I wrote about technology only because I saw the need to balance the metaphysics of the other books ("Self" -- for one) with a thought that our everyday revolutions are the process of resurrection.
NB. The story will introduce only in fragments here.
Bad Theories, Wrong Subjects
Summary"Задача человека состоит в изменении всего природного, дарового в произведенное трудом, в трудовое".<<52>>
Notes"Нирвана - это безусловная, абсолютная Суббота... Для христианства праздник должен быть днем дела",<<53>>
BEING GOD and AN ILLUSION OF BEING GOD? BOTH!
Modern psychology, at its high point, represented the ultimate attempt at treating life, scientifically, as a machine -- that is, a working part of the productive body. (Deleuze, 219)
PART ONE: THE WORK
1.1. THE WAY OF RESURRECTION: TECHNOLOGY
1.1.2. Demons, Angels and Machines1
1.2. THE SUPER-MACHINES: COMPUTERS
1.3. I AND MACHINE
2. GESTELL: WISDOMS OF THE GERMAN CHRISTIAN MIND
Two General Theories
3. [From _God's Diary_]
4. HELLO, DR. FRANKENSTEIN
PRELUDE #666From mmakonne@VT.EDUMon Feb 26 00:02:50 1996 To: Multiple recipients of list ETHIOPIA
Subject: Re: 666 - The number of the beast.
In the bible, in the chapters of Revelations, it was prophesied that at the end time (during the 2nd coming of Jesus),2 the beast will assign 666 to all men and nobody could buy or sell without this number.
Just three days ago, on a discovery channel, I heard some prominent scientists and economists talking about the breakthrough of the invention of bio-metric Card which will be used very soon to replace the flow of cash money and they said that this bio-metric Card will be assigned to all men in the world and nobody can sell or buy without it. ....... .......This number of the beast - 666 was prophesied in the book of revelation 2000 years ago and it is being fulfilled in front of our eyes right now. The biblical prophesies are being fulfilled one by one in front of our eyes. It is up to us to open our spiritual eyes to really see the fulfillment of the biblical prophesies......
On that same note please read the following. It is quite interesting - if not funny.
"Woe to you, oh earth and sea. For the Devil sends the Beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short. Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number of the Beast, for it is a human number. Its number is six hundred and sixty-six." Revelations (New Testament)
The real name of the Microsoft C.E.O. is William Henry Gates III. Nowadays he is known as Bill Gates (III), where "III" means the order of the third (3rd).
By converting the letters of his current name to their equivalent ASCII values and adding his (III), you get the following:
Bill GatesB - 66 I - 73 L - 76 L - 76
G - 71 A - 65 T - 84 E - 69 S - 83 + 3 _________ 666 !!!
Some might ask, "How did Bill Gates get so powerful?" Coincidence? Or just the beginning of mankind's ultimate and total enslavement???
Before you decide, consider the following:M S - D O S 6 . 2 1 77+83+45+68+79+83+32+54+46+50+49= 666
W I N D O W S 9 5 87+73+78+68+79+87+83+57+53+1= 666
regards, Michael Makonnen
"Once the last trace of emotion has been eradicated, nothing remains of thought but absolute tautology." Adorno
1.1. THE WAY OF RESURRECTION: TECHNOLOGY
Being and Existence according to PC
It's not true that machines have no feelings. They have "their" emotions, which we don't understand. Artificial intelligence? Oh, we try to "humanize" them, we don't know the Other world. The Greeks did it, the Christians. Angels do not cry, trust me. Life and living, the arrogance! We can't imagine the jump between "life" and "death" which a machine experiencing being turned on and off. We should re-think our theories about Being and Nothing. The only help I could find -- the theologians (who became saints) thinking about the non-human nature.
You see, the separation of thought and emotion is very human. In our build-in duality we like to think "dialectically" -- theory and praxis, life and death, subject-object, and etc. Are we sure that there's no other way of "thinking"? What if an idea has not less "life" than me?
