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Thread: The Rise of Technology: Business Worldview and our Current Situation

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    Senior Member Ægir's Avatar
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    The Rise of Technology: Business Worldview and our Current Situation

    Many sociologist and contemporary philosophers have written concerning the state of man today as he is becoming ever more dependent on technology. Some argue that we are little more than slaves to the modern technological phenomenon, that we are in fact being controlled and recreated by our very technological creations. Others argue that mankind still has free will and that if we would only wake up we could resist the controlling noose that technology has placed around our necks. Most of these thinkers seem to understand that technology develops and preserves itself as if the over all technological system is autonomous and self controlling. But is technology really a problem, or is it completely beneficial for mankind? Is it possible that technology is not a problem at all ultimately but only a tool for another driving force in our society? Some say that technology is a problem an evil, others say that capitalism is the problem. To look at either of these problems places the problem outside of the individual, it easily becomes a scapegoat. The problem is that man has given up his will and power and has allowed the pillars of the old worldview to be destroyed while not creating new ones. Instead of the pillars of tradition today we have only the Business Worldview and the new official religion of Consumerism.

    It is important to note the differences in the technologies we use today as opposed to the tool using culture of our distant (and at times not so distant) ancestors. The default mentality of most westerners is that technology is completely beneficial and that our relation to the technologies of the present is virtually the same as the relationship between man and tools in the past. The masses typically feel that using an electric stove or oven is no different in the relationship of user and tool than the relationship of using wood burning stove and the user. Another example they may point out is that weapons technologies and their relationship with man are the same as well. Take for example the first warrior who was shot with by a bow and arrow. Would not that man have felt just as terrified as he was being shot at and having no idea what was happening as lets say the first man who was being shot at by a repeating rifle, or a grenade launcher. In other words it could be argued that yes technology has changed in a progression but the relationship of man with them and the anxiety that man at times feels towards new technologies is a constant.

    I would say that yes that that relationship has been and still can be consistent but something is truly different this time. Unlike the technologies of the past which were governed by necessity of use, the technologies of today are so often not. Instead we have seen in the modern time the creation of false and altered necessities. How often do you hear today that owning a car is a necessity or that you must have a home computer or worse a blackberry to compete at work? Yes these things can be and are necessary to work and live in our current situation in contemporary western society. But they are artificial necessities, they are currently needed but they are needed by our own creation. Can you imagine a different world, a different worldview one where such things are not necessary, but are conveniences. Where these technologies exist but do not control our very lives. At the dawn of the twentieth century as technologies that had been developed in the late eighteenth through the nineteenth century many in the west felt we were entering into and creating a new world, the modern world. I say that we are still in the birth of that world now, just as the medieval world was not formed overnight neither is this new one. The problem is that as the west marches into the modern era (which some may call post-modern, or post-post-modern or…you get the idea) it does so lazily, bedazzled, and stumbling as a teenager who has had too much whiskey for the first time. In this haze the will of man which had been present to control and dictate the use of technologies in the past now lies sleeping, passed out, unaware. The will of man which had previously governed the very development of new ways of doing has now relinquished that authority on the very thing it has always controlled…technology.

    I am certain that many will argue with me on this point and say that man has more free will and a greater chance to exercise it than ever before. They would point to power of Pharaoh, Pope or Emperor and say look man has no will he is but a servant and that only today in our technologically superior world do we have freedom. I would counter by proposing that the very reason that the Pharaoh, Pope, or Emperor only held the power thy did over man was because man had given his will, his power to the respective spiritual or temporal leader. The leader of society in that situation spoke for all and controlled the direction of society. Certainly there have been many leaders in the history of the west who have abused that authority and taken advantage of the people exploiting the masses, but there have also been revolutions and contracts written to help keep the people in some check with the power they have given.

    Even in our own liberal democracies that is how it is supposed to today. The people vote for specific leaders and in that act put their will, their power into their collected representatives who in turn are supposed to be steering the course of our world. Sadly though the captains are as asleep at the helm as are the masses and instead the ship is sailing though the modern world set on auto pilot default mode. That default mode means that it is technology that is steering our course, it is not technology but those who profit form the proliferation of new technologies that are truly at the helm.

