The Limits of Technology and Spiritual Resistance

When does a technological process stop and say, “You know something guys, I think you all have had enough for now, a whole society addicted to smartphones, an entire generation of children’s brains fractured to the glow of pixilated screens, internet sensors in all of your appliances and automobiles, tech companies controlling the world; you know something, I just think you guys had enough for now.”

The answer of course is never.

On the far contrary, a global technological process such as the one we are now subject to can only say, “More. You people need more. And you will get more whether you like it or not.”

This is not a paranoid statement. What I have just said is perhaps the most rational statement you have seen on social media in a while.

One of the great insights of the french sociologist Jacques Ellul and his critique of technology is that technology is not “Just how you use it,” perhaps the ultimate naive statement human beings make regarding technology. Technology is rather an autonomous System that is running far more independently of human agency than we easily comprehend.

We are at a moment in time, an inflection point really, in which we are slowly becoming conscious that this global technological machine is actually alive; that it has its own desires and programs, and those desires are very different than ours.

The problem with technology, especially this iteration of neoliberal technology, is not that it “steals our data” or “infringes on our privacy” — this is the least of our problems.

The problem is far, far greater that simply “stealing data” and “concerns of privacy.” The techno-capitalist Machine needs to be completely re-programmed in some way.

And, in my opinion, this is only possible through a shift in consciousness, a spiritual awakening of some kind; an “Event” that re-polarizes human subjectivity and Planet Earth away from the rhythm of global capitalism and computational power.

Political interventions will no longer work. There is just too much computing power to contend with now.

writer, filmmaker, cultural theorist / author of 15 books and writer/director of 3 films. www.brianculkin.com

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