Monday, June 1, 2009

Technological Retrogression

C. August has written an article titled The Government Killed My Jet Pack over at Titanic Deck Chairs, about how the government is to be blamed for the slowing, and sometimes elimination, of technological progress:
Still, he points to the fact that our highways are still jammed, and that people are becoming disillusioned with what technology can promise the future. He notes dystopian movies like Blade Runner where "technology creates more problems than it solves," and Battlestar Galactica where "human beings abandon their faith in technology's ability to improve the future. They destroy their fancy machines and start again as simple hunter-gatherers."

I don't think our culture's disillusionment is coming from a loss of "faith" in technology to "save us" but instead the ever-increasing draining of reason and the ever-increasing power of the state over our lives. The loss of reason and the increase of the state go hand in hand. We are losing our confidence in our individual ability to command our own lives, and instead are turning to government to "save us." Government, in turn, is crushing the productive output of what is left of capitalism.
In effect, the loss of reason precedes technological retrogression. It may seem absurd and impossible, but it is possible for humans to retrogress all the way to the barbaric life of jungle savages if they were to abandon the mind, and therefore its products, which is why it is important to grasp the issue of the relationship between technological progress and freedom, and therefore by implication reason itself. Stagnation is not possible; without the mind humans cannot even maintain the current level of technology.

If things keep going the way they are now we will have bigger things to worry about than a slower growing prosperity: we will be going backwards.

Read the article.

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