The System I don’t have to explain, although it might be hard to explain to creatures from another planet. If we said “The System has taken the place of God,” this wouldn’t help much either – although that would certainly be true. But the System is more technical than God was – and in our minds, better.
The System is different in another way too: God had people, but the system has functionaries. There is a difference. Functionaries are objects or things. They are trained, or programmed, to perform certain functions that the System needs done. The System makes everything work together – at least in theory. In practice, as we are finding out, it doesn’t work very well.
We are strictly forbidden to notice this. Why? Because if we lose confidence in the System it will quickly collapse and the world, as we know it, will be over.
Am I exaggerating the importance of belief in the System? Consider what happens when any bubble collapses. Panic sets in. Nothing changes but people’s attitude toward some part of the system – but all hell breaks loose, and the results can be very serious.
Why is this? Because the System, although it claims to be God, is really operated by, and only benefits a few – the rich and the powerful. Our political conservatives, as well as the sycophants in every organization, are aligned with them and their interests.
This is obviously not a desirable state of affairs. How did it happen? Because people had been converted to functionaries who cannot think for themselves – simply because they were no longer people.
Right here is where I lose everybody, because they do not understand the difference between being a human and being a functionary (a thing). They cannot imagine how such a conversion could happen.
I have a hard time imagining it myself. But it did happen, and I can imagine some of the reasons why – mainly involving our relationships to technology. I watched two college students, a young woman and a young man, talk on the bus – meanwhile checking their cellphones constantly. I realized, with a jolt, how their cell phones were part of them! Just as when I was young, a car was part of many young Americans. And, for that matter, is now part of nearly everybody.
Our things have become body-snatchers, and now own us – when we think just the opposite. This is easy to say, and intuitively people can believe it – but the implications, which are vast, are beyond them.
As I have said elsewhere, we seem headed for another Middle Ages. Hopefully, this will force us to reconsider our relationship to technology, and we can start over – this time with us firmly in charge.