During the past week, since I had published the excerpt from the manuscript for my next book, Shrinking the Technosphere, I received a number of responses that were somewhat disconcerting. Some people couldn't approach the concept of the technosphere without having a dictionary definition at their disposal. Others thought that I was just presenting some warmed-over version of a concept that's already been fully expounded by Jacques Ellul, Teilhard de Chardin and others. A few more thought my task hopeless because hardly anyone would be capable of grasping the concept.
I think I can guess the reason for this negative attitude. It has two main causes: intellectualism and denial.
Intellectualism is a sort of psychological disorder whose main symptom is an inability to combine one's intellectualizing with the work of one's emotional and physical centers. The result is a hollow being who uses big words and fancy concepts to camouflage a profound fecklessness. We can only be whole beings if we find ways to combine the work of our three centers—intellectual, emotional and physical—in a harmonious way. Ignore any one of them, and what you have is a slightly crippled being; ignore two, and what you have is an invalid.
Denial is easier to explain. People who are well and fully trapped within the technosphere and cannot imagine life outside of it are not likely to be receptive to the idea of it going away. It may be possible to convince them, using rational argument, that the technosphere's days are numbered, and that they need to get themselves clear of it if they wish the human experiment to continue. But even when convinced on a purely intellectual level, without the emotional resilience or the physical stamina to transform their personalities and to drastically alter their habits all they can do is sit there and blink. As to why that is, see the previous paragraph.
Of the previous generations of thinkers, Jacques Ellul came the closest to comprehending the nature and scope of the technosphere as a parasitic emergent intelligence that is infesting and destroying the biosphere. But as far as recommendations for what to do about this problem, Ellul pretty much assumed the fetal position and sucked his thumb. He was a devout Catholic, and I suppose he sort of assumed that the Kingdom of Heaven will arrive one day, technosphere or no technosphere, so let's just scribble about it while awaiting salvation. Apparently, he couldn't conceive of the fact that organized monotheistic religion is a social machine par excellence, and as such is merely an aspect of the very technosphere he was critiquing. Such an intellectual!
The person who first nailed the technosphere for what it is was Ted Kaczynski, a.k.a. The Unabomber, who is serving out eight consecutive life sentences in the Florence, Colorado, Supermax Penitentiary. In his most recent profile update, which he submitted to the Harvard alumni association a few years back, he lists his eight life sentences as his achievements and his current occupation as “prisoner.” If you want to send him a postcard for his birthday (he is turning 74 on May 22) his address is “No. 04475-046, US Penitentiary—Max, P.O. Box 8500, Florence, CO 81226-8500.”
Ted's discovery of the technosphere was accidental. He was a mathematical child prodigy who was admitted to Harvard at age 15 and earned his Ph.D. and became an assistant professor at Berkeley ten years later. While he was at Harvard, starting at age 16, he was made the subject of the MKULTRA mind control experiment. In it, gifted students who volunteered for the program were taken into a room and connected to electrodes that monitored their physiological reactions while facing bright lights and a one-way mirror. Then they were brutally confronted with their inner demons which they had divulged to their interrogators during screening tests, all the while being dosed with LSD and other mind-altering drugs.
This, I believe, was the formative experience which allowed Ted to see the technosphere for what it is. He was victimized by the bit of the technosphere that is by far the nastiest: the part that seeks to make humans one hundred percent controllable, as if they were robots, by breaking down everything about them that makes them human. I am certain that he caught a glimpse of what it is: a single, unified, global, controlling, growing, destructive entity, existing beyond human reason or morality, which must be stopped no matter the cost.
Thus, Ted is not just an intellectual scribbler: he is someone who actually spent three days and three nights in the belly of the beast. He wrote:
As I see it, I don't think there is any controlled or planned way in which we can dismantle the industrial system. I think that the only way we will get rid of it is if it breaks down and collapses.
The way he chose to live his life was not the path of the intellectual who is able to completely ignore the problem in his daily life while timidly scribbling about it in some dusty corner. He quit his position at Berkeley, built his cabin in Montana and moved in. He lived there without telephone, electricity or running water, on very little money, and studied tracking, edible plant identification and primitive skills. He chose to not be part of the problem; if everyone lived like Ted, then there would be no technosphere for me to write about.
