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 last few weeks of mass hysteria have been a rich source of contemplation for me. Some of which will be covered here. Part of this series of essays will be an “I told you so” since I rarely in life have a chance to express this sentiment and never expected to see my prior predictions come to life in my lifetime. Part will be a supplemental contemplation on my primary concern throughout these podcast essays: what freedom if any do wage slaves, slaves either materially or spiritually, have while ruled by the gods of Technological Society? The latter contemplation has been further enlightened by my being stuck at home with the time to re-read a book I last read in my childhood: All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt: N.Y., N.Y. 1996). In the years since my first reading of it, I gradually lost faith in fiction as a source of anything but aesthetics serving more to hide reality than reveal it and thus completely forgot that this novel has my most favorite ending of any novel I ever read even though I completely disagree with the meaning expressed by this ending:
The creation of man whom God in His foreknowledge knew doomed to sin was the awful index of God’s omnipotence. For it would have been a thing of trifling and contemptible ease for Perfection to create mere perfection. To do so would, to speak truth, be not creation but extension. Separateness is identity and the only way for God to create, truly create, man was to make him separate from God Himself, and to be separate from God is to be sinful. The creation of evil is therefore the index of God’s glory and His power. That had to be so that the creation of good might be the index of man’s glory and power. But by God’s help. By His help and in His wisdom. “All The King’s Men” at pp. 658-59.
The above simple expression describing in its simplicity a meaning upon which some theologies have written entire books of verbiage and yet have failed to express with such beauty is to be admired regardless of one’s opinion of its value. It is truly a work of art in its purest form created from words. The essays collected here have been a conceptual contemplation of the social conversion of chattel slavery into wage slavery and its implications for those who are the new school slaves of Technological Society. Unlike mainstream modern and post-modern philosophy and theology who criticize this social construction while being instrumental in creating and maintaining it, I have accepted it as a necessary attribute of Technological Society. Class struggle while hopeless and ultimately destined and fated to be a loss for the individual fighting its power is necessary so we can all be a “victor” in the ultimate struggle we all share to survive the indifference of the universe to our survival. If you choose life, you necessarily choose Acceptance of your social class in life and the struggles it entails. For the individual who does not allow themselves to be cheapened into an aesthetic struggle between a fictional Self and a fictional Other, this struggle necessarily entails nihilism as a metaphysics and as a morality.
The following is a thought I expressed in my first published book Existential Philosophy of Law and further highlighted in subsequent writings:
As George Orwell wrote in 1984, in order for the Powers to keep their powers, it is not enough for hoi polloi simply to accept Big Brother, they must love Big Brother. Through law and its Powers, our Technological Society is bringing to life O’Brien and his Room 101, but it is not a room with a rat cage but a sterile, pleasantly decorated, warm, friendly room with a surround sound of legality and illegality negating conscious, complex tragedy in the classical sense: replacing it with fear, hatred, and the joy or pain of either winning or losing but without dignity of emotion nor deep or complex sorrow and thought while at the same time denying the truth that 2 + 2 by definition makes four.
As a result of recent events, even after this virus debacle is over, the present and future for wage slaves will be living and working in a Room 101 more commonly known as “WFH” (Working From Home) with all the necessary pleasantries and attributes for making such bearable. In the past, there was a differentiation between house slaves and field slaves. The future of class struggle is a differentiation between WFH wage slaves and the field wage slaves who will be serving their needs. The overseers who make up the Outer Party class will still exist to assure these two groups of slaves are busy fighting each other so as not to bother the Inner Party. So, uh, I told you so.