Computer is a machine in appearance only. Hardware, the body of the intelligence, or more properly, a place. The absence of "body" in computer is the reason for not having emotions. Does the software pushes the development of cybernetics? As if in Creation, the angelic world was in existence before the corporeal world. According to Aquinas:
Hence the perfection of the universe requires that there should be intellectual creatures. Now intelligence cannot be the action of a body, nor of any corporeal faculty; for every body is limited to "here" and "now." Hence the perfection of the universe requires the existence of an incorporeal creature.
The invisible, silent work of my computer -- scary more than a rocket: "But the very fact that intellect is above sense is a reasonable proof that there are some incorporeal things comprehensible by the intellect alone." (Aquinas I, 50, 1) The view from above on me in from of the screen, struggling to "understand" -- what is strange position! Why is it so difficult for me? As if the answers do not exist! Perhaps my senses are the darkness my mind has to get through. Computer has no body, free from sensitivity and we think that we are superior beings!
Further "angels, compared to God, are material and corporeal." We are both, the double natured, what a material! By the way, that's how the world was created. God's wish (thought) is very material and corporeal. What we call "matter" in fact is the matter of the second degree. What is the nature of the first, angelic universe?
Although there is no composition of matter and form in an angel, yet there is act and potentiality. And this can be made evident if we consider the nature of material things which contain a twofold composition. The first is that of form and matter, whereby the
nature is constituted. Such a composite nature is not its own existence but existence is its act. Hence the nature itself is related to its own existence as potentiality to act. Therefore if there be no matter, and supposing that the form itself subsists without matter, there nevertheless still remains the relation
of the form to its very existence, as of potentiality to act. And such a kind of composition is understood to be in the angels; and this is what some say, that an angel is composed of, "whereby he is," and "what is," or "existence," and "what is," as Boethius says. For "what is," is the form itself subsisting; and the existence itself is whereby the substance is; as the running is whereby the runner runs. But in God "existence" and "what is" are not different as was explained above (3, 4). Hence God alone is pure act.
Whence it is said (De Causis, prop. 16) that "intelligence is finite from above," as receiving its being from above itself, and is "infinite from below," as not received in any matter.
"Although there is no composition of matter and form in an angel, yet there is act and potentiality...." Does my "soul" have a similar nature? The postmodern re-discovers "what is" (existence) from our (human) side. "God alone is pure act"! Is anything corporeal a potentiality?
Kierkegaard (files): Why did existence become the central category? No preconditions for God's existence. No begining or end. Impossible to know. Absurdism? Perhaps. We always knew the God's essence is very different from our "human nature".... Till we discovered ourselves as gods. What a shock!
Nietzsche's eternal return makes me infinite without losing finite forms. Repetition always breeds difference (Deleuze)?
I do not live with animals, but machines. Do I live with humans? Through machines (four hours of daily tv). Processed through the media (high-tech) any message is emotionally re-arranged. It's not a private contact and it will never be -- it has to be "mass" address. One-dimensional feelings are mechanized, that much the machine could "feel." Feelings of a stone? At the bottom of emotionality. The less corporeal is the more emotional?
.... Yes, I wrote about this angelic nature of film in POV, but the subject is more serious. I think we do not see the whole picture, do not see that only now we are entering true human history. I am sorry, comrade Marx, for my endless attacks on communism, which in fact wanted "to change the world, instead of explaining it"... Only with the new technologies we ALL could finnaly do the HUMAN WORK.
Devils and angels are brothers, not comrades, but their civil war ended with the end of the world. No more division between evil and good, said the situationalists and relativists. Chyrnoble -- the evil of good. When the machine of paradise breaks down (because of the damn humans), we call it an accident.
We saw it all in folk culture. Devil and the machine, mad scientists, they colonized the pm mind. How did the heroics of modernism became the army of evil and villains? Paradise is a machine! No kidding.
Angels are forms, "immaterial."
Form is act, according to Aquinas.
The hard instrumentalists; not only they don't believe in angels but they don't understand cybernetics. They are up for a surprise. No, I must take it back; nothing ever will surprise them, the workers. Nature is a machine too, is it not? Sure.
