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The Betrayal by Technolology

Jacques Ellul

«One of the most thoughtful philosophers to approach technology from a deterministic, and some have even argued fatalistic, position is Jacques Ellul. Professor at the University of Bordeaux, Ellul authored some 40 books and hundreds of articles over his lifetime, the dominant theme of which has been, according to Fasching (1981), "the threat to human freedom and Christian faith created by modern technology". Ellul's constant theme has been one of technological tyranny over humanity. As a philosopher and theologian, Ellul explored the religiosity of the technological society.» Read more

Six videos on The Betrayal by Technology.  Depth and simplicity!

Transcript of video 6/6

«In order to rediscover a sense, we must discuss everything which has no sense. We are surrounded by objects which are, it is true, efficient, but are absolutely pointless. A work of art, on the other hand, has senses in various ways, or it calls up in me a feeling or an emotion, whereby my life acquires sense. That is not the case with a technological product.

And on the other hand we have the obligation to rediscover certain fundamental truths which have disappeared because of technology; we can also call these truths values, important, actual values, which ensure that people experience their life as having sense. In other words, as soon as the moment arrives when I think that the situation is really dangerous, I can't do anymore with purely technological means; then I must employ all my human and intellectual capacities and my relations with other people to create a counterbalance. That means that when I think that a disaster threatens, and that developpements threaten to lead to a destiny for mankind —as I wrote concerning the developpement of technlogy— I, as member of mankind, must resist and must refuse to accept this destiny. And at that moment we end up doing what mankind has always done at a moment when destiny threatens. Just think of all those Greek tragedies in which mankind stands up against destiny and says: No. I want mankind to survive, and I want freedom to survive. At such a moment, you must continue to cherish hope, but not the hope that you will achieve a quick victory and even less the hope that we face an easy struggle. We must be convinced that we still carry on fullfilling our role as people. In fact it is not an insuperable situation. There is no fatality that we cannot overcome. We must simply have valid reasons for joining in the struggle. You need a strong conviction. You must really want people to remain ultimately people.

This struggle against the destiny of technology, has been undertaken by us by means of small-scale action, we must continue with small groups of people who know one another. It will not be any big mass of people, or any big unions or big political parties, who will manage to stop this developpement.

What I have just said does not sound very efficient, of course. When we oppose things that are too efficient, we must'nt try to be even more efficient. For that will not turn out to be the most efficient way.But we must continue to hope that mankind will not die out and will go on passing on truths from generation to generation.



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Jacques Dufresne's

The editor of L'Encyclopédie de L'Agora and well known newspaper chronicler and philosopher, analyses actuality through the looking glass of Belonging.
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