It’s been in vogue for a long time now to say we are slaves to technology, but do we even know what this means? Do we have any idea what technology actually does and the way it pervades? Or has the technology become so evasive, so dominate that its ways and ruses have become invisible to us? That is, are humans to technology what fish are to the ocean? Are we so enmeshed in it we can longer even recognize what technology is and the way it ensnares us?
Satellites mistaken for stars in the night sky, the incessant buzzing of electricity everywhere, the obese spectrums filling every atom with terabytes of data, the cars zooming through the streets and that slithering steel subway beneath it. The pills falling down your throat, and the bulbs above draping this room in artificial light. The motorized food industry. These man-made words, this technological innovation called language, which type casts all understanding in virtual symbols… Just stop. And think. Think about this this all-encompassing framework — the whole technical apparatus enwrapping everything. “The weariness of the cell” writes George Orwell in 1984, “is the vigor of the organism.” Technology is the organism and it’s thriving. You are the cell and you’re perishing.
…The sunrise always burns my eyes. Put on the techné of sunglasses. In the car, drive to work. Or does the car drive me? Who, what is driving me? Park that car. Being pulled like a chain into the climate controlled lobby of this gigantic corporation, into a elevator, through the fluorescent hallways, into my office. Capitalism is driving. Sit on the aeron chair, float into the screen, ghost into the hardware, the software, the internet, the electrical grid. Saturate there for hours… At home, a clock oozes neon green beams of a mathematical time into my sockets — 11:52 p.m. Turn everything off. Noise still persists, as if my brain has evolved to decode the radio signals in the air. Induce sleep, silence, with chemical technology. Swash down a Zolpidem and Mealtion with a glass of vodka. A gleaming light blinks across the ceiling in the darkness, that’s my cell phone telling me it successfully charging. Close me and let me charge too…
A microwave or an airplane or an iPad eludes the true nature of technology. Technological things tell us nothing insightful about technology because the essence of technology is nothing technological. The true essence of technology lies in the way, not unlike the ocean, it gathers together everything under its net and frames all aspects of life; the way technology positions us increasingly less as human beings and exponentially more as functional nodes or cogs within a technocratic apparatus. And, who is really in control of this system today? The institutions and bureaucracies try to tame it but they do not own or stand above the churning of technology, they are just points of convergence. Even the big fish can’t control the sea. Economic collapse, addiction, nuclear holocaust, climate change, violence — this is no longer our doing.
Him there. That’s not me. Who appears when I type I? I? Who is that thing thinging? An animal-shaped figure on a surveillance camera. A credit card number. A weight on a scale. A Twitter handle. Fluid digits in a bank account. A social security number. A cell phone number, a voice in a cell phone signal. A user of guns or blogs or special interest platforms. A password input. A marketing demographic. A rendering in a digital photograph. Male. Female. Married, divorced, single. Members, not of a community, but of a territory. Ready-made diagnoses: Bell’s palsy, bipolar, anorexic, healthy? We are fiefs of an architecture, cells of a sprawl of incomprehensible proportions. We are capital, we are data, we are what is circulating within the system — the harvest of a technological takeover of biological life.