Technology and the Theory of Apocalypse

Technology and the Theory of Apocalypse

Maximiliano Emanuel Korstanje (University of Palermo, Argentina)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3479-3.ch112

Abstract

This chapter ignites an interesting discussion around the idea of apocalypse or at the best to the role of technology by slicing humanity from nature. In terms of the British anthropologist Tim Ingold, one of the conceptual limitations of “dwelling perspective” as a project is the clear-cut division of humans from the natural environment. Unlike hunters and gatherers who have developed “relational” ties with the sensual world, we are educated to imagine ourselves as administrators of natural world. In view of this, the eco-friendly projects (as conservation parks) often exclude the presence of humans. The employment of technology denotes certain rationality which while sorting the environment according to our needs it creates a sentiment of culprit, which is expressed in the bottom-days´ narratives. Mankind, as outstanding specie, is the only one gifted by Gods to administer nature, but failed. Moved by greed and speculations, men governed with energy in backs to God and for that, they should be heavily punished.
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Introduction

The television series The Walking Dead has reached more than seven million “lies” on Facebook and more than 300.000 in Twitter through March of 2012 (March, 2012), which lead very well scholars to think that the popular culture has widely adopted the figure of Zombie as a new genre of entertainment. The idea of the “Undead” not only coincides with the contemporary needs of morbid consumption (gaze) but also with the rise of new capitalism that commoditizes “the other´s death as a vehicle towards the individual emancipation (Korstanje 2012). The undead, broadly speaking, inhabit and proliferate in this earth while they are undesired by the human civilization. They were like us, but today they are death!. The Walking dead appeals to a climate of total destruction which often does not resonate with a form of public consciousness, but in the collective unconsciousness. The undead represents a postmodern sensibility. This sensibility reeks of decay.

“[It is a] ‘degraded’ landscape of schlock and kitsch, of TV series and Readers’ Digest culture, of advertising and motels, of the late show and the grade-B Hollywood film, of so-called para literature with its airport paperback categories of the gothic and the romance, the popular biography, the murder mystery and science-fiction or fantasy novel: materials they no longer simply ‘quote’, as a Joyce or a Mahler might have done, but incorporate into their very substance”. (Jameson 1991:55)

As the previous backdrop, Jameson argues that the postmodern culture rests on representations revolving around the “unconscious”, in which case, it articulates a specific discourse that interrogates in the political sphere. In a similar vein, the arts have represented, in what might be considered prescient ways, what has already begun in the economic, political, and social structures, but has not yet appeared in explicit terms. Somewhat arbitrarily stated, modernism began in the mid-nineteenth century. Charles Baudelaire called it modernité.

As Ulrich Beck puts it, the obsession of modern man to control the nature opened the doors to the idea that the same technology used by making of this world a better and safer place, can usher mankind into a nuclear apocalypse. One of the paradoxes of modernity began but it was not limited to the Chernobyl Accident. Technology played a leading role in the configuration of a Cold War, where the US and the Soviet Union devoted their resources to an incredible arms race. Beck acknowledges that at the time some risks are successfully mitigated by the action of technology and rational technique, new ones emerge. What is more important, the state of disaster results from the excess of modernity (Beck 1992). Jacques Ellul interrogated philosophically on the negative effects of technology in modern society, not only undermining critical thinking but also controlling -if not commoditizing- other lay-citizens (Ellul 1962; 1992). Andrew Feenberg calls the attention on technology, a-la-Marcuse, as a form of new rationalization, which means control over the rank-and-file worker. Technology disposes not only from bodies to enhance the means of production but tries to domesticate nature through the capitalist wage system. While machine operates to make our lives safer, the western rationality imposes over other voices and cosmologies (Feenberg, 1995).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Capitalism: This is an economic system which rests on the principle of private ownership and the use of means of production towards profit.

Precaritized Labour: Low quality jobs offered in decentralized economies.

Thana-Capitalism: This signals to a new stage of capitalism where the gazing of Other´s death is the main commodity to exchange. The term was originally coined by Maximiliano E Korstanje in his book The Rise of Thana Capitalism and Tourism .

Technology: This represents the set of techniques, knowledge, skills, and actions oriented to transform the environment.

Theory of Apocalypse: It is part of scatology, a subfield of mythology that explains and vaticinates how the world will end.

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