Erebos By Ursula Poznanski Pdf Merge

Erebos by ursula poznanski pdf merge

A short version of this paper was published by Amazon. Introduction - Publisher's summary translated from the French. About this review.

Erebos by ursula poznanski pdf merge

Part 1: Approaches to the spirit of technicism. Part 2: The onslaught of technology and its disruptive effects. Part 3: The flesh, technology, time.

Erebos by ursula poznanski pdf merge

The book's conclusion. The book's appendix: Details about the notion of flesh.

Erebos by ursula poznanski pdf merge

The reviewer's final comments. Facts, and theoretical background. Conclusions and anti-climax. The shortcomings of flesh. Flesh as theology without God.

Erebos by ursula poznanski pdf merge

Symbolism: Cassirer and Jung. Religion as producer of symbolism. Computerization and theology of mathematics-logic. A Case Study: engagement, involvement, embodiment. The Case Study illustrated: a dissertation on embodiment. The publisher's and the author's joint presentation of the French book reviewed here, with the translated title Technology and the Flesh: Essays on Philosophy of Technology, states that o ne cannot understand the technological dynamics of our civilization without taking into account a spirit of technicism that has nothing to do with utilitarian reason.

That is why the field of the technological imaginary is of crucial political importance.

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The pace of expansion of our technological system is increasingly unsustainable. Many signs suggest it is already reaching its limits and that if we are to avoid ecological and social chaos it will be necessary to make wrenching revisions; a radical rethink of our consumerist and technicist lifestyle seems inevitable. Such a policy will face a formidable obstacle: beliefs and the collective imaginary.

Mobilizing the notion of flesh as a thread, the essays in this volume offer an exploration of this technological imaginary. The relation of man to modern techniques is necessarily mediated by an imagination that is organized in sensory myths as much as in abstract ideas. Similarly it is because man is a being of flesh that the rapid deployment of technological power can have disruptive effects, even dehumanizing ones, individually and collectively.

But to mention the idea of a renunciation to certain forms of power, it is to suggest to the "man-of-the society-of-development" to tear off his skin; he does not know how to respond except by a call for more technology. Yet it is because that man is a being of flesh that it is vital to impose a slower rate of technological change: a difficult task for which we are poorly prepared and for which one of the first conditions is to proceed towards demythologization of our technological imaginary.

To dwell in the issues considered in this demanding book is, to use its own words p. I feel qualified to confirm this on the basis of my own experience from the computer industry and the university world.

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The book is so far available only in French, targeting mainly French-speaking countries like France and Canada. The author, who we will refer to as "the author", presents himself as a student of philosophy and social sciences, having taught in France and the United States.

Currently he is engaged in areas related to sustainable development and conducts research in philosophy of technology and the socializing role of non-monetary economy. In the spirit of the book I will use the term " technology " for the French " technique ".


One main message of the book is that the ongoing expansion of technology and its applications is the result of a technological spirit or frame of mind that is not utilitarian and consciously goal-directed but rather culturally conditioned. Indeed, while I was writing these lines I read about what undergraduate students of informatics at a Swedish university are concluding in an assignment on "future studies" in a course on the future digital media.

Their vision is: "Touchscreens in tables and on walls, cameras in the lens of the eye, fingerprints instead of credit cards, the TV becomes a computer and digital games are controlled by bodily movements in large rooms Imagination is childishly let free at somebody's or taxpayers', or consumers' expenses, as in typical imaginative and playful advertising for futuristic levitating cars and whatnot.

Forget about old style serious university research or investigative journalism: universities often prefer to keep surfing on the possible applications of available commercial and industrial products whose prior development is left to industrial laboratories.

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Goals and culture? If there are any goals they are the market's, whatever that is.

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Or, as a friend expresses it: the "objectives" end at the point of sale. Or at the point of the researchers cashing their research grants. Or at the point of the students receiving their passing grade. A ccording to the book's the driving cause of this state of affairs is the culturally conditioned technological imaginary in Gilbert Durand's meaning that is illustrated in the first of the three parts of the book in terms of history of theology and philosophy.