    This idea that the technological sector is controlling the modern world may seem like a conspiracy theory, and it is a conspiracy. Not a conspiracy in the traditionally thought of a group of men sitting in a smoke filled room drinking brandy and plotting the subjugation of the masses. No it is a passive conspiracy, passive because of the fact that our will is asleep and the “conspiracy” is only happening because the only model we have for building our new worldview is that of the business corporation complete with profits, statistics, marketing and the rest.

    Let us look at some of the ways that business models have affected our society and the way we relate to technology. The greatest reason we have seen the proliferation of new technologies over the past century and a half is the belief in the moral neutrality of technology. This is a concept that business by its very nature has been promoting since the development of the first marketable technologies. Of course a salesperson is not going to point out the ills of his project when instead he can blind you with what it can do and how it will make life easier for you. A great example of this is Blackberry devices. If you go to purchases one the sales person will tell you how much easier your work life can be. If you read the ads for one they will show you the same thing. What they do not show you or even mention is that now you will be taking your work with you wherever you go. They do not show you that your meals, weekends, and vacations will be intruded upon by your work. It is not that the creators do not know that this is happening it is that they will not focus on that when they have all the good points to focus on and they want to sell you their product.

    It is true that often scientist and inventors have a cretin naivety when it comes to their creations. However no scientist or inventor will make it far without having financial support. Of course the support comes in the form of governments and corporations. These entities do not possess that same naivety; they know exactly what they want. A great example of this is the Manhattan project. Sure the scientist involved only thought of the good of their project, the government on the other had would not have funded the project if they did not think they were going to get something form it that might help the military.

    Another way in which the business model has developed our modern world view is the concept of total efficiency. That we should strive to be totally efficient. This of course has been in business models for some time, now however it creeps into our daily lives. Efficiency makes since in business as if you are more efficient at times that can lead to greater profits and of course the goal of business is to make profit therefore efficiency is considered good. Most everyday business uses of efficiency make since from the perspective of business even if they can be uncomfortable and unpleasant for workers. The problem though as mentioned earlier is that we are on default mode in our society and the Business Model Worldview is taken for use in everyday life.

    We see this use of efficiency in everyday life everywhere we look in contemporary western society. Just go to Barns and Noble and there are books and tapes that can make you efficient in making friends, making love, cleaning you home and every other thing you can think of. As well there are a plethora of devices that can make you a more efficient and therefore better human being. There are mechanized versions of every old device now form five bladed electric razors for shaving to telephones that know double as entertainment devices.

    These technologies of efficiency come about for two main reasons. First there is a desire of the masses to be more efficient as we have slumbered into the business model of a world view. The very fact that our current mode of thought is that efficiency is inherently good makes these devices profitable. However we are constantly reinforced with this idea from the business world through marketing. We are constantly bombarded with propaganda in the form of marketing campaigns coming in the form of commercials, print ads, and the very news we watch or listen to. Hear we may have a chicken or the egg problem with which came first. Does following the Business Model as our Worldview develop the desire to become more efficient, or is it the marketing of “efficient devices” that makes us desire this efficiency. In reality I think it does not matter. What matters is that it is that we have adopted the business model period. Yes it is a cycle that is constantly reinforced by marketing, but the cycle is allowed to exist because of the fact that no one is at the helm and that we are on default mode.

    What is sad hear is that in this search for efficiency we often become less efficient, or at the very least no more efficient than we were before the use of the technology. I found a great example of this earlier today when I partook in one of the most common examples of this modern efficiency fast food. While I was sitting in my very necessary car in the very efficient drive thru I noticed that the person working no longer even has to pour a drink. No they had a device where all they had to do was place a cup in a holder which was on a turntable that automatically prepared the drink for the worker. Somehow I doubt that the device is going to save the restaurant much money if any in the long run but I am sure that the management there found it to be more efficient, and they had also probably been marketed to in the same fashion that the restaurant markets to the masses on an hourly basis on television and billboards.