But that all changed when one day he discovered that the Forest Service destroyed one of his favorite wild spots and replaced it with a service road. That's when he switched to studying bomb-making. He was never very good at it, and his tally of a paltry three dead and 23 injured attests to this fact. But then his aims were limited to achieving notoriety:
In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we’ve had to kill people.
As Barak Obama, who destroyed four entire countries (Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine) would perhaps have put it, “We had to kill some folks.” (His predecessor, Bush Jr., only destroyed 1.5 countries—Iraq and the remaining half of Afghanistan; I wonder if this qualifies as “progress.”) Yes, Ted broke the commandment that “Thou shalt not kill,” but perhaps you've noticed that it was changed to “Thou shalt not kill unless so ordered” quite a long time ago. Ted's crime is not that he killed some folks (lots of people get medals, promotions and pensions for committing acts of murder) but that he didn't kill as a servant of the technosphere.
The most severe criticism that can be leveled at Ted is that his methods were unsound: there are other, more efficient ways of achieving notoriety. As a genius, he could have written a best-seller. But then that's just second-guessing. He saw a pressing need—to destroy the technosphere before it finishes destroying the biosphere, and us with it—and he didn't want to take any chances on methods that might not work. The problem of finding a method that would work is nontrivial. Ted clearly saw that what was needed was some sort of revolution, but he couldn't see very far past that:
We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system. This revolution may or may not make use of violence; it may be sudden or it may be a relatively gradual process spanning a few decades. We can’t predict any of that.
He was extremely clear on one point: that the needed change could not possibly come from any place on the existing political spectrum. He was quite withering in his critique of the liberal left which, he thought, excelled in the extreme hypocrisy of championing the cause of groups it thought to be inferior in order to oppress all of society through oversocialization, feminization and the imposition of political correctness. This was mostly the work of heterosexual white males, for nothing much can happen without their approval and support:
The guardians of political correctness (mostly white, uppper-middle-class heterosexuals) identify with groups of people they see as weak or inferior while denying (even to themselves) that they consider them to be such.
Among “leftist issues,” Kaczynski counts “racial equality, equality of the sexes, helping poor people, peace as opposed to war, nonviolence generally, freedom of expression, kindness to animals.” Please note that “destroying the technosphere before it destroys what's left of the biosphere and us with it” is nowhere on this list.
So much for the liberals. As far as the conservatives, he skewers them with a single remark:
The conservatives are fools: they whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can’t make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society without causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.
Ted didn't say it, but I will: both ends of the political spectrum, and all points in between, are merely projections of the technosphere. The political parties are social machines, and different mechanized political tasks call for different kinds of machinery. The conservative machine excels at direct, undisguised brutality, which works just fine but is rather expensive. The liberal machine achieves its goals, such as political domination, bureaucratic control, fostering dependency, suppression of social separatism, rendering populations defenseless by advocating nonviolence, imposition of inflated standards, destruction of local cultures through enforced cultural heterogeneity (to name a few)—and it achieves these goals through hypocrisy, which, consisting of mere disingenuous words, is quite cheap. But the moment hypocrisy stops working, there is always the conservative Plan B: march in the goon squad and bust some heads. If you want a brilliant contemporary example of this mechanism at work, look no further than the current presidential contest in the US: on the liberal side we have the congenital liar, hypocrite and crook Clinton vs. the reincarnation of Benito Mussolini, thuggish goon extraordinaire Trump.
So much for politics... But what of the revolution? Somebody has to carry it off, or we all die. Well, I have an idea. It is very simple in concept, and rather involved in its details. The idea is that we can abscond with the few bits of the technosphere we need while causing the rest of it to crash and burn prematurely merely through carefully thought-out technology selection. It doesn't have to be an organized movement: when people see the system failing them, their minds naturally turn to finding ways of providing for their autonomy, self-sufficiency and freedom. I have no intention of telling people what technologies to select; I only seek to provide them with a sound process for making the selections. As far as learning all the details, you'll just have to wait until the book comes out.
P.S. I haven't been as thorough in repudiating technology as Ted, but I am no pure intellectual either. In fact, I haven't repudiated technology at all; I have merely become very careful in selecting it. I do own a cell phone, a laptop, a bicycle and a few other bits of carefully selected technology. Nor am I any fan of gaining notoriety by killing and maiming and other such unsound methods; merely typing on a laptop is working just fine for me. And I didn't move to a cabin in Montana; instead, I sold the house and the car, quit the job and went sailing.