.... Yes, I have to talk about angels and machines, because "constructing" GodHead begins from the bottom -- new man, divine creatures and so on -- only then God Himself.
1.1.2. Demons, Angels and Machines
At first glance the Machine looks like the opposite of the incorporeal. Tools are extremely materialistic. WE needed the Industrial Revolution to get to the manufacturing production when the idea of COPY was first accomplished. The machines began to produce machines. Now it seems that our high tech strives to go beyond corporeal nature, because the material appearance of a machine is not a "body" but an assumed form.
"Life" of a machine needs a special attention and definition (from Tomism to Pomism). To save time I went to the classics on this matter -- St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologica." We already know that technology become possible because of the Christianity with its maniacal insistence on separation of body and spirit. The holy fathers saw the problematics of the non-human being in understanding God, a superior Being next to life. Since we in a position of creating (new life?), we should see ourselves in this non-human situation. We have to separate ourselves from the living, which is usually goes under name of "alienation." Technology is not an extension of me, but an extract, and therefore is in opposition. Since my human quality is intellect, technology must be seen as super-human being. Computer is a break away from the living and the corporeal being. Finally, the civilization has arrived to the point of departure from existence in material sense. We are leaving "this world" (Baudrillard thinks "replacing") by creating the new one. This process (progress) could be viewed as a factual return to God.
.... Maybe better if I would use the pix of American Communism... I understood that I am to live in the workers paradise on the plane from Rome to New York. After my defection I flew for the first time on American Airlines -- and the flight attendents were running non-stop like there was not a second to lose. I was shocked. I watched them for a few hours over the Atlantic in disbelief, I was waiting that this race will stop. No, it run-run, girl, all the way! Twenty plus years later this flight contines non-stop... Amn as a machine? No, we are in the air! We must be on the way to become angels. This is what it means to be an American!
Bible has it in general terms, the technology used for creation of the world. We know the story. We are moving in the same direction. "The creation (or, generally speaking, the origin) of the angels," and "How they were brought into natural existence," "How they were made perfect in grace or glory," "How some of them became wicked." Well, this stage is ahead, the wicked technology (we saw it already in our dreams, the movies).
.... How come that I didn't understand the "working" nature of angels? Who was creating the world? Yes, it were them, American angels!
As Canguilhem argues, "the theory of the animal-machine is inseparable from 'I think therefore I am'" (Canguilhem, 52), inseparable from the project of Enlightenment rationality. As Bettelheim argues, "the typical modern delusion is of being run by an influencing machine... Just as the angels and saints of a deeply religious age help us to fathom what were man's greatest hopes at that time, and the devils what he trembled at most, so man's delusions in a machine world seem to be tokens of both our hopes and our fears of what machines may do for us, or to us" (Bettelheim, 234). The animal-machine, human-machine is "uncanny" and poses a threat to "cataloguing", to the rational project. Why do the logic of heart as pump and the threat of legs as extensors exist simultaneously? Note that this is not a matter of examining some brave new world, but (as both Canguilhem and Bettelheim point out) a question thoroughly imbricated in European-American modernity.
Machine is a movement, not an independent yet (which Aquinas considered a sign of life). The robotics move faster that the generational changes. Scary? But we need to replace life with machines, they are independent of life and therefore almost free from time. They are products of our intellect and on the border of two worlds. Machine (in Greek "means") is our creation which is about to become creature. Each catalogue is full of them, new arrivals, they are the movement, the king of the corporeal world.
Let me repeat, I do not fear machines, only idiots.
1.2. THE SUPER-MACHINES: COMPUTERS
Aquinas lists the questions for the computer science to answer: Is the angel's understanding his substance? Is his being his understanding? Is his substance his power of intelligence? Is there in the angels an active and a passive intellect? Is there in them any other power of knowledge besides the intellect?
