Industrial Society and its Future

HUMAN RACE AT A CROSSROADS

✲1 ¶161: A complete nutty paragraph. A schizophrenic outpour. The author seems to have a obsession with the word bourgeois. Does he mean the intelligentsia, the middle class mass, or the cream of rich as per Marxism? and now “the system” is going to get us, since about paragraph 114.

161. But we have gotten ahead of our story. It is one thing to develop in the laboratory a series of psychological or biological techniques for manipulating human behavior and quite another to integrate these techniques into a functioning social system. The latter problem is the more difficult of the two. For example, while the techniques of educational psychology doubtless work quite well in the “lab schools” where they are developed, it is not necessarily easy to apply them effectively throughout our educational system. We all know what many of our schools are like. The teachers are too busy taking knives and guns away from the kids to subject them to the latest techniques for making them into computer nerds. Thus, in spite of all its technical advances relating to human behavior the system to date has not been impressively successful in controlling human beings. The people whose behavior is fairly well under the control of the system are those of the type that might be called “bourgeois.” But there are growing numbers of people who in one way or another are rebels against the system: welfare leaches, youth gangs cultists, satanists, nazis, radical environmentalists, militiamen, etc.✲1

✲2 ¶162: 40 years is long time. Before the onset of modern machinery, 100, 200, 300 years into the future society remain pretty much the same. But since the era of industrial machinery, a mere 50 years ahead is something unimaginable. For example, futurists and science fiction writers of the past century are almost never right. Personal computers, internet, are unforeseen. The vast changes in human society and activities happened in the last two centuries…. it would be fruitful to find out what changes have taken place with respect to human social structure world-wide within the past 2 or 5 decades. i.e. political, economic changes… as measured in comparison to the past. We want to find out for instance, in a broad scale what changes have taken place during or caused by the personal computer and internet technologies.

162. The system is currently engaged in a desperate struggle to overcome certain problems that threaten its survival, among which the problems of human behavior are the most important. If the system succeeds in acquiring sufficient control over human behavior quickly enough, it will probably survive. Otherwise it will break down. We think the issue will most likely be resolved within the next several decades, say 40 to 100 years.✲2

✲3 ¶163: a bleak picture. Here the author presumes that technology will propel into a Big Brother, society, where human beings will be mere cogs following a blind dogma that's somehow self-sustaining. In some way, modern societies such as USA can be seen as already in some such form. However, i don't think a extreme form of such Big Brother will come about. Not that it is not a likely development, but rather because the incredible technological progression, too many other variables will derail it, possibly into other dystopia.

For instance, there's wide speculation that computers will surpass human brain by brute force transistors versus neurons. May it be brute force or AI, it is a indisputable possibility that computers may reach human intelligence in mere 50 years. And with the advancement of robotics, there are rampant pop fiction that the world will be ruled by machines in the future.

Asides from robot dominion, things like nano-machinery, genetic engineering, are bringing vast unpredicability into the picture.

163. Suppose the system survives the crisis of the next several decades. By that time it will have to have solved, or at least brought under control, the principal problems that confront it, in particular that of “socializing” human beings; that is, making people sufficiently docile so that their behavior no longer threatens the system. That being accomplished, it does not appear that there would be any further obstacle to the development of technology, and it would presumably advance toward its logical conclusion, which is complete control over everything on Earth, including human beings and all other important organisms. The system may become a unitary, monolithic organization, or it may be more or less fragmented and consist of a number of organizations coexisting in a relationship that includes elements of both cooperation and competition, just as today the government, the corporations and other large organizations both cooperate and compete with one another. Human freedom mostly will have vanished, because individuals and small groups will be impotent vis-a-vis large organizations armed with supertechnology and an arsenal of advanced psychological and biological tools for manipulating human beings, besides instruments of surveillance and physical coercion. Only a small number of people will have any real power, and even these probably will have only very limited freedom, because their behavior too will be regulated; just as today our politicians and corporation executives can retain their positions of power only as long as their behavior remains within certain fairly narrow limits.✲3

✲4 ¶164: whew… human beings still exist, even still have surrogate activities to entertain themselves. How about these people realizing the state of affairs of human nature due to the massive onset of public info caused by technology, then they became fixated in surrogate activities of using technology to save humanity?

164. Don't imagine that the systems will stop developing further techniques for controlling human beings and nature once the crisis of the next few decades is over and increasing control is no longer necessary for the system's survival. On the contrary, once the hard times are over the system will increase its control over people and nature more rapidly, because it will no longer be hampered by difficulties of the kind that it is currently experiencing. Survival is not the principal motive for extending control. As we explained in paragraphs 87-90 , technicians and scientists carry on their work largely as a surrogate activity; that is, they satisfy their need for power by solving technical problems. They will continue to do this with unabated enthusiasm, and among the most interesting and challenging problems for them to solve will be those of understanding the human body and mind and intervening in their development. For the “good of humanity,” of course.✲4

165. But suppose on the other hand that the stresses of the coming decades prove to be too much for the system. If the system breaks down there may be a period of chaos, a “time of troubles” such as those that history has recorded: at various epochs in the past. It is impossible to predict what would emerge from such a time of troubles, but at any rate the human race would be given a new chance. The greatest danger is that industrial society may begin to reconstitute itself within the first few years after the breakdown. Certainly there will be many people (power-hungry types especially) who will be anxious to get the factories running again.

✲5 Although the situation of today's society has a citizen-molding situation (see commentary on ¶95), but the author's bleak projection and scapegoating on technology seems suspect. It is possible in fact that the incredible advance of communication technology have actually reduce the Big Brother situation. (internet, cell phone) We want to be aware yet with a positive attitude, not defeatism and destructive nihilism.

166. Therefore two tasks confront those who hate the servitude to which the industrial system is reducing the human race. First, we must work to heighten the social stresses within the system so as to increase the likelihood that it will break down or be weakened sufficiently so that a revolution against it becomes possible. Second, it is necessary to develop and propagate an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial society if and when the system becomes sufficiently weakened. And such an ideology will help to assure that, if and when industrial society breaks down, its remnants will be smashed beyond repair, so that the system cannot be reconstituted. The factories should be destroyed, technical books burned, etc.✲5

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