Such WFH future will be more than bearable, it will be pragmatically better in almost every way by which such matters are now judged by those with the power to judge: 1) it will allow for proper social distancing to avoid communicable diseases; 2) no more miserable commutes back and forth to work and the associated wasted resources and time such commuting causes not only for individuals but for society; 3) reducing the cost of doing business by transferring overhead costs over to employees without need of paying higher wages; 4) no more expensive commercial leases for office and business space or at least greatly reduced lease expenses for such space; 5) allowing for both home and work to be located almost anywhere instead of being forced into crowded cities and their urban problems, high cost of living, and associated misery and disease spread; 6) allow for a cleaner and better social and natural environment for all who are naturalized to it while also allowing for better control and management of any social outcastes; 7) no more having to deal in-person and personal with the miserable struggles for power between the Self and the Other. When the Other is simply an image or a voice in a Searlean Chinese Room, it is simple and easy to resolve the conflict: you just close the screen or turn the computer off. If you do have an Other at your WFH, they will be roommates, significant others, spouses, or whoever you choose or reject and not those chosen by your employers without your input. In almost every technological material way, the reality of WFH and what is now considered artificial or virtual reality is pragmatically better than having to deal with the actual reality of personal and physical contact and especially the natural world. Eventually, VR and even the well-marketed AI will be considered and be used as meaning for “personal contact” in the same way the fictions of physics such as “atomic particles” and many other fictions in the sciences and the pseudo-sciences varying from “evolution” to the “sub-conscious” are now considered more real than the reality of what we actually experience. Already for most of the humanities, words such as the Self, the Other, Whiteness, and Blackness, are more real than any white or black person or any individual person or any particular state of affairs or experience actually perceived and experienced.
However, in my contemplations, I expected such a Room 101 reality to come to be in the same way reality is usually created in history: gradually over time or as the result of a natural catastrophe such as earthquakes or volcanoes or something similar. (But, not as a result of war. War is lawless. Because law in Technological Society has a monopoly on violence, any war that occurs would consist of legal acts of violence and thus not really be war just the rule of law exercising its power; the only acts of war that will occur will be individual acts of violence by fanatics who are outside of society and thus cannot socially construct social power.) Recent events have proven me wrong on this expectation. I greatly underestimated the power and the Powers of Technological Society.
Within a matter of just the past few weeks, the Powers and their technicians of Technological Society have been able to construct socially a new world order consisting of a WFH Room 101 reality not only without a bang but even without a whimper. Sure, armed police and military are around to highlight this new world order, but they were and are not necessary. People have just marched into their new WFH Room 101 reality willingly, knowingly, and without complain like the banality of good expects of them — heck, even the bad people and the banality of evil have gone along with it. It is both amazing and scary to watch. As with much of Technological Society, its power is a much more impressive creation than anything the natural world has created or prior history has created — except of course for us. Natural creation requires a bang; Technological Society has now reached the point where like a god it creates naturally and by extension — both the Self and the Other become a virtual unity while the individual self and other individuals are still completely separate but irrelevant in reality. Diversity is maintained physically while completely eliminated where it matters. It is what all post-modern social justice theory both liberal and conservative has always wanted: an orderly and peaceful world under the rule of law in which any violence not naturalized to the rule of law is restricted to the spiritual purgatory or hell that may be the existential soul of the expendable individual and is thus irrelevant.
I will also say “I told you so” on the technique used for achieving this Brave New World: 1) by a random and arbitrary will to power of the Powers; 2) by the existential Heart of Darkness in all of us. I have gotten into greater detail on these two concepts in other writings (Existential Philosophy of Law and An Existential Meta-Ethics) but will summarize how they have been at work in the last few weeks.
The pragmatic work of finding treatments and cures for the recent Wuhan Virus as for any virus or for any problem requires pragmatic descriptions that can be used to solve such problems. However, as any nihilist should know by now, it is a complete waste of time to seek explanations for the normative classification of the Wuhan Virus as a pandemic or for the normative social actions taken, either voluntarily or forced upon society by governments, as a result of such classification. All non-existential knowledge is pragmatic: something is true and objective to the extent it solves a problem. As recently as the first week of March, there was no agreement among major health organizations including among the so-called experts at the World Health Organization as to how to define “pandemic” nor how to combat one if the definition is agreed upon and satisfied — there still is no agreement. These disagreements and their history are readily available on the internet. Calling something a pandemic, epidemic, or any such classification intended not to solve a problem but to create normative value for a problem is itself normative and is thus created recursively or based on implicit or explicit assumed axioms. Any such classification is not required foundationally by any premises argued as logically required by that classification. If you believe something to be a pandemic, you will find statistics to support your belief. If you believe something is not a pandemic, you will find statistics to support your belief. Your belief decides what statistics are relevant and material and not the other way around. Likewise, the normative determination of what actions to take in response to a pandemic are created arbitrarily and randomly by those with the power to make these determinations and are then justified by reference to statistics and not the other way around. For some forever unknown reason, the technicians and the Powers-that-be of Technology Society decided that this year they would call the Wuhan Virus a pandemic and decided the normative value of controlling its spread through government destruction of the world economy and of personal individual freedoms in the United States was of greater value than suffering deaths by the virus to avoid the deaths and other harms that would result from economic collapse and failure to protect those freedoms.