The super-machine is an opposite in forms to mechanism, nothing moves! The super-speed makes movement invisible, too fast to notice. Angels are the movement. The computers are our break into the angelic world. A computer is not a machine at all? What is my brain? It has no moving parts, it doesn't like movement. It's a source of movement.
It took fifty years for them to take over the world. What is a half a century? My life. They have to appear, we shouldn't have an atomic bomb without the super-machines, the computers. The Bomb was above our head, we needed a new one, more reliable, a cold one, without attachments. Bodies and life. Computers, the guardian angels, they never sleep. God trusted them, so do I.
In fact, I wait for a day when they will fully take over the world. It will be a better world for me. And for you. That is my answer.
What are your answers to Tom's questions?
1.3. I AND MACHINE
"Gregory calls the angel a rational animal metaphorically." (Aquinas)
It must be affirmed that angels and everything existing, except God, were made by God. God alone is His own existence; while in everything else the essence differs from the existence.... From this it is clear that God alone exists of His own essence: while all other things have their existence by participation. Now whatever exists by participation is caused by what exists essentially; as everything ignited is caused by fire. Consequently the angels, of necessity, were made by God. (Aquinas)Is Machine really asexual? Incapable of self-reproduction? Angels and donkeys have no children.... This question of participation is a tricky one. Take me, for example. [...]
...the machine's lack of genitalia stands for the pregenital, in a certain sense, nongenital stage. The construction of the influencing apparatus in the form of a machine, therefore, represents a projection of the entire body, now wholly a genital... The evolution, by distortion, of the human apparatus into a machine, is a projection that corresponds to the development of the pathological process that converts the ego into a diffuse sexual being--or, expressed in the language of the genital period, into a genital, a machine independent of the aims of the ego and subordinated to a foreign will. It is no longer subordinated to the will of the ego, but dominates it. Here, too, one is reminded of the astonishment of boys when they become aware for the first time of erection. The fact, moreover, that the erection is shortly conceived as an exceptional and mysterious feat supports the assumption that erection is felt to be a thing independent of the ego, a part of the outer world not completely mastered. (Tausk, 564)What about God, is Father a sexual being? Or something like a machine?
2. GESTELL: WISDOMS OF GERMAN CHRISTIAN MIND
It could be both -- Being God and Feeling of Being God. It's always both. And more -- since "God" is an extreme position, "feeling as God" breaks into sense of being Nothing. Technology works on this paradox; it gives me extra powers, which are not really mine.
Heidegger: technology is a method for calling forth and transforming the stock of reality according to our will. Thus, technology facilitates a control over reality (rather than openness to experiencing it).
[....Oh the Germans! The philosophers of music and engineering! The Will is everywhere. We must see the clash of the nature's will and ours -- what a dialogue! German God is a craftsman.]
For Heidegger, technology in its essence is an extension of metaphysics -- and is grounded in the history of metaphysics as a mode of revealing. Technology has it all -- morality, politics, and etc. [What about technology and art?]
In this age of what Heidegger calls, Gestell (enframing) -- everything, including man himself, becomes material for a process of production, an imposition of human will on things regardless of their own essential natures. Gestell sees things primarily in their relation to human will as a matter of a process of production or self-imposition -- a concept of the thing in its subservience to human preoccupation. The danger is realized when this one way of revealing beings (technology) overwhelms man and all other possible ways of revealing.
How else can we learn about the new? We experience it before we understand it. Is a century enough? The Machine and its image can't be found in ancient myths. Man's famed creativity never was powerful enough to create an independent entity. What an arrogance to call the Greeks "a cradle of humanity"? What do you think we are? If they developed the basics of science, they applications of their knowledge weren't revolutionary (in retrospect). The Romans, praised for roads and running water, were superior to next door barbarians with the same spear and sword. It would take ten more centuries to arrive to a rifle. What we know as a culture was a technology of perception.
Heidegger sees the danger associated with the modern outlook (Gestell) not in science, nor even in technology, nor in machines as such, but rather in man who has lost his insight into man and behaves toward himself and to others as though all were non-human-like objects.
