The individual is in a dilemma: either he decides to safeguard his freedom of choice, chooses to use traditional, personal, moral, or empirical means, thereby entering into competition with a power against which there is no efficacious defense and before which he must suffer defeat; or he decides to accept technical necessity, in which case he will himself be the victor, but only by submitting irreparably to technical slavery. In effect he has no freedom of choice. — Ellul, Jacques. The Technological Society. Vintage Books: N.Y., N.Y. (1963) p. 84.
The new school epistemic agnosia of nihilism: the only certain or foundational knowledge you have is that you exist, you think, and want more than just existence. All else is unknowing, you know nothing else. These existential meanings are present in all words but precede the meanings of all words and thus are something of which in reality we cannot speak and of which we should be silent and thus are pragmatically meaningless. These existential meanings do serve as the implicit axioms or recursive meanings of all words and all language and of everything else pretending to be foundational knowledge. All such non-existential knowledge is uncertain at best and usually just made-up of socially constructed verbiage intended to hide there is no other foundational knowledge but only pragmatic knowledge and beliefs sometimes called truth for aesthetic effect and sometimes called normative or morality for the same aesthetic effect. At this point, you can accept what you are as you are and the world as it is: a slave can accept being a slave and make do, a king can just as easily and most likely even more easily accept being a king and make do, and so forth. This would be an optimistic nihilist. An existential nihilist would take the next step consisting of an act of will wanting more to life than just mere existence — a will to power. With this act of will, a slave would demand to be a king and a king would demand to be a god and all can demand love from a god or even from God, and so forth. It is this act of will that creates and leads to the struggle between the nihilist and existential reality which results in a life of absurdity and an existential choice that life either is worth living or is not worth living and what to do about that worth or lack thereof. As Orwell wrote in 1984, “[t]he choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better”. In summary, all you really know is that you do not know; ultimately, freedom may be just an illusion anyway, so the choice of being a technical slave is as viable, sound, and valid as choosing not to be one.
The first freedom of choice allowed a technical slave if they want it: choose to be one knowingly, intentionally, and holistically in the context of the indifference to the universe to your choice. Do not do it because it is the moral choice to make; because it is the ethical choice to make; because Divine Law requires it; because Natural Law requires it; because the law requires it; or for any other reason pretending your choice has ultimate normative value to anyone other than yourself. In the end, no one not even God cares, only you care — if you care. If the Room 101 prepared for you by Technological Society (TS) makes you happy and you want it, then live it and love it. Like Winston, look up and love Big Brother with a tear in your eye and be happy until the bullet enters your brain — it awaits all of us as would be made clear on this Easter Sunday by true believers if they were not too scared of Big Brother to go to church. If those who “truly” believe in a Resurrection can cowardly hide in the corner, the rest of us certainly can.
The second category of freedom allowed a technical slave if they want it: it is not to reject technical slavery because this is not allowed anyone in TS, but to hate it even to hate it with your whole heart, mind, and soul. You are a slave but that does not mean you have to like it and especially you do not have to love it. “To the end I grapple with thee; from Hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” You owe a duty to yourself to do what you have to do to survive as a slave if you want to survive and even to prosper as a slave if you want to prosper. You even have a legal duty to act as a slave so as to avoid going to jail. You even have an ethical duty to act as a slave because ethics is ruling class ideology and all present TS ruling class ideology requires you be a slave. However, you have no duty to be honest, skilled, happy, or anything “good” in your slavery; you have no moral duty, Divine Law duty; Natural Law duty; or any type of ultimate normative value duty to be a slave. You are one because you want to survive, prosper, and not go to jail. If something better comes along or you can get away with dishonesty, negligence, cheating, breaking the law, or anything in your duties as a slave, all without getting caught and punished by the Powers and gods of TS, then do it. In the end, it does not matter to anyone other than yourself. Even if there is a Resurrection, remember Christ died for all sinners as a criminal and outcaste Himself who only gave to Caesar the minimum the law required and no more, so you are still all set — except unlike Him hopefully you will be smart enough not to get caught. You have the ultimate freedom: to reject God or to accept God as He, She, or It is and not how They ought to be.
These two categories of freedom of choice and are the power that slaves have to continue class struggle and thus to continue history. They are not available to the Powers and gods of TS because their meaning in life is a purely self-served need for power: they must have a morality to force upon others; they must have an ethics to force upon others; they must have Divine Law, Natural Law, and all the other laws to force upon others. If in fact all authority comes from God, then in addition to their socially constructed gods, rules, and laws, they must also have God despite their aesthetically pleasing protests of the opposite. They cannot think holistically because the world and the universe revolves around them and their self-served need for the power of gods or of God. This is their only weakness. Not much of one but slaves must take what they can get and run with it.
Some will object that such nihilist morality is really just anarchy that will result in another world of Nazi and Communist extermination camps and global political and economic collapse. This nonsense admits to both a lack of understanding as to the nature of TS and a delusion as to the Heart of Darkness that is the substance of our nature. If history repeats itself and the conditions are ripe for Governor Cuomo and the law or some other political pyschopath rule of law Inner and Outer Party Powers and gods to wake up one day and decide that extermination camps are needed to stop a virus pandemic in the same way their predecessor godly creators of moralities and ethics decided to stop what they considered to be a people pandemic, the reality is that what present moralities and ethics will do is the same as what Ellul, Sartre, Beauvoir, Foucault, and 95% of people did last time: nothing. Slaves do not control the Powers and gods of TS, they control us; there will always be morality and ethics in TS or in any society to control its slaves be they chattel, wage, or the slaves of technology. The extermination camps of the past will not occur because those techniques failed and were grossly inefficient. TS has morally and ethically grown beyond them.
Armed force is too efficient and dirty. Creating moralities and ethics that march people into self-imprisonment, self-isolation, and even self genocide (i.e., abortion for Blacks; wars in the Mideast for Christians; feminism for women) is much more efficient and the easier means to victory for the Powers and their gods. Again, do not forget the beauty of the last few weeks: not just one nation’s culture but the entirety of world culture has changed drastically and substantively without any bloating bodies laying in the streets or blood running in the gutters — no armies and navies fighting, no extermination camps, no mass rallies of armed crowds roaming the streets, no cities covered in volcanic ash, no cities swallowed by earthquakes, and none of the other natural or historical events that usually are the foundation for such cultural revolution. This cultural revolution was accomplished even without martyrs or human sacrifice. (Well, without explicit martyrs and human sacrifice that make the headlines, so they do not matter.)
This finally leads me to the big question at issue in these multi-part essays: Why does God hate the poor? Why did God defined as the reason there is something instead of nothing create a reality with a necessary hierarchy? Why will there always be a small powerful ruling class (Powers, Outer Party, Inner Party, and so forth) who can positively control reality so as to create a world and gods in their image and then there will be the rest of us who are stuck only with the negative power to oppose whatever they are doing? Why must there always be a class struggle in order for history to continue and so we can go on to discover, explore, and conquer the universe?