“The story we are fed is that we are becoming more knowledgeable, more powerful and more able to be present in more places but, as we upload more and more of our personal and private information into ‘the cloud,’ abdicate more and more responsibility for remembering to the web and sit in shrugged silence while the NSA and GCHQ freely and constantly monitor every digital action we make, it is the technology companies and government security services who are now functionally divine. The more we bind their devices to our wrists and give them permission to know our locations, the more they know the number of our days, the beats of our hearts, the most intimate details of our relationships.
“Critics of [Ray] Kurzweil’s vision talk of a possible future where we will be farmed by higher-intelligence machines, but in the worst excesses of my own over-dependence on technology I know that this is already happening. Logging on to the servers of Facebook, Google and Twitter is free, but I am the one who has been genuflecting, my communications harvested for information that can be used to target products at me with laser-guided accuracy, happy to have my every move tracked in return for the repeated message that it is me who is benefiting, me who is achieving lift. I am told that I am winning my freedom through ever-more-human gadgets, even as they turn me into a well-behaved automata, running like clockwork, obeying pings and reminders, advised to walk more, given updates on how I’m sleeping.
“With serpentine smoothness, sophisticated advertisements convince us that, with each newly purchased device, with each new aspect of our lives that we move online, it is we who are becoming more powerful, we who are climbing Mount Olympus, we who are storming heaven. But, while all along we are being robbed, it is Plato who gets to write the ending. While the rich steal from the poor, the powerful remain in power by offering the illusion of power to the powerless.”
The task of Radical Theology – as I’ve seen it, and as I propose in the book – is to offer a counter-technology that works towards the death of these divine structures. Problem is, I’m concerned that Radical Theology is itself morphing into a ‘desiring machine’ that carries the very same dangers. But more about that in another post … 😉
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