Digital Alienation: Evolutionary Shift to a Total Ecology of Capital 1

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[This is critical polemic against the dehumanizing effects of total digitalisation. The positive aspects of the internet and digital revolution have been left to another essay. I’ll be publishing this essay in small segments to cater for the short attentions span that online reading encourages.]

Digital Alienation: Evolutionary Shift to a Total Ecology of Capital

…the internet, with all its attractions, is also profoundly dehumanizing. […] Overload of digital information turns us into automata, workaholics, passive consumers. Its harsh physical form stresses us and creates a mismatch between our own human nature and the manner in which we are being forced to communicate. Our anolog nature is being compressed into a digital stream.

– Neil Turok, The Universe Within, p. 203

In the past the man has been first, in the future the system must be first.

– Frederick Winslow Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (1911), p. 7

‘A life of presence, nothing but presence’
– Graffito in Paris May 1968

Taboo

Capitalism-friendly digital technology is in command, and there is very little critical discussion about its profound implications and ambivalence anywhere, even among many of those purporting to be critical of capitalism. This may be partly a generational phenomenon, with young ‘digital natives’ having no other experience or criteria against which to evaluate the complex effects of digitalisation (e.g. reading books and newspapers, solitude).

Endpoint

Digitalisation is the extreme intensification of an evolutionary shift underway in human identity ‒ as hitherto found in our mind-body, body-nature and interpersonal relationships ‒ that really took off with industrialization and consumerism. It intensifies the increasing alienation of humanity from outer nature and its evolutionary interrelationship with our inner nature or core identity as human beings on this planet. Even as industrialisation and hyper-urbanisation are destroying and tending to replace nature, digitalisation is changing our inner nature, our very minds and biology. The unconscious aim – intrinsic to the logic of the historical development ‒ is to adapt us to this world after nature, to a totalised ecology of Capital.

The Great Rewiring

Apart from its obvious personal and social benefits (which are not our concern here), digitalisation is stepping up the re-wiring of humanity into depoliticised, privatised ‘idiots’ begun by post-war TV consumerism and the culture industry (the word ‘idiot’ derives from the Greek ‘idiotes’, private person, layman, ignorant person, from ‘idios’, own, private). This now even starts with the toddler market. Infants are placed before animated screens above their cots. Children have their own smartphones. Children and youth now spend more time with screen realities than with human or natural ones.

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on October 8, 2014.

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