new ways, channeling and fueling feeling by alienating it from its immanent spring, leading us to identify our “feeling good” with our “being good,” until we swear that to be is simply to feel.
In our technological age, information feeds our feeling, until we identify our own being with our own technologically-spun feelings.  I am supposed to be what I feel, that is, what I feel like being.  If I feel like a kangaroo, something must be wrong with what counters my feeling, rather than with my feeling.  Nature itself, perhaps even God—be he alive, or be he dead—must have given me a wrong body, for it does not correspond to my feeling.  On the other hand, what is given to me “by nature,” cannot be fixed, as our evolutionary sciences tell us.  The body we are “given” at birth can be changed and indeed is radically open to infinite “evolving” possibilities.
It is perhaps our duty, even our destiny to carry on the work of pre-reflective evolution by modifying our bodies in the medium of technology to match our feelings.  Yet, our feelings themselves are now mediated by technology.  Technology does not merely modify my body to agree with my feelings; it modifies my feelings by way of justifying intervention in modifying my body.  Technology flatters my feelings by way of preparing them to embrace a new technologically-mediated body, a body that does not take its bearings from an “inner God,” but by a “divine machine,” an exogenous agent.
It would then be a mistake to conceive our technology as simply alienating us from our feelings.  What technology does is alienate feelings from their inner source, promising them “infinitely progressing power” at the price of oblivion of an original reason.  Technology promises a new freedom as new Machiavellian virtue in exchange for betrayal of commitment to an old goodness unmixed with evil.
A new promised land delineates itself on the horizon of our everyday consciousness, as we are projected out of our senses to enter a soulless idol that is supposed to complete us, restoring our long-lost peace.  We are now compelled to leap forward into the idol.  Yet, since taken “individualistically” the idol must disappoint us, an idol-production industry is set up, retaining us in a stream of continuous leaps forward/outward and corresponding disappointments, as our senses are systematically, unwittingly raped and depleted till our last hour, our very last sigh.
Such is the lugubrious predicament of the children of our Age of Information/Entertainment, where technological providence caters to our feelings by way of destroying them, seducing us into feeling like Gods in the act of reducing us to the condition of swine.

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