Beautiful stuff! Tuesday mornings are such a tonic for me. Looking forward to the complete book. Signed up to be told. Thanks Dmitry, and solidarity.
Hope you are well. I am sure Spring is coming early there, as it is here in Altai. Keep in touch... never sell the laptop, until the lights go out. ;-)
Dependence on technology weakens man's moral stamina. Technology asks for a lot of money, and to get it a man must make many moral compromises. When society consists of millions of such individuals the result is corruption and collapse.
Now THIS is a GENUINELY BRILLIANT post. "Terrible Ted" was an advanced soul who saw through all the bullshit decades before the rest of us and was willing to make the personal sacrifices to "do what needed to be done." A TRULY GREAT man!
Going forward, we might all make it our habit to continuously analyze the distinctions between critical life-supporting 'needs' like food, shelter & health vs. more flexible 'wants' like art, entertainment and communication. Needs are best met with resilient low tech, low impact methods, while wants can be satisfied with higher tech because they are by nature ephemeral.
Industrial society is designed to make human needs and wants equivalent, thereby making us all hostage to it. If you can disconnect your needs from that system, then you can still use it to satisfy some modest wants as long as you are able to barter or pay for those goods and services. When the technosphere eventually runs down and stops, you will be disappointed but not devastated.
Great two essays in a row, Dmitri.
Hard to argue with.
I just want to emphasize how much I agree with you on balance. I was just telling the same things to a deeply troubled, sometimes suicidal friend of mine. He is brilliant. He can create giant systems, understand non-proven theories of consciousness, expound about universals... yet he is miserable and alone.
And he believes every progressive/liberal illusion. And he can't, for example, tolerate skepticism about official narratives (e.g. 9/11). He will even agree with the evidence against the narrative, but he says that contemplating where it leads is too painful.
Anyway, no balance. No physicality.
I have improved my own mental health by 100% in the past few years by pure experimentation with herbal supplements, and REMOVING stuff from my diet.
I removed fluoride, and my long-standing depression and ADHD went 90% away.
Very few people believe me. Why is that? I re-added the fluoride for a bit, and got worse.
I removed the fluoride by chance when I installed an RO filter to remove the pesticides and crap from our water.
I am very inspired by your latest idea. I am actually ready to try to convince my wife for a radical rethink of our lives.
This is sort of a joke, sort of not: are you willing to (for pay) talk to my wife personally? Kind of a counseling thing.
What is to become of us technophiles? I truly enjoy technology for its own sake. The challenge of solving a problem and the satisfaction of creation. Thankfully for me, the technosphere is not a thing as much as it is a continuum. Exponential growth of anything means it will not end well, but there will always be technology.
Assuming I am not dead, I fully expect to participate in technology triage. This will be simpler than one might expect, because interdependency will render most items immediately useless, assuming that they were not useless from inception.
As for the remainder, most is simply not repairable and that which is, will rely on old farts like me. This is because in spite of all our gadgetry we are a profoundly ignorant and unskilled society.
When we revert, kicking and screaming, to a simpler life I will continue to design and create. We may descend through all my more primitive skill sets (lead babbitt bearings anyone?)and I will be as inept as any Metrosexual Fanboi. Not to worry. Rocks and sticks may become our new technology, but we will adapt because that is what man does.
In the next cycle, we may become more insightful, but I doubt it.
REALLY enjoyed this post! Funnily over the past year I've been whittling down my dependence on all things "Lectrical" I'm down to one light, my fridge, cell phone and computer. Occasionally use the washing machine. The more I pare down, the happier I feel, my garden and back field should be producing well this year too.
Also trying to whittle down dependence on dosh/money.
Living in Bulgaria where everything is much less expensive, does help. Eventually I hope to just whittle it down to barter, maybe even by the end of this year!
Wrestling through Ellul's "The Technological Society" as translated to English was quite tough for me as a native English speaker. Is it any easier in its native French for those raised with French as their first language? What I've assumed to be a Mennonite fondness for the phrase "over against" plagues the majority of Ellul translations. Dmitry's calling out of Jacques' deism and the analytical handicaps which accompany it are to my mind spot-on.
I'm reminded of Wendell Berry's famous rules for technology, which have always struck a sentimental chord:
1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.
I also can't not mention Kirkpatrick Sale's "Rebels Against the Future" as an enjoyable read on the original Luddites.
Good blog Dimitri. I have a few more things to add in the sense of what is missing or perhaps another way of seeing the technosphere.