They are seen to relate to the spirit of technology by means of analysis and commentaries of literature and films. The second part builds up an image of consequences of technology beyond questionable profits, while the third part is directed toward a sort of conclusion in terms of unacceptability or impossibility of long term consequences, and of what should be done.

In what follows, for stylistic reasons, I will refer to myself as representing "the reader", and thereby I will differentiate between the author's statements, and my own personal comments that will gradually increase in number along the course of the chapters. The next five sectionf below, including the "Appendix: Details about the notion of flesh" are an account of the book itself.

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The following "Some final comments" about the whole, with its subsections are mine. A ll translations from the French original text are mine.

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For the rest I wish to alert the readers that my intentional profusion of references and links in the text only aims at supporting further investigations including my own as related to my earlier work.

For this I make extensive albeit not exclusive use of Wikipedia -references because of their comprehensiveness, and easy overview in terms of standardized layout, with full knowledge and evaluation of their possible shortcomings. All this explains the volume of text of my review that is expanded from the idea of a simple book review to a survey of its context as platform for research. The first part of the book in its chapter I is dedicated to illustrate how human thought, or "reason", or "spirit", from its known beginning long before the rise of science in the 16th and 17th centuries has been trying to "divinize" man.

He has been being unconsciously seduced by a "desire for power" to transcend the limits of presumed human condition in the "reality", in terms of materiality, time, and space. This enterprise is illustrated by history: magic, myths embodied in literature or media, philosophy, and ultimately by repeated reforms and final abandonment of theological interpretations.

The dream was early expressed also in the attempt to liberate the energy or spirit hidden inside nature and matter in order to trespass the ontological limits of human existence and to offset its perceived incompleteness. That is, it is a desire for power that has nothing to do with usefulness, and explains why the "vocation of the tool" is to transform itself sooner or later in weapon, and contribute to the "progressive production of God via evolution" p.

Erebos by ursula poznanski pdf merge

The technological striving for power and its characterization of deepest layers of modern Western thought is the recurrent theme of the book. The reader may note that this criticism recalls the classic notion of hubris , considered the greatest crime of ancient Greek society, something that is not recalled in its text.

Chapter II illustrates how the attempts were initially made by means of magic and the presumed understanding of divine intentions through knowledge of the system of forces or powers in nature. Cabbalism and Lullism are examples of conceptions that systematized the play of divine cause in combinatorial and numerical terms, opening the way towards a later mathematization of the understanding of nature.

By means of mathematics one would be able to acquire further knowledge of the divine secrets of nature without the need of a particular virtue, mainly by means of "mechanical" mathematical operations. In this sense our modern solutions are analog to those of magic, gnosis , and hermeticism p. Even if the reference is not mentioned in the book the reader may note that this aspect of technology has been well noted by scholars like Frances Yates , and Richard Stivers in his book Technology as Magic , where Stivers is heavily influenced by Jacques Ellul , known as French philosopher , law professor , sociologist, lay theologian , and Christian anarchist.

Stivers' book explains symbolism in language still better than our reviewed book and recalls questions that are common to the Toronto School of media theorists including Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong, Neil Postman and related Douglas Rushkoff. It deals with "magic" in the crisis of language vs the rise of visualization and aestheticism, the dominion of statistical information through computers, mass media and public opinion, therapies and self-help ideologies, management fads, and education in universities in decline.

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Furthermore, we have the related Religion of Technology by David Noble and more contemporary studies relating these issues to trends in computer science, such as a PhD dissertation by Erik Persson , partly summarized in an article in the Ellul Forum Spring betitled and available in pdf-format as " Cybergnosticism Triumphant? They may be seen as perceiving and acting as in a magic world: it "works" but one does not know why.

Magic will work the more so when people in they "everyday life" have no views about what is good or bad, and for whom, but are content with their salary while fostering the "aesthetic" or aestheticist design of edutainement, interaction, engagement, involvement, presence or whatever.

