Leaving the Planet?

[This is meant as a summary of possible arguments for and against the total digitalisation of society. Might expand this into an essay when I have time. I took the shot above in a Melbourne laneway two years ago.]

Leaving the Planet? – The Promise and Perils of Digitalised Society

A. The Empowering Promise: One Democratically Self-Managed World

1. One World linked via internet, material expression of One Human Mind, emerging internationalist world culture and activism

2. The post-capitalist potential of the new collective commons (open source, wikis, freeware etc)

3. Self-empowering free knowledge (Wikipedia, Google, e.g. informed patients/citizens)

4. Self-empowering ‘prosumerism’ (bottom-up creating own news and media, blogs, interest groups)

B. The Disempowering Perils: One Totally Artificial World under Capital & the Corporate State

1. Ex-and Intensification of wage labour and consumerism (by globalising even more, 24/7 capital accumulation has occupied most remaining free spaces of everyday life)

– In old industrial countries workers’ gains have been clawed back by Capital: the 40 hour week is a thing of the past, 48 now usual, 60 not uncommon, much overtime unpaid, annual leave reduced, jobs become precarious, working poor
– At home and commuting many workers, and most self-employed, are now almost permanently on-call, i.e. doing unpaid extra work in their ‘leisure’ time via phone/internet
– Consumption is now almost 24/7 with weekend rest almost abolished, marketing, virtual shopping and privatised/handheld entertainment increasing

2. Intensification via privatisation/miniaturisation/individualisation of the Spectacle: voluntary ‘lonely crowds’ of ‘marketing personalities’, generalised marketing hegemony over minds, people as walking brands, data mining, viral advertising, internalised ‘other-direction’

3. Technological intensification of isolation and social narcissism in the virtual pseudo-groups of ‘social media’ and online gaming

4. Technological intensification of total state surveillance (internet, CCTV, smartphone tracking, Trapwire systems, data mining, drones)

5. Dumbing down via information overload and distracted ‘shallow reading’ on screens

6. Increased self-alienation as ‘distraction from distraction by distraction’ (e.g. multitasking): the expropriation of the capacity to concentrate/analyse/act/be fully present to the real here and now

7. Time and Sleep Theft: robbing body and soul of ‘downtime’ and deep sleep needed for rejuvenation/creativity/mental and physical health, cutting off of evolved body/soul wisdom

8. Totalising artificial light and immobility as ‘evo-deviant’ disease aetiology (hormonal immune system responses, cf. immune and inflammation reactions to industrial processed food)

9. Disembodiment/cerebralisation/sensory deprivation and numbing/increased loss of hand & touch: increase in dissociative disorders, loss of ‘grasp’ and ‘being in touch’ with reality, the diminution of mimesis and empathy (total screens change real/unreal relationship, violent games as moral numbing, children imitate simple things on screens instead of complex real people etc)

10. Nature Deficit Disorder (especially as increasing in child development from first TV generation to ‘digital natives’, loss of outdoor activity and spontaneous play, coterminous loss of outer and inner nature, loss of caring about nature: ‘leaving the planet’ dead for artificial world and cyberspace)

~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on September 29, 2012.

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