The two elements I want to mention are psychological projection and the religious impulse. In projection we see in something other (human, non-human, system) what we are unaware of in ourselves. Often projection is accompanied by a strong emotion towards the other (hate, love, attraction, disgust) and with a strong sense of being right in our view or feeling even though we don't know much about the other (what the other is thinking, its history, etc). So as an example someone sees a person of the opposite sex and believes she/he is the one for her/him without knowing the other at all. The religious impulse (etymological root to bind or connect)has always been with us. It causes us to seek out spiritual/soul connection (in nature, others, God (s)). In the time of "God is dead" in our secular culture the impulse had to go somewhere and so it went on to technology. In technology resides our spiritual impulse and a projection by some of their own soul on a digital piece of something either to use it, to create it or to serve it. It is now our societies savior like Jesus for our sins of destroying the planet. I hope you can see the direction I'm going here.
So with Ted perhaps he changed when something he felt a soul projection on, a religious impulse towards was destroyed. Well what do people do when something they believe in strongly is destroyed?
So for me technology/the technosphere is a product of projection and the religious impulse that has produced a new religion. The last part carries an implicit vagueness (the hidden evil technosphere) about it because it is hidden by human unconsciousness of this nature. Technology is a form of materialism, an extension materialistic science, and it is a quasi religion that ends for some fundamentalists of this view in a materialistic version of the Rapture, i.e., the Singularity.
This probably doesn't make any sense but I gave it a shot in such limited space.
What a post. I am writing up, in the form of a blog, my memoirs of the unusual place I grew up (hawaii) and trying to capture the odd quirks of the place in the 1970s and 80s and also the "interesting" social situation there (hint: it's not great to be white there) and in the process, looked up one of the streets I lived on using Google Street View.
The place is unrecognizable. I could not find my own old house, nor any other houses I recognized at all. The street is full of foliage, from huge Mainland type, non-native pine trees, to all kinds of other stuff, doubtless not native to Hawaii. When we lived there, the landscape was almost entirely native, and it may not have looked that great to someone who's just moved over and bought their $1.2 million dollar house there, but we liked it fine, because it "was". It was what it was supposed to be. I used to sit and listen to the native birds, go pick some native fruit, whittle native wood, it was great. Now it just looks like a street in Santa Barbara.
I'm about the same as the rest of you; got a small fridge/freezer, a radio, a few old laptops, and a "dumb phone". Bike or bus pass to get around. About the minimum amount of tech it takes to live and work in the US.
If Ted had only understood that the pen often IS mightier than the sword. John Brown's Rebellion killed some folks, and arguably did nothing for the emancipation cause. Whoever it is who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin stuck a much bigger blow for the end of slavery. Yeah, writing's hard, and you've got to write a lot of "meh" stuff before you get into your swing, but you, Dmitry, and Druid Dude have shown that if you get in there and keep plugging, you can get places. Ted's manifesto is hard going, but over time he'd have become a better writer and have been able to get his ideas across so clearly that he could have started a major movement.
I asked for your or the groups definition of "technosphere" in order to understand. I just never have done the hive mind thing. I have always been the one to ask the unaskable that everyone else somehow knows.
I still don't get it. A subset of people have always been mean, greedy and controlling. Doing that with machines is more effective but self limiting. Preserving selected "technology" special for you does not prevent mean people from using it for themselves later.
The problem I see is with people. Machines can be used for good or bad, they don't care.
Oh well. Good to know I'm a feckless intellectually crippled victim of the left. I'm on welfare. I would be dead without it.
Time to get back to the micro machine shop. If I fail to estimate that my Toxic Encephalopathy is too awful I will be bleeding again. The drill press doesn't care.
It's a shame Ted chose the path he did, as the technosphere knows exactly how to respond to violence. Overall your concept is an excellent one for helping out the average pleb to make sense of a necessary shift in values and actions that at times sting of hypocrisy. I'm teaching myself to weld right now even though it's grid dependent tech, but the goal is to fix and create tools without supporting the disposable anti-economy.
Shouts out to windwardhaole. While you may have had some bad experiences being a white guy on this island, I'd say take it with a grain of salt and appreciate the fact that you get to have a genuine experience here that most Americans will never get, trapping them in their delusional madness of empire and totally clueless and horrified as it inexplicably collapses around them. If the elections are getting you down, I'd consider the recent work of Williamson Chang who basically laid it out at the Smithsonian last week that the Republic of Hawaii never legally ceased to exist, and we are currently living in occupied territory. With US hegemony waning each day, there's a possibility of figuring a way to duck out of the inevitable civil war coming to the mainland, but the cost of it is trying to bridge the local racial and socioeconomic fissures which the technosphere has worked so hard to exploit with blood quantums, water rights, homelessness, etc.
