Many years ago I realized that we, but especially the American people, had been groomed, conditioned. How else to explain their counterintuitive behaviours? How else do you get that many people to rise up against their own interests? Why not ask a convicted bank robber, Bernard Stiegler.
After a transformative stretch in a French prison, Stiegler emerged to write a book, "The Age of Disruption: Technology and Madness in Computational Capitalism."
He dauntingly refers to the present’s “absence of epoch” — i.e., today’s lack of any significant political ethos. This “absence of epoch,” during a time of critical ecological changes, is why so many have been left disaffected, fast becoming (in Stiegler’s heavily italicized prose) “mad with sadness, mad with grief, mad with rage.”
So how does all of this relate to our present politico-economic malaise? Stiegler believes that digital technology, in the hands of technocrats whom he calls “the new barbarians,” now threatens to dominate our tertiary memory, leading to a historically unprecedented “proletarianization” of the human mind. For Stiegler, the stakes today are much higher than they were for Marx, from whom this term is derived: proletarianization is no longer a threat posed to physical labor but to the human spirit itself. This threat is realized as a collective loss of hope.
...Today, billions of people are reliant on information technology that reduces culture to bite-sized chunks (the thought-span of a Tweet), and which is used primarily for marketing purposes by a monopoly of tech giants. Stiegler believes that such a situation threatens to dissolve the social bonds that embed individuals in collective forms of life. Most worrying of all, social networks are becoming the main source of cultural memory for many people today.
... Stiegler firmly believes that a distinction must always be upheld between “authentic thinking” and “computational cognitivism” and that today’s crisis lies in confusing the latter for the former: we have entrusted our rationality to computational technologies that now dominate everyday life, which is increasingly dependent on glowing screens driven by algorithmic anticipations of their users’ preferences and even writing habits (e.g., the repugnantly named “predictive text” feature that awaits typed-in characters to regurgitate stock phrases).