Technological Slave Mentality - 2020-04-27
In light of the COVID-19 crisis and the rising trend of digital technological solutions to our social confinement efforts, I thought I would take the opportunity to go over the issue of what I call technological slave mentality. More than once my peers have referred to me as the anti-computer computer engineer, because whenever I have the choice I always opt for the most primitive solution; I have a brick phone, I detest smart devices, I prefer to write using pen & paper, I prefer to read paper books, I try to avoid cloud services, etc. But this is not so much out of a hatred for computers or digital technologies - otherwise why would I be writing this article from a computer to a website, or why would I study computer engineering? - but rather that I do not want to be a slave to my computer, and instead want my computer to be subservient to me.
The technological slave mentality is such that rather than rightfully demanding that technology adapt to our needs, we take the docile option of adapting to the technology that we ourselves created. In other words, we submit to our creation rather than forcing our creation to submit to us. As such, rather than getting done what we want or need to get done, we can only get done that which our creation allows us to.
This mentality is also a barbaric one in nature, as it contradicts with the mentality of self-sacrifice of civilization. A civilized man sacrifices short-term convenience and pleasure for long-term prosperity, looking not for immediate gain but towards the future. As such, the civilized man develops technologies, not as a short-term solution to his problems, but as a long-term foundation for future generations to build upon. The barbarian, however, lives like the animals, driven primarily by his instincts and temptations with no ability to sacrifice for a greater prosperity in the long-term. As such, the technology he develops is solely for short-term convenience, and future generations are left with no technological foundation upon which to continue building upon. When the barbarian is introduced to a new technology he uses it blindly, regardless of whether it is even applicable in his social context, or compatible with his culture and heritage. The former leads to prosperity, the latter to social disintegration and technological enslavement.
We see examples of this barbaric mentality all too often in our modernist society, it's reflected everywhere under the guise of progress, or even pretending that it is liberating, when all it really does is enslave us to our temptations and short-term desires. Over and over again institutions are pressured to "modernize", to "get with the programme", "enter the 21st century", "become a part of the technological revolution", etc. This is especially the case in education, where despite the tried & true methods of teaching that have worked for hundreds of years, we now find it necessary to update these to adapt to our modern technologies. But nobody asks whether or not we truly need such a change in our institutions in the first place.
This mentality is not only visible on a societal level, but also a personal level. When it comes to the use of digital technologies, people are quick to compromise with their devices, rather than demanding that the technology submit to them. Heck, this is something that the Free Software Movement has been protesting for years! When someone's operating system forces them to reboot the system because it says so, the correct is response is to ditch that operating system and publicly condemn the organization that implemented such a terrible characteristic into their program. But instead people become docile and accept that they are not in control of their very own property. And when said organization decides to force you to buy their newest products, the people who are being used by these technologies will follow like lemmings.
Relating this all back to our current situation with the COVID-19 crisis, it is evident that the use of digital technologies has become absolutely necessary as an extraordinary measure in order to keep certain institutions. However, what is problematic is that what should only be extraordinary measures, some are considering the possibility of making them permanent solutions. Somehow we are finding it prudent to replace our stable traditional technological foundation for society with a modern digital one that is unstable, experimental, defective, and overly complex. Not only this, but when the confinement is finally over, the prolonged use of these measures will only further deteriorate the social structure of our society, which has been suffering already from the promulgation of anti-social behaviour.
As such, we must make it abundantly clear that the use of these extraordinary measures should remain extraordinary, and the moment we return to ordinary circumstances, ordinary measures should be restored.