I have read Uncle Ted's work, and in it there is a lot to be admired. However, it must be said that Racism and Patriarchy are also a part of the technosphere. Indigneous people are still wiped out for technological "progress," and non white people are more often than not living in closer proximity to toxic pollution than white people. Black children in africa die to bring us coltan for cell phones while asian children assemble them in factories.
"Whiteness," as it is, was invented by the capitalist system to delineate levels of slave and worker, and to keep the tiers from organizing in resistance. The black bodies filling American jails is part of the technosphere, and white people who recognize this arent somehow missing the big problem. John Brown was a proper accomplice to the black slaves who were rising up against their masters and and the organized system that held them in bondage. White people who riot with black people in Ferguson, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Oakland are no different.
The social role of the women as baby gestator and homemaker was invented by the needs of the industrializing technological system. Women demanding equality with men is not some program to weaken otherwise strong males. In fact, autonomous, educated women have fewer children, thus taxing the ecology of the planet less
Political liberals may be often wrong headed in their approaches to these issues, but that doesnt make these non-issues. And ignoring that bon white people, indigenous nations, and women do a damn good job speaking their own minds and standing up for themselves without the assistance of white men is to ignore a very critical resistance to the technosphere that is currently, and has long been taking place. Eliminating white supremacy and male dominance will go a long, long way towards diminishing the power and reach of the technological system.
He was quite withering in his critique of the liberal left which, he thought, excelled in the extreme hypocrisy of championing the cause of groups it thought to be inferior in order to oppress all of society through oversocialization, feminization and the imposition of political correctness.
Two thoughts on this 1) Not all left-liberals drink the PC-victimologist Kool-Aid. 2) The PC victimologists advocate an oversocialized, neurotic hyper-feminization that is every bit as oppressive in its own way as the oversocialized, neurotic hyper-masculinization it seeks to supplant. Anyone who fails to realize this is part of the problem, to my way of thinking.
I would tend to agree. Ted's methods were unsound. But then you aren't Ted, and never could be.
You seem to be convinced that people, good or bad, are in control of the technosphere. They are not.
Socialism is in some ways more potent a tool of the technosphere than capitalism. I dare say you are attempting to engage in politics.
You don't seem to have a point. Do we need additional critique of the conservatives? No, we don't.
Hi Dmitry - longtime reader and first-time commenter here. I'm curious about your view on how the elements of technology selection you write about interface with the Open Source Ecology movement, which aims to distribute the means of production of certain agricultural and industrial machines.
Or, to put it more completely from the page http://opensourceecology.org/about-overview/:
"OSE is currently developing a set of open source blueprints for the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) – a set of the 50 most important machines that it takes for modern life to exist – everything from a tractor, to an oven, to a circuit maker. In the process of creating the GVCS, OSE intends to develop a modular, scalable platform for documenting and developing open source, libre hardware – including blueprints for both physical artifacts and for related open enterprises."
Some elements may seem a bit optimistic..."One outcome is a world beyond artificial material scarcity..." but the methods and approaches seem to constitute an intelligent response to various predicaments encircling industrial society.
Yes, yes, there's a TED talk... "Open-sourced blueprints for civilization" by Marcin Jacubowski.
TED talks can have the flavor of 'oh-gee-whiz, by the way nothing's wrong with capitalism...now watch, technology's going to save us and here's how!" Jakubowski's talk certainly has the "oh-gee-whiz" factor, but I think it's one strong example of a situation you describe: "when people see the system failing them, their minds naturally turn to finding ways of providing for their autonomy, self-sufficiency and freedom."
When the economy next crashes, people will be asking "why". Previously the answer was supplied and disseminated by the state through mass media. This will not satisfy the modern victim of social upheaval. The cost of information has hit a new low. People can access knowledge with a few keystrokes. Last summer, I saw panhandlers charging cell phones using public electrical outlets and free internet zones are everywhere. As soon as that plasma TV becomes unusable due to repossession, theft, or homelessness, the internet will be the only form of media/information/communication available. The internet is a joker, a zero. Add a zero after any number and it is multiplied by 10. The internet tells you how to grow a garden, how and when to organize, and the instructions for the making the guillotine. Communication is immediate and can become "viral" in a matter of minutes.