The first part of the book includes also chapter III a review of the role of the relation between technique as crafts, and science for power or mastery over nature. This recalls in the mind of the reader the relation between the much advertised and little reflected-upon concept of tool , vs. This is done by dwelling on the implications that the Euclidean apodictic method had for mathematization or formalization of the sciences, and for the consequent partial divorce between science and experience, contrasted to experimentation.

It prompts the author to recall that the "revolution in reason" was not a revolution of reason p. That is: " This was a decision to limit the ontological horizon of reason. Objects of thought that are too difficult are excluded.

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The revolution in reason cannot be explained logically, it is posited as a new requirement that the human will must assume and carry out. A chapter IV is dedicated to "technological violence" and deals with risk and danger as conceived in film and literature.

Examples are given of how catastrophes are depicted as unavoidable or caused by incompetence, ill-willed villains or terrorists, all under the assumption that goodwill shall prevail under the aegis of democratic technology.

Risks justify the taking of risks through the idea of insurance, furthering the "insurance industry". The reader is led to wonder whether this conception may also explain the ongoing emphasis on preventing and combating terrorism that seems to feed upon certain forms of technological power.

The author's analysis goes on identifying features of the narratives such as fantasies on transgressions of moral and physical limits of reality, including infantile yearnings of omnipotence and transgender behavior or asexuality.

This is a hidden ideology of "no consequences" cf.

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It becomes obvious for the reader that such a scenario recalls a possible staging of aestheticism as in today's emphasis on "design", ludic behavior as in computer games , as well as present GLTQ -trends in Western societies that are associated with branches of feminism. The natural reality of biological diversity is downplayed or outright denied in favor of a technologically supported idea of gender's social construction in a world where, for instance, biological functions are artificialized.

Chapter V on "virtual existences" considers the ongoing technologically supported process of desincarnation and therefore dehumanization, in the book's frame of mind of emphasis on "flesh" , and violence, with its implicit deconstruction of sexual gender identities and denial of biological-social constraints, as well as of consequences of human actions and risks in physical-biological reality.

It is illustrated through commentaries on better known films and pieces of literature. The reader may notice some parallel insights are contained in other studies such as the earlier mentioned PhD dissertation by Erik Persson, summarized in the article pdf-format on Cybergnosticism Triumphant?

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The book's theoretical framework purports to offer a description of the "soul's anatomy" and of the socio-ethical disorientation of the addict to computer games such as World of Warcraft whatever else is suggested by a novel like Ursula Poznanski's Erebos and its ethically neutral reviewers, e. No lack of "engagement-involvement" here see more below, at the end of this review.

The reader may also notice that the mentioned plots have a deal in common with the core of the Swedish success cast figure Lisbeth Salander , as well as complications in contemporary sexual relations, emphasis on radical feminism, gender-wars, homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender, cisgender , and euphemisms for promiscuity. They may be summarized by the abuses of feminism , of the so called LGBT and polyamory movements, and illustrated by some of the ultimate behaviors described scientifically as early as in by Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his Psychopathia Sexualis, and as late as in the afterwar's weird art like The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye , or filmic environments related to the Church of Satan and their influence on present computer-game settings.

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The reader, however, will usually not go to such extremes in the reflections upon the chapter. It may be enough to perceive subtle syntheses of the messages in both chapters IV and V by interpreting the content of teen-age oriented best-sellers like the Swedish Cirkeln , in a trilogy by Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren, , that has been described as a "Harry Potter pastiche", obviously exploiting the Harry Potter successful pattern.

It was unsuspectingly reviewed in the main newspaper Dagens Nyheter 18 April with the naive comment that the more powerless a group of people read: teenagers feel or are pretended to be in society, the greater the need for them to invoke omnipotent and romanticized incarnations as vampires and magicians.

And the publisher's choice of an appreciative quotations from writer John Ajvide Lindqvist claims that it deals with group dynamics, identity, understanding one's place in the world, and on how to become a human.

It starts from reflections upon traditional philosophy's differentiation between accident and essence, it goes further to early perceptions of bureaucratic depersonalization , and to early accidents with what we today see as an antiquated technological system such as described in Thomas de Quincey's The English Mail Coach The text is interspersed by challenging reflections.