    We also see this efficiency in all levels of government. It is in government that we see how inefficient efficiency can really be. This is the realm of committees, subcommittees, committees of committees, committees to discuss the formation of new committees ect… We see this in local and federal governments, form board of education to the United States House of Representatives. What is happening hear is that government like all other aspects of society is sleeping and falling into the Worldview of Business.

    It is a mistake though to think that technology is doing all of this on its own though. I have made it a point to say that the default world view is that of business and not that of technology. What I mean when I say business is not the small business or shop, but that of the corporation. I am not referring to a small privately owned coffee house (which can be some of the least efficient places on earth) but that of Starbucks. I am not referring to a craftsman making furniture by hand slowly and carefully carving wood in an artistic but non efficient way, but instead to large factories which crank out furniture without any style or soul. And I am certainly not referring to the art crated by true artist slowly and carefully but instead the art of Andy Warhol who was a self professed art factory.

    It is the model of business that has developed the countless new technologies which surround us in the modern world. It is business that has taken control of our modern world and given us a complete world view. In the past it was religion that provided our world view and decided what was written and what was not, what technologies were developed and which ones were not. Today many think that technology or science (which is often seen as the source of the new technologies) is the new religion which gives us a world view. I say though that technology and modern science are governed by the business model and that it is Consumerism which has become the defacto new religion. It is thru consumerism that that business takes the will and power from the people and keeps it for itself. It is through Consumerism that we buy device upon useless device as they are constantly marked to us.

    The business model developed into the position it has slowly over time. The seeds of our business driven world were sown in the close of the middle ages with the rise of the merchant class during the renaissance. The business model had three main opponents to remove in order to come to the position of power it knows today these being the nobles, the church, and the government. One by one it has removed all of these elements, not by exterminating them but by either making them irrelevant or worse buying them out to where the business model is grafted onto them.

    The Nobles were the first to go. For better or worse in the old world there was a concept of nobility that was tied to the blood. This is something that had carried over form the ancient world and continued to exist with power into the birth of the modern world but the death of the Noble Class began with the rise of the merchant class. During the renaissance the merchant class was able to produce many fascinating and exotic products form the east and sell them at a great profit to the wealthy nobility of Europe. The nobility of Europe was wealthy but it was their blood not their wealth that made them Nobel. During the renaissance though the merchant class began to take (thru the selling of goods) the wealth of the nobility. They began to equate monetary wealth to nobility and thus made themselves the new nobility. This is still the way it is today where in modern class based societies you are often seen as being better the more wealth you have. In this case the merchant class (the forerunners of the business model) did not exterminate the nobility who had long served as the pillars and safeguards of society but instead made them irrelevant. There are still descendants of the old nobility today, some still have titles (most no longer do), some still have monetary wealth, but regardless they are irrelevant.

    The next pillar of society to fall to the Business Model Worldview was religion, the church. Religion held great power over the medieval and previous worldviews. The church in earlier periods was of vital importance for being a gatekeeper of new technologies. Unlike the nobles who claim their power form the blood in their veins, or government which claimed its power form the people the church claimed its power form God. Granted one of the reasons the church became as powerful as it did was that man gave his will and power to the church however the authority that the church claimed came form an even higher source of God. The church not only served as a gatekeeper for new technologies but also served as a moral guide for all types of transactions both personal and business. These laws of the church did often get in the way of business interest. Business would try to make money at lending or currency exchange for example and the church would argue that that was usury and therefore sinful. As we know now every time we go the bank the business side one out on that argument, and many more as well. This is not to say that business destroyed the church it only made it irrelevant. The church is still around today, and indeed still has many members. However it no longer holds the power over the harts and minds of men as it once did.

    The final pillar of society which provided a cohesive world that fell to the new Worldview of Business was government. Government is a clear example of the people giving their will and power voluntarily. This is done through voting for or simply by having representatives. Even in the days when the Nobles held more power or were the government there were contractual arrangements with the people, and when there were not then revolution assured that there were.