The technocrats, in charge of your technosphere, don't realize they will have to negotiate. The elite are building themselves bunkers and protected communities, but society has been globalized by them. How long will they or their lifestyle last when a million dollars and sanctuary is offered for their death or capture?
The whole situation changes when people realize that they will starve, freeze, or dehydrate soon and the government is not going to do anything to help them. The media circus that kept the masses distracted and compliant will disappear leaving the individual to ponder the fundamental questions linked to their continued survival. For a short while the technosphere will disappear. What will replace it?
Will the people ponder, or panic? I love your optimism, jetstove, but everybody
I know is a bigtime internet user, and they're not using it to "access knowledge".
I hope you're right, but I kinda doubt it....
Haven't thought about Ole Ted for a while. He and I used to be neighbors, though I didn't know it til much later. We lived on either side of Stemple Pass; he closer to Lincoln and me to Helena. Tough place to live, especially during the (long) winter.
I read your piece about the new book and I thought to myself, finally someone who understands where the future is headed. I am just a middle aged caretaker with no
great intellectual abilities, the writing is on the wall and you have always spelled it out for us. You are ahead of your time sir, walking on a path to a new paradigm.
Can't wait for the book!
Only peripherally relevant - Dr. Kaczynski was a graduate student at The University of Michigan in the fall of 1964 when I was a freshman there. He served as a teaching fellow for an introductory course in integral calculus, and I was fortunate enough to be in his class. I found him to be an excellent teacher, albeit rather distant socially. A number of times during the semester I went to see him during office hours for help. He patiently answered my freshman-level questions and seemed determined that I master the material in his course.
Thanks for his address, maybe I'll send him a card.
Jetstove where I am (San Jose, California) internet is *not* everywhere. It's actually quite hard to find free wifi. People have smart phones, even older ones, or they have an old flip phone like I have, but books are still very much in demand, and we still have payphones here. Outdoor outlets are likewise rare. When I moved to San Jose I never realized I was moving to the early 90s as far as tech access goes. What's going on here is an exaggerated version of what's happening all over the US; the separation of haves and have-nots. Obviously the "techbros" making $100k a year or more have great internet access, but a huge portion of the population is making the $10k a year I do, and is a great believer in printed books.
Intellectualism and denial are indeed at work here.
Another cause that possibly can be remedied: During the 1st few yrs of human life, infants are subject to implanted "fixed ideas" from massive inflow of data from the immediate environment of sounds, voices, sights, pains, drugs, smells, etc., and even earlier in the womb n even earlier as "past lives", the last a phenomena that can only be experienced subjectively and demonstrated to some individuals in varying degree of clarity and certainty .
All data received by infants is with mostly no inspection or evaluation before it is filed automaticly and unknowingly into memory, unknown yet having potential to cause effects. Such implanted data is processed willy-nilly and can manifest as "fixed ideas" which , as the child and adult develop awareness and inspects/evaluates new data, causes conflict and misunderstanding and stresses, i.e., results such as unworkable viewpoints, ideas and actions or inabilities [see 1 and 2, above].that are clearly identified as irrational by others.
Your mention of "monotheism" is a stark reminder how "fixed ideas" can be troublesome. The existence of any single "god" gives the lie to the denial of other "gods". Certainly, most infants are in receipt of abundant statements of a religious nature that will silently interact later with any consideration that humans have a "spiritual" quality. There is no end of opinions as to what a "spirit" is, yet the subject itself is the victim of countless "fixed ideas" that immediately confuse nearly any serious inquiry.
Thanks for mentioning Ted K. Twice I began reading his Manifesto but never got more than half -way through. I had no significant disagreements, but the dose of concentrated truth and repetition overwhelmed my patience.. IMO, TZ only needed a good editor to smooth the flow of thoughts. I apologize my impatience and slowness to absorb.
Another suggestion. I do not believe that religious catechisms, race superiority, IQ scores, reactionary automaticities [robotic behavior], stupidity, are inherited or passed-on via DNA/RNA mechanisms. The human mind is quite capable of perceiving and storing impressions and passing-on the "recordings" that will and do impact present-time thinking and account for much unwanted mental phenomena. Since modern scientific method should IMO be able to explore and solve for "fixed ideas" and other undesired mental garbage, it needs doing. There are, however vested interests that possibly would desire to monopolize that relevant knowledge and secure its use to suppress other humans. I.e., perhaps the mind is being explored and knowledge hoarded for use only by privileged insiders, and that accounts for my ignorance.
