Monday, August 4, 2008

Hypermodernity and the Rule of Technology - Part IV

The inherent violence of “coercive steering”In the same way nature is steered and ordered into a “standing reserve” by technology, so too is human behavior steered: whether by the endless iteration of technical progress, the infinite projection of wireless information into space, or the physical movement of peoples through the locomotive technology of "modernity."Steering has the character of “bringing movement forth” in entities. As a phenomenon, steering could be the movement of a human who brings a ship into a desired course. It is the “directing” of movement that a rational human pursues. This moment of directing is a coercive and pre-calculated regulation. Steering is the bringing-into-control of movement. A ship without a rudder and helmsman is a plaything of the waves and winds. The ship is forcibly brought into the DESIRED COURSE only through steering.The helmsman of a ship is a man of skill. He knows the tides, the winds, the waves. He must make use of the driving wind and tide in the correct manner. Through his steering he removes the ship coercively from the free play of wind and waves. Steering has the character of violence.


"The transition from signs which dissimulate something to signs which dissimulate that there is nothing, marks the decisive turning point. The first implies a theology of truth and secrecy (to which the notion of ideology still belongs). The second inaugurates an age of simulacra and simulation, in which there is no longer any God to recognize his own, nor any last judgement to separate truth from false, the real from its artificial resurrection, since everything is already dead and risen in advance." Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, ed. Mark Poster (Stanford; Stanford University Press, 1988), p.170?.


Heraclitus sez: "Latent structure is master of obvious structure."

1 comment:

Dr. Heinrich Odom said...

Modern technology is, above all, a social fact. The design of this technology expresses the character of the society that produces it, and an individual cannot use it without ultimately being used in turn by the society that created it. Cell phones and blackberries are classic examples--used by the individual to gain more fluid and immediate access to others, they also lead to increasing access of the individual by others. In this way, we find ourselves steered socially by the values inherent in a technological interface.

Taking up a broader perspective, consider the value of efficiency, relentlessly encoded in every sort of technological design. It doesn't take much of a leap to trace this value back to the brute fact of our own temporal boundedness as organisms. We find ourselves forever obligated to save time, and the weight of this obligation drives us to design ever more efficient technology. In essence, nature coerces us into efficient behavior by holding time and death over our heads.