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#635#636#637#638 Episode #639 - Grave Reflections on Technology and Freedom
(Three Wise Men on Techno-totalitarianism)



Sat 19 January 2013  Aldous Huxley, Kurt Vonnegut, E. F. Schumacher
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we hear the voices of three now deceased authors on the topics of technology and Social Control. First a vintage 1962 recording of Aldous Huxley speaking on the prospects for technototalitarianism. Next it's a more relaxed interview with science fiction author Kurt Vonnegut and we conclude with a musical collage of 1970's wisdom from E. F. Schumacher.
This week we hear three authors' thoughts on whether modern technology is actually serving man or keeping him yoked to an oppressive and dehumanizing system. We begin with a vintage recording of a 45 minute speech by Aldous Huxley, made on from 20 March 1962 at UC Berkeley, speaking on "The Ultimate Revolution". In this age of totalitarian surveillance in which multinationals are driving technological research, he voices some remarkably prescient concerns about the powers which modern technologies give to those who wield them. What about drugs to prevent people's discontent by helping them to enjoy an existence that would otherwise be intolerable?

Next we have a change of pace - a more light-hearted interview with the late author Kurt Vonnegut, which continues into our second hour. Interviewed by David Barsamian, Vonnegut shows cheery good humor about the madness around him and makes a range of observations about contemporary life in US, including how a collective amnesia permits commercially controlled media to suppresses dissent and glorify US military aggression around the world.

We conclude with a beautifully made musical collage of E. F. Schumacher, which combines one speeches from 1974 and another from 1977. Sidestepping traditional ideas of progress and 'development', he asks instead whether we can create a system which would serve man in place of the present system which enslaves him? The modern technology of the last 50 years he says, has become "so big, so complex and so violent that only big corporations can handle it, and ordinary people are left out".

Quotes-66.gifIf any of us still expects any real help from big powerful organizations I suggest we are wasting our time. These organizations are big and powerful precisely because they are not in this sense innovative - so the best is to forget them.Quotes-99.gif

— E. F. Schumacher

Schumacher concludes his thoughts by noting that the money system is the key to all the other social apparatus - because it allows those who wield it to direct the other systems to their ends.
Thanks to David Barsamian of Alternative Radio for the Kurt Vonnegut interview, to Vincent D from the healing project for making and posting the E. F. Schumacher mash-up and to Chazk of Virtual Renderings for alerting me to it
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