21st Century Wire
In his classic, prophetic novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, American science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick depicted a future dystopia where the only way to determine the difference between humans and rogue, bio-engineered androids was empathy: the latter were incapable of experiencing and thus demonstrating it.
In our own particular time, however, merely a few decades after Dick’s passing, one wonders if such a distinction could be so clearly discerned. The average Apple-addicted hipster only feels empathy, or some simulacrum of it, if it’s trending on Twitter and is followed with a politically correct, therapeutic hashtag. Kony 2012 and Michelle Obama’s#BringBackOurGirls derived meaning from their presence and promotion on social media, with special status accorded to celebrity endorsements.
An endless stream of viral images flows perpetually through the consciousness of modern man. He is increasingly rendered incapable of interpreting this continuous barrage that assaults him through most of his waking hours. Even if only passively, as soon as one sets foot in public, and it must be noted the home is no longer a purely private sphere, one is bombarded by everything from ruthless political campaigns and relentless advertising to the most banal of social-media sideshows. He does not know what, or even how, to feel emotionally, unless there is a click-bait headline attached. A numbing effect permeates the psyche.
Within this environment, modern man should not be blamed too harshly for his cognitive dissonance, petty egoism, and social schizophrenia. His social and psychological conditioning is, of course, not a random byproduct arising out of the chaos of nature or a streak of historical bad luck. Rather, it has been the plan of the social engineers and ruling elites all along. Through a clever combination of state-controlled education, state-aligned media (a psy-op unto itself), and an ever-deepening psychological dependence on technology, modern man casts to the wayside his freedom and free will. He thus becomes a docile, consuming android-subject of the technocratic state.
Yet consent is still needed for this state of affairs, and modern man is eager to give it. Stripped of his traditional spirituality and organic identity, he can find no reason to reject those who lord over him. As the German patriot Ernst Jünger said, the “great majority of people do not want freedom, are actually afraid of it.” The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky said much the same thing in his parable of the Grand Inquisitor in the novel The Brothers Karamazov. Indeed, the technocracy operates on much the same philosophy as Dostoevsky’s clever, and quite sinister, elderly Spanish cardinal. The Inquisitor declared that, “in the end they will lay their freedom at our feet.” He wasn’t mistaken; there are certainly far too many eager for the sort of slavery that technology and its shapers offer mankind.
Returning to Dick, on another occasion he remarked that the time was coming when no longer would it be said, “They’re spying on me through my phone,” but rather, “My phone is spying on me.” Not only your iPhone, but your washing machine too, according to none other than former CIA director and Bilderberg member David Petraeus.
The masses’ ever-widening embrace of and reliance on the latest technological gizmos, manufactured by Chinese indentured laborers held in place with suicide nets, serves to expedite their merger with the ever-expanding surveillance grid. But such a merger isn’t without its benefits. Your iPhone may be spying on you and sending your personal information off to government intelligence agencies and multinational corporations, but it provides you with immediate access to pirated porn, one-click shopping, Candy Crush, and BuzzFeed. The Panopticon is a small price to pay for such luxuries, after all.
The Hungarian-American philosopher Thomas Molnar aptly observed that modern man has become “an extension of machines,” and that while man “likes to play at operating these machines,” he has in fact “become their plaything” and a “soulless accomplice.” At this point it seems difficult to argue with this dismal assessment. In his slothful reliance on technology to provide himself with amusement and diversion, modern man has come under the sway of that same technology and those who control it, assuming an android existence.
Author Daniel James Spaulding earned a BA in English literature from Bridgewater State University. He currently works and lives in Seoul, South Korea. He enjoys reading philosophy, history, politics, and science fiction.
This article was originally published at Soul of the East.
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