By: Jay Dyer
As I wander through the infinite data stream, I find myself more and more struck with the utterly synthetic, pseudo-intellectual, nihilistic character of it all. Just ten years ago, most people I knew bought books and actually read them. There’s a certain discipline and aesthetic experience involved in reading, and then chewing and digesting a book, something akin to a mystical revelation. Yet nowadays, the preference is for “Kindle,” a name that conceals a subtle clue about burning books, we discover we are boldly embarking on a Brave New quest to become fully synthetic. All of this is an omen for the frightening issue regarding education I fear – understanding lengthy, important works of literature will disappear. For millennia humans have found it natural to contemplate difficult texts in a physical form, rather than scrolling through bytes on a screen. I know I find it almost impossible to do on a screen, though I have read many 1,000-plus page physical books. The Internet is great medium for articles, but are people really going to read the works of the Western iCanon? I doubt it. The point is that decades from now, no one will read important works of history and the classics – at all (Fahrenheit 451). This is precisely what Bertrand Russell said would occur by design, too.
Most are familiar with the theme in dystopian fiction of books being burned or eliminated, but as I progress in my learning, it becomes increasingly evident how far down the dystopian path we already are. A leftist progressive writer and I had a couple interactions recently, and my thoughts on this matter seemed to play out on the screen before me. The assumption of said writer was that true journalism would awaken the masses and the Internet was the great hope of humanity for bringing about revolution. In other words, man is a machine to be programmed with just the right data stream. Over and over, every interaction I have, especially with individuals in alternative media and its nooks and crannies, the presupposition no one ever questions is this Enlightenment model of reality.
While it is obviously true that individuals can change their mind and actions based on new information, the underlying false assumption is that, like a machine, all that’s needed for human development and progress is newer, larger amounts of information. A manifestation of the reign and age of quantity, the quantity we now consume is information. Economics is already moving into the realm of the trafficking of information, as the “sustainable” SmartCities of the future will be structured entirely around total information awareness. This model works on the basis that there are no higher realms, no spiritual dimension to man, and the complete solution to his ills is simply more. More information, more articles, more education, more, more, more. If we can only see beyond the subatomic particles – we’ll see more. If we can only write more articles – we’ll know more. Obviously these are good things in themselves, but across the spectrum of modern Western thought and life, the dominant motivating force is all about the acquisition of more. The SmartCities will not be based around more stuff, but greater and greater immersion into the matrix of the virtual, like the holographic entertainment scene from THX 1138.
There is a dark twist to this ouroboros of gobbling consumption. In the past, the drive for more took man to new continents, established new colonies, brought about amazing inventions and advancements, etc., but consider where our unquenched desire is about to take us today – into the realm of the virtual. We are no longer concerned with real exploration, real knowledge accompanied by wisdom, real interactions, etc., but with the synthetic versions of all these things. It is as if a disgustingly obese man devoured every piece of cake and candy in sight, and then demanded all the same goodies on Candy Crush or some other childish video game. The obesity of the public is a mirror for the obesity of man’s black hole of desire for meaningless more, a dark vortex of infinite nihilistic swallowing, ingesting and elimination of itself.
The great contradiction here is that man’s quest for infinite more, with no purpose or telos behind this acquisition, is the transmutation of matter into the byte – an inverted dark philosopher’s stone that leads to death, not immortality. The lies of the last few centuries surrounding man’s great secular ascent and self-deification through empty “scientific progress” has resulted in a global automaton drone population, transfixed in a perpetual trance by screens. Screens in Wal-Mart, screens in toilets, screens in school, screens on roads, screens are everywhere to the point of absurdity, where it’s almost impossible to even have a dinner at a restaurant without some stupid screen bombarding the senses (generally with sports images). Trying to eat at sports bar is impossible – I have seen sports bars with upwards of ten screens playing at once. It is an utterly ridiculous and perpetual overstimulation and speaks to a completely conquered and destroyed people, who cannot even communicate and share the ancient human ritual practice of the meal, without a dozen screens vomiting men in costumes and tights, chasing balls and rolling around with one another in homoerotic display.
The transition to a fully synthetic society brings with it a mundane, infinitely boring version of everything. Fake food, fake (abridged, digital) books, fake news, fake breasts, fake Darwinian narratives, fake history, fake religions and preachers, false environments, even fake drugs – nothing is exempt from the irrational drive to overlay all of reality with a meaningless digital copy. Man’s fascination with transhumanism and cloning are really just fake mythological devices, furthering this deep faith in the synthetic. The dark truth is that man’s furious descent into the unreal is not resulting in his promised freedom and transcendence, but the opposite: greater and greater atrophy and degeneration, all due to the loss of acknowledgement and submission to the spiritual. Unable to be touched or sensed. the virtual and synthetic is thus a substitute version of the spiritual, a virtual aether. The Philosopher’s Stone is become rock candy, and not even a real piece of candy – a virtual piece of rock candy at level 33 of Candy Crush.