    Today people still vote for their representatives, the governments still exist, but they to like the Nobles and the Church are becoming increasingly irrelevant. It is almost cliché today to say that business controls government. That both political parties here in the United States have large ties to big business is taken as a given by anyone who is even somewhat sane. It is also clear that lobbyist in Washington and state capitals help to and even outright shape laws and policy. Thus business has bought out our government to make sure their agendas have plenty of room to reach fruition. Not long ago in the early twentieth century both major parties were known as trust busters when it came to business getting too big and too powerful, not today though as now big business can pursue virtually any agenda it desires.

    With the fall of government to big business the last pillar which linked our society together into a greater world view has fallen. Instead now the people are living under a defacto Worldview of Business. This is often mistaken as a world view of technology but keep in mind that technology can only be developed by men, with funding to pursue it. That funding and those men and women come form business. The tools of control are many. The new religion of consumerism helps us to keep the world going and gives us a moral imperative to spend money, to purchases the new technologies. Science has been hijacked as well to help support this worldview. Propaganda in the blatant form of advertisement constantly bombards us. Even not so blatant forms such as education programs and control of media news are constantly being used.

    I do have a solution though, I am not just going to point the finger or remain helpless to the situation. It is one thing to examine a situation and place blame on a non tangible third party source which is what many do when examining the problem, however the problem is not business it is man. Business is something that can be good, and beneficial for society, it is that the Business worldview is unchecked that is the problem. The problem is that man needs to reassert his will once more and place power in sources that can help to balance and control the Business Worldview. I seriously doubt that many would like to reestablish the nobility (although established monarchs may help us to root in our common collective past), but only if religion and government are reestablished the Business Worldview and the religion of Consumerism should be put in their proper place.

    I am not arguing here for a return to a pervious place in time but we must have those pillars in some form to give us a coherent world view. With politics this is going to take a revolution of sorts to completely sever the influence of Business on the government itself. With religion we just need something to give us roots in the past. It can be an established mainstream religion or even one of the neo-pagan religions that can do this for us. For even though the neo-pagan religions are new they have created a link to the ancient past for their inspiration.

    With a political and religious revival we can once more establish a hierarchy which can control what technologies can or even should be developed. We have the resources to do so much however the Business Worldview fails us as it is only interested in profit. Why would a pharmaceuticals corporation pursue a cure for a disease when they can make countless dollars by just slightly altering a preexisting drug? This is where government can come in for example by restricting patents, prohibiting some things, and at the same time offering incentives for others. With religion we can root ourselves into a basic moral worldview which can offer answers as to morality in our society and prevent the moral relativism which has heralded in the technological age which I call the Business Worldview.

    With a revival we can see our resources put to actual use as they once were. Early technology through the mid nineteenth century has been a story of great leaps in innovation, although often unnoticed. Today we notice everything and think it to be a great leap when it is really just a tweaking of a previous model, or a more efficient model, or more often than not just a more expensive model. If we put our power together and collect it in a god or government then we can control the direction of technology to once again produce great leaps…or no leaps at all if it is our will.

    Sadly I doubt that even with the multitude of people living in the west today that any of these solutions will surface in the near future. No instead most just slumber, for it is easer to sleep than to fight, it is easer to listen than to think. Even that being said it is important to at least identify what the problem is. That problem is not technology which can be good or bad but the problem is that we have a silent acquiescence to the business world which has given us our only currently active and relevant world view.

    Thanks for Reading,
    Aegir
    For the Ancestors who came before us, the Generations that flow form us, for the Blood that is in our veins.

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    Senior Member Outdoorsman's Avatar
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    Could you put line breaks before each paragraph? It is hard to read when it looks like one giant paragraph. Sorry.

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    Senior Member Ægir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoorsman View Post
    Could you put line breaks before each paragraph? It is hard to read when it looks like one giant paragraph. Sorry.
    No need to be sorry…it looked a lot different in word before posting it…I hope this helps…let me know what you think.
    For the Ancestors who came before us, the Generations that flow form us, for the Blood that is in our veins.

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