Essay on the influence of IT and its technocratical context on human self-perception, written in 2003 for the magazine the muse apprentice guild
text | translation into english alexandra reill | vienna 2003
production kanonmedia | vienna 2003
publisher august highland / the muse apprentice guild | new york city | us | winter 2003
how much the turmoils of technocratism and globalization were enhancing a general relapse into old patterns of behavior …
the so-called new age, called IT for some time already, kept climbing – international recession included – the great ladder of success. for another while it would work wonders for new megalomaniac tendencies, nothing but the archaic, superstitious belief in human omnipotence, now having become one of the most insidious tools of capitalism.
all Enlightenment had been used to turn human ratio into the only god. the supremacy of logical thinking was holding possession and vanity for all those millions of people as reward for their material longings. and they worshipped the mechanism. it was still an age of male war games, lop-sided battling and the strive for unconditioned, unlimited power.
playful analogies, intuitive associations, smiling fun, tolerant understanding and nourishing peace had lost their impact in an achievement-oriented world. they were not useful any more, they just stopped the process of progression and with their slow pace and inefficiency behindered the victory of rational thinking over death – a victory which religions and philosophies, arts and cultures as much as playful passion and unreflected being with all their different gateways to the sublimation of final mysteries had been managing ever since humankind can remember.
now analogy and all its associates had to die, they needed to step out of the way, behindering too massively the unavoidable winner’s strike of digitalization aimed at scattering, distraction and a fragmentation of the human soul. a traitor this analog soul was, wanting oneness, being oneness. it had to suffer the death-sentence, if the demon of power even if never held well by humans wanted to succeed.
technical constraints, so-called practical necessities of technocratism offered an ideal basis for the prohibition of all further democratic proceedings of human rights. in a perfect way the IT-age held all arguments needed for the successful revival of classical, conservative and patriarchic structures of power.
discussions were not needed any more. out of their free will, millions of people followed, with a lack of discrimination, without criticism, without any doubts. the addiction to egocentric recognition and unlimited omnipotence opened all doors to individuals’ suppression and consumers’ standardization of needs, wishes and behavior. greed, embedded in the fiction of safety as suggested by consumerism, served as the perfect instrument to make everybody be part of the game voluntarily. and of course everybody needed to possess the tools to join. insidious mechanism. self-fulfilling prophecies. christian superstition, a philistine system, developed to excess.
the machines perfectly fulfilled their subversive purpose of conditioning. it was so easy to make each individual feel and look as the guilty one, the one to be blamed, the bumsteer, the one having lost value, signification, importance, the one having lost significance and having become worthless. the cpu always seemed to work faster than the human brain. always, it seemed to be a step ahead. quickly the wrong conlusion had been made to appreciate the binary code as a system allowing fast counting as superior tool to the human brain with all its mannigfold functions not showing themselves clearly, not letting themselves define nor specify. the secret had been too big, too mysterious, too hard to handle and to make profit from. it had been necessary to hurry and make people keep up with the pace.
the complexity of understanding and perceiving, feeling and acting had been left behind, unnoticed.
nobody could ever win against the computer, the machine always knew what it did, left no doubt, no errors, no variations, no deviations. the fight to escape conditioning through its mechanisms, through its constraint nature was taking too much energy. it was endless, thus the loss of valid experiences of success pre-programmed and the death of analog feeling, intuitive creation, subconscious, spontaneous acting staged successfully through the use of the substitute machine.
the complexity of understanding and perceiving, feeling and acting had been left behind, defamed.
sensitive discrimination and critical approaching had always been an offense to industrialization, to monopolization. now even sensuous perception and being, living itself, belonged to the enemies. millions of serial workers ex gratia, generations of new assembly-line workers were much more useful for maintaining the fiction of power. people did not mind to become slaves again.
for hours and hours the machine was keeping people busy, it always had priority. as if it was one’s best friend. sometimes it caused anger, but always people could get lost in it, in themselves, without any need to communicate, without having to direct their energy outwards. it was perfect for maintaining normed views on the world through full isolation.
it always made sense to stay with the computer, as it promised completion and fulfilment. in reality it only created a fake of sense, a fake of efficiency, as in the end no task ever presented itself as completed. the option of fulfilling a task did not exist on the computer – blind spots, irreversible errors, and open tasks always left their traces. in the end, the user always had his/her reward dashed and work remained an endless task. technical constraints made it clear to everybody, no questions needed to be asked: there was simply no chance that it could be different …
through their individual belief in the myth of omnipotence existing in the way it had been suggested for some centuries people supported the battle even if it demanded its tribute. material poverty, social gapping and physical disorders were created through the use of the computer, malfunctions perfect for being projected onto oneself, best not to be talked about, tabooed for not being conspicuous in an age of new-old euphories about winning the money & prestige game. the insidious mechanism offered perfect feedback to the individual who could take it all as a personal matter instead of understanding the feedback as a phenomenon of modern society and the impact of such an old idea as the one of progress.
disturbances of plain well-being had become a normal state of being, occurred regularly and kept on manifesting themselves in various ways. the least noticed ones were malfunctions of sensuous, integrating perception. they were caused by a lack of sensousness, physical, material experiences, associative searching, a lack of touching, simply a lack of analog joy.
nobody was wondering, everybody kept on trying … so it was true: the fictitious search for more, for power, for omnipotence was still reigning the world, more than ever. it made itself look sublime and sophisticated, and it managed well. but it did not change a thing. nothing else but greed it was.
PERFECT INSTRUMENTS published in
— the muse apprentice guild / nyc / us / 03