As a historical contemplation, it would be nice and fun to contemplate why Technological Society used this particular virus instead of some other problem to make its leap into the next stage of its historical development just like it would be nice to know why history led to the World Wars I and II and not some other world wars. However, as with any historical event, no one will ever know exactly why this-instead-of-that occurred and any answers will be pragmatically useless because history does not repeat itself. Always remember the nihilist motto: reality does not happen for a reason, it just happens.
What is most definitely existentially true and thus objectively true by the nature of our existential Heart of Darkness is that the pandemic classification and the normative actions taken were not altruist: the mass hysteria of the last few weeks was not done out of unselfish caring for the weak, elderly, sick, or the innocent children of the world or as a result of some kind of “innate goodness” in the Powers who control social construction. It is descriptively true based on historical experience that there will be an internationally spread flu or some other virus every year that will kill at least >600,000 people almost all of whom will consist of either the weak, elderly, sick, or innocent children. In 2019, on average 15,000 children under the age of 5 died every day as a result of malnutrition, under nutrition, or outright starvation — a figure that will most certainly go up this year as a result of global economic collapse. One guided solely by altruism could make a very rational argument that every day should have a pandemic declared and that all of world society should consist of being one big hospital entirely dedicated to taking care of the weak, elderly, sick, or innocent. Why the Powers randomly and arbitrarily decided to pick the Wuhan Virus to create temporarily such a world so as to change world culture is a mystery and will remain so but without doubt it resulted from a will to power not from altruism. The Outer Party government officials enforcing the Inner Party’s will to power of Technological Society through forcing house imprisonment, unemployment, and loss of small businesses as a result of declaring a pandemic upon the world are doing so because they have nothing to lose and are not themselves suffering — for the moment and so they think. If the enforcers of a “pandemic” were themselves thrown into unemployment, economic loss, and imprisonment by the declaration of a “pandemic”, it would never have been declared.
Unfortunately, the news is full of examples of this will to power at work. One of the most disgusting examples was given by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. I am old enough to remember his father former Governor of New York Mario Cuomo whose political success I followed because he was expected at one point to become the first Italian-American presidential candidate and perhaps even first President. I am Italian by birth and Italian-American by social construct. Mario Cuomo always struck me as being a psychopath. Unlike the other Mario Cuomo son who works at CNN and who seems pretty much to be an idiot, this son Andrew is no idiot and seems to have followed in the psychopathic footsteps of his father as exhibited by his cold-blooded and hypocritical ability to justify based on Christian love his exercise of government power to violate every federal and state constitutional protection there is against tyrannical exercise of government power. Specifically, he chastised those who oppose his actions by preaching about his love for his 74, 84, or whatever year old (forgot how old she is) mother and his Christian sense of love and duty to protect all elderly and the defenseless weak, sick, and innocent children endangered by the Wuhan Virus. This dude like his father is supposedly a practicing Christian and a power in the New York Christian community who has no problem supporting infanticide in the form of abortion and signed new law authorizing abortion as late as the last trimester of a pregnancy — something his father had no problem doing also. So, yeah right, he respects the life of the elderly, weak, and sick because they are innocently helpless to defend themselves but has no problem with killing the ultimate defenseless and innocent life of a prenatal infant in order to help his political career.
Dudes like these controlling the pandemic classification and response would knowingly and intentionally kill any one of us if it would give them just a slight increase in godly power over us and are what made extermination camp management possible and efficient. They care nothing for saving life or for taking life unless it gives godly meaning to their own life. Unfortunately, they are common in the Christian community as its “leaders”. No doubt, for example, the famed St. Augustine (a fricken Saint no less) and his ability after half-a-life of sinful debauchery to find his salvation in his faith that included justifying infant damnation was of the same psychopathic soul as this Cuomo family. Nietzsche would love their will to power as that of his Übermensch but I place their likes at the same level as that of psychopathic scum.
So, getting an explanation of the new world order in Technological Society is irrelevant. It happened for the same existential nihilist reasons everything happens in life: the random and arbitrary indeterminate nature of the universe and our existential Heart of Darkness. The big question is what now? For the wage slave now living life in the WFH Room 101 of Technological Society or out in the field serving these new school WFH slaves: must they also love this new life as victors submitting irreparably to technical slavery?