Friday, August 26, 2016

Understanding our Age | Jacques Ellul

"Technical civilization has made a great error in not suppressing death,
the only human reality still intact."
(HERE+ HERE)
Jacques Ellul (1954) - Thanks to television, it is no longer necessary for the members of a family to have anything at all to do with one another or even to be conscious of the fact that family relations are impossible. It is no longer necessary to make decisions. It is possible for a married couple to live together a long time without ever meeting each other in the resonant emptiness of television. 

[...] Technical civilization has made a great error in not suppressing death, the only human reality still intact. Man is still capable of lucid moments about the future. Propaganda techniques have not been able wholly to convince him that life has any meaning left. But amusement techniques have jumped into the breach and taught him at least how to flee the presence of death. He no longer needs faith or some difficult asceticism to deaden himself to his condition. The movies and television lead him straight into an artificial paradise. Rather than face his own phantom, he seeks film phantoms into which he can project himself and which permit him to live as he might have willed. For an hour or two he can cease to be himself, as his personality dissolves and fades into the anonymous mass of spectators. The film makes him laugh, cry, wonder, and love. He goes to bed with the leading lady, kills the villain, and masters life’s absurdities. In short, he becomes a hero. Life suddenly has meaning.