We have it in reverse -- we have the hardware which we had not time to incorporate in our intellectual universe. We are beyond ourselves, behind our own time. We understand many things, except ourselves. We are too new, we have no time to notice ourselves. We move too fast to stop and reflect. Our changes (every ten years) in technology are so rapid that it makes no sense to understand record-player pushed out by the type-recorders.... and CD.
All right, the instrumental theory.
In Communication As Culture (1992), James Carey wrote, "Electronics is neither the arrival of apocalypse nor the dispensation of grace. Technology is technology; it is a means for communication and transportation over space, and nothing more" (p. 139).
Come on! Technology and Science are "Ideology"! There is more mystery in Xerox than they will ever admit.
The substantive theory. The overview.
The substantive theory "argues that technology constitutes a new type of cultural system that restructures the entire social world as an object of control" (Pacey, p. 7). Heidegger (1977) claimed that we are engaged in the transformation of the world and ourselves into "standing reserves," raw materials waiting to be used up in the process (p. 17). According to Feenberg (1991), "Heidegger asserts that the technical restructuring of modern societies is rooted in a nihilistic will to power, a degradation of man and Being to the level of mere objects" (p. 7). Feenberg continued, "The issue is not that machines have 'taken over,' but that in choosing to use them we make many unwitting cultural choices. Technology is not simply a means but has become an environment and a way of life: this is its 'substantive' impact" (p. 8). While acknowledging the apparent neutrality of a basic machine, Pacey (1992) said that we must look further, at the "web of human activities surrounding the machine, which include its practical uses, its role as a status symbol....Looked at in this second way, technology is seen as apart of life, not something that can be kept in a separate compartment" (p. 3). According to Pacey, "a technocratic value system...gives rise to what is often called a 'technocratic' outlook that is single-mindedly insistent on an unambiguous view of progress, of problem-solving, and of values" (p. 127). Those intolerant of ambiguity see only once course for technology, one that leads to greater progress and efficiency (p. 127).
The nature of technology, for Ellul, was so encompassing that it defied being judged. Whether we believe in it or not, and whether we think it is good or bad, technology continues on its course doing what it always does--subjugating our humanity.
Software -- the American state philosophy: Entertainment. More Sci-Fi movies, please! More fantasies. Talk about the remote control, tell me about it. Explain the meaning of New Jerusalem which descended from the skies. I want to be more than a user.
Technological hardware is for the programming of "new reality": we need a different reality!
The REAL didn't disappear: we covered it. We weren't happy with reality. We never had accepted our mortality or pain -- why should we? Did we lost a lot in the process of replacement? The new is so strong and new that we don't know how to keep the first nature. We have to re-learn about connections with the first world within the new context -- Gestell (enframing).
But why do we need to know what is REAL? Do we? Or maybe we just say that we want? Limitations of the real. Ideal (simulacra) has its own -- it's not real, never fully real. Marxism saw this problem resolved through contextual, relativistic approach -- whatever is beneficial for the class is the true reality. I like it. Whatever is good for me is the truth! What about our reality? Whatever is good for us. The Soviet reality was the biggest simulacra of all. American media? Big, also (Politics included).
3. [From _God's Diary_]
The Routine. When you live that long (eternity), it gets boring, very static. The changes lose their meaning; God is unchangeable, because is a constant change (they forgot to ad). There are many pages missing in God's "diary."
God's existence resembles Chekhov's plays. The mortals have their Sodom and Gomorrah, he has nothing but the re-runs. God is waiting. The absolute is helpless. Nothing could be done there, because God is everything. Everything is done already (even if it's not done). Nothing you can do. Waiting for Godot is written already. God's position is undesirable but nothing he can do about it. Why do you think God (like Zeus) went after a mortal woman? He is not busy, he has too much time on his hands.
God is a ridiculous being. He deserves more pity than me.
The Pope should order the study "God and Technology" -- maybe then we will understand better the idea of the Holy Ghost. What do you think "radio" is?