The technosphere as an emergent consciousness, is in some ways then like an egregore, a collective consciousness made up of all the thoughts, deeds, actions, beliefs of a cultural mentality over time. As an egregore achieves consciousness, it develops its own goals, desires, and needs, including "food."
Ted. I was raised in Montana, in Helena. I worked for the Forest Service as an archaeologist in the 1990s. I saw him bicycling by the road a time or two. I taught college students who lived up by Lincoln, who knew him and one baked cookies for him. I read his manifesto and there is truth there, for those who dare recognize truth, and dare state it is truth. But use violence and violence will be used on you. A lot of times even if you -don't- use violence. For me, I seek answers in the writings of the Stoics and the Japanese idea of mono no aware.
I began to write a story once with Ted as a main character. An excerpt: http://tommyknocker.tumblr.com/page/3
If I had to choose whether to die at the hands of nature or the hands of the technosphere, I choose nature. As far as tech that is critical for me, i must have my shovels, books and hand tools. Also my guitars I need. The tech I need is that which is not dependent on other people. I don't need other people to be happy. Alone In The Wilderness is a documentary and good example of how man really does not require anything but himself and nature to be happy. If the technosphere disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn't miss it and would welcome the consequences.
I never misunderstood your theory of the technosphere since I am Deaf. We were the first victims of a major assault propagated by the technosphere, which resulted in the infamous Convention of Milan in 1880. It was there that every nation came together and voted to ban sign language everywhere on the face of the earth and forbid the teaching of sign language anywhere for any reason -- forever.
No other group of people has ever been subjected to anything like that. It was and still is totally unprecedented in human history.
Afterwards, all Deaf schools were converted to oralist schools, all Deaf teachers and professionals were fired from their jobs and positions and replaced with Hearing people and the Deaf entered a Dark Age from which we have never really recovered. The residential schools for the Deaf became torture chambers where waterboarding was common and beatings were also common for anyone who used their hands to communicate. Those born deaf were expected to learn to hear and speak using gimmicks and... gadgets. If they failed, they were swept under a rug and forgotten.
Yes, that is what it was all about: gadgets. The convention was called and organized by Alexander Graham Bell, who was trying to sell hearing gadgets that he had invented, but the market was too small unless everyone who had a hearing problem was forced to buy one. Also, the patents for these devices cost a lot of money and he needed a way to recoup that expense, but he had a severe problem: ASL. ASL was free and competed directly with his expensive hearing gadgets. It also could not be patented or owned or sold because it was a real, living language not within the control of the technosphere. The Deaf had no use for the gadgets of the technosphere or the Industrial Age, so they had to be dealt with.
Today, just mentioning this man's name in front of a group of Deaf people will elicit stares, as for all practical purposes you have just summoned the devil. Yes, Alexander is considered to be the devil incarnate among the Deaf, and few will even sign his name. He destroyed the Golden Age of Deaf Education and Equality just so that he could have a monopoly on selling gadgets that we did not want.
Herein lies the true evil of the technosphere. Even today, those of us who refuse to wear useless hearing aids are reviled and despised by government social workers, not to mention society in general, which believes we have no right to use ASL when there is a gadget that "might" allow us to "guess" at what some Hearing person is saying. And so there it is. We are useless because we don't want the corporate gadgets made for us nor do we need them, and this is an unpardonable sin within the technosphere.
Some may consider this real New Age stuff, but having seen the rock myself, he makes his point about technology abundantly clear.
Have I mentioned to you lately that you are one of the great minds of our time??? Funny too!
Dmitry - I will be first to admit I could never be Ted. First, a genius-level mathematician, those are very very rare. Secondly, voluntarily opted out to go live in the woods on literally a few hundred $ a year. That's not easy to do. Thirdly, he acted on his convictions. I like to think that if he worked on his writing, he may have become more influential and you know, not a prisoner, but then, there are a lot of writers out there who are unrecognized and meanwhile Ted has plenty of notoriety these days.
Always love the humor Dmitry . . . and I've never heard what DeVaul shared about Alexander Graham Bell. Astonishing! Thank you DeVaul and Dmitry.
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