We have always been our technologies.
We have always invented technologies (the blowgun, for example) and then changed ourselves to take advantage of these technologies. We and them have always existed as part of the same complex.
And when we speak of us – we always mean us as individuals – and as societies. Which are always in the process of changing.
Right away, we are speaking of a complicated – or more accurately, a complex situation. Where everything effects everything else.
Unfortunately, we have been conditioned by Science – or at least a particular kind of Science – that could only deal with two variables at a time – cause and effect. The Law of Gravitation (for example) only involves two physical bodies – if another is added the mathematics breaks down.
This was strange, because we had been used to dealing with complex situations for a million years (more or less) but now we could only think of simple situations. But this made it easy for us to become developed – we could concentrate on one thing at a time – and ignore everything else.
This was what the Industrial Revolution amounted to – developing one technology at a time at the expense of everything else. Which allowed us to grow from an insignificant species into a world-dominating one. Which now threatens to destroy the world.
I will now describe a very short history of us and our technologies in the last three hundred years or so.
This began with the Sailing Ship. Which created a huge demand for sailors to man those ships. Mostly by brute strength. A sailor didn’t have to be very smart – in fact, it was better if he wasn’t. All he had to do was follow orders. Other people – going up a long chain of command – would issue those orders.
You may object that somewhere in this chain of command (usually at the top) some person was in control. But this is not quite true. These people had become obsessed with power - and were not really people any more.
What we had was a mechanical (unthinking) way of being - modeled on an old pattern – the Military. But with sophisticated new technologies – that made all the difference.
Let me repeat that – we had sophisticated technologies that made all the difference. They took control of us. Or, to use language more carefully – our fascination with them took control of us. We became, in effect, their reproductive organs.
There were solid reasons for this. Those who controlled the latest technology (usually not the best of people) became rich and powerful.
This fact has an ancient pedigree. This is what built the Roman Empire – and all the empires before it and since then. And I must note – all these social edifices were unstable, and eventually collapsed.
Which is exactly where we are now.