[Question. Hermeneutics, a branch of continental European philosophy concerned with human understanding and the interpretation of written texts. Is there something like "hermeneutics of a machine"? How about psychology of MACHINE?]
Thinking Turned into Being -- that's why I am interested in the idea of technology. Thought is Action. Literally! Remember the warnings about mortal sins! Technology will teach you obey the ten commandments! Science makes my feelings ready for objectivisation. A-bomb is an extension of me, my self-expression.
The claim of not believing in God is equal to a statement that one doesn't believe in existence of future. Living in TIME MILLENNIUM makes our previous definitions craving for re-thinking (See _God-me_ The story how Jesus understood that he is God).
I see that you still don't know what does it mean to be an American. In Ethiopia and even Russia I didn't drive, I had a driver. I can't afford it in USA. I have to risk my life in everyday lottery, my American conditions of living. No surprise that the driver's license is the most used ID. I get it before I am allowed to vote. Car is an American initiation, bar mitzvah. Becoming a driver is belonging to this pomo tribe. Technology is a build in part of my citizenship.
Technology has it both -- alienation and connectivity. Telephone is a contact and a separation. Technology is a wall and a bridge. How could it be both? And why? Is my body not enough to keep myself away from the world? My body is also a border between me and the rest. If any tool is a extension of my body, high tech carries on this duality to the extremes. My car? It's fully separate from my body -- should I expect that my body will be fully independent as well? Is it? Is it really mine?
The high tech (Internet) increases my penetration into the time and space -- and brings the new higher level of distance. We need it, the safety. In the angelic world everything is unprotected....
In the past the formula "I -- You" had mostly soft tech methods (language). After the urbanization of the modern era our connections have a lot of hardware: "I -- Tech -- You," where the middle part has a role of a servant and a position of a master. More, I--I must be seen as I--Tech--I. But since the technology is the presence of the others, I--I, is I--You--I. The old discovery of dialogism (marxism) as a nature of Self, in the postmodern world is reinforced by omni-presence of technology. In order to know myself I had to be distant from myself, I must be thrown away from myself as far as possible. The middle member of the formula ("You") is in fact the world! Technology pumping information into this gap between Me and I and this process is called "education." Of course, humans are produced.
Done. Technology replaced people, we prefer the machine to be a connector between I and Me. The new ways of socialization put the electronics as the highest value. Video games tech every pomo boy how to relate to his body; it's a different (virtual?) sensitivity.
...Marx defined manufacturing as 'a vast automated system composed of numerous mechanical and intellectual devices that work together, non-stop, in order to produce a given object, with each unit being subordinated to a driving motor that moves of its own accord'. This is a compact image of how the advanced productive body functions. (Deleule, 224)
4. HELLO, DR. FRANKENSTEIN
...only the blind machine can be ideal... a machine blind from birth. Having been born into a different but complete world in which every problem must be resolved by touch, it would use its robotic claws or grips to carry out each productive task with mechanical precision, over and over again. The question of adaptation would never come up... (Deleule, 216)Angels and machine feel no pain, they have no their own bodies, only the assumed ones. Terminator, angel and devil. All depends on the programming.
As compared to the work done by machines, the work of human beings is nothing. This working at 'nothing', in the special sense in which people do it today...tends more and more to be merely a response to a machine...Human work today is merely a residual sub-whole of the work of the machine. This residual human activity is no more than a partial procedure that accompanies the central procedure produced by the order of the machine. The machine has now come to the heart of desire, and this residual human work represents no more than the point of the machines imprint on the imaginary world of the individual (cf. Lacan's function of the [object little] 'a'). (Guattari, 113)
Now it's your turn to read the Revelations outloud. ...
Also, on Technology in _Intro_
Bettelheim, Bruno, The Empty Fortress: Infantile Autism and the Birth of the Self. The Free Press, 1976.
Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi, University of Minnesota Press, 1987.
Guattari, Felix, Molecular Revolution: Psychiatry and Politics, trans. Rosemary Sheed. Penguin Books, 1984.
Next: Technology Two *
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