Theater of Cruelty

Enlightenment is rebellious

Look forward
Forfatter: Tor Nørretranders
Forlag: People’sPress (Danmark)


The development of the competition state has in recent decades led to a new type of standardization hammering on the door to be closed in and implemented. Artificial intelligence, big data, robots, nanotechnology, advanced data analysis, automation and so-called deep learning are tools that support mechanistic algorithmic thinking in alarmingly rapid growth. Of course, new technology should be part of the development of society, but – as in the case of the knife – concrete application should be based on a qualitative assessment.

Materialism. Recently, a new private university, Singularity University, is gaining ground and is now being established in Denmark. The university has the futurist and Google Development Manager Ray Kurzweil as one of its sources of inspiration. Mobile computers / smartphones, cloud computing and self-driving cars have been among Kurzweil's predictions, and i The Singularity Is Near (2005) he unfolds a future picture where machine intelligence and man flow and merge, and machine learning will become the dominant mode of learning.

The trend towards the Singularity standard has long been underway. Yes, as early as the 1600s, with the experimental methods of scientific thinking and the associated mathematical-physical logic, the foundation was laid. All complexities based on human experience have since been sought to be developed and reduced to pure physical processes that can be processed in small, isolated "packages" and precisely measured.

The social credit system shall constitute a hyper-efficient human resource system.

China on the field. Prior to the rise of neoliberalism, social critic Lewis Mumford had analyzed modern societal planning and found that it was largely incompatible with human needs. IN The Pentagon of Power (1971), he talks about knowledge automation and believes that the common belief in mechanical quantification without simultaneous human qualification makes the whole educational process ridiculous.

The system of international institutions built after the Second World War – with the military-industrial innovative drive, the decolonization replaced by neo-colonization and with the rise of neoliberalism – has been a support for the Western development model. But from a completely different cultural background, China is now joining the fight for world domination. China's new surveillance technologies can be associated with an unprecedented totalitarian regime, with a social credit system based on cybernetic thinking now being implemented. This is not a Chinese, but an American invention, and it must constitute a hyperefficient human resource system.

Character of the period. Growing CO2 emissions, climate refugees, rising inequality and political instability contribute to the dissolution of the world order we have known since the post-war period. But as early as 1991, writer and later president of the Czech Republic Václav Havel could say:

"I believe that if the world is to change for the better, then something must change first and foremost in the human consciousness, in the humanity of today's humanity itself; man must somehow come to himself; it must rid itself of the dreadful involvement in all the manifest and hidden mechanisms of the totalitarian, from consumption through repression and advertising to television manipulation; it must revolt against the role of powerless part of a gigantic machine that controls god by whither; it must in itself find a deeper accountability for the world – which means accountability to something higher than itself. ”

Enlightenment and community. In his new book Look forward. From dissolution time to enlightenment time folds out Tor Nørretranders Immanuel Kant's (1724-1804) philosophical contributions through the last-
mentioned categorical imperatives and connecting past, present and future. "The categorical imperative is about being able to live with others in freedom, so that one does not restrict one's own freedom by limiting others and thus undermining one's own freedom."

The book is divided into two, where "the starry sky above me and the law of morality within me" (quote Kant) divides the book. The first part is based on brain researcher Karl Fristons predictive processing according to which we recognize by «draft» and by a subsequent correction from our sensory world. And that's how it goes on and on. “We only see our own drafts, which are controlled through our interaction with the world. The interaction is real and rooted, but the images we make of the interaction – the world and ourselves – are on the wane. ”

The common belief in mechanical quantification without simultaneous human qualification makes the entire educational process ridiculous.

"Our desires and incentives come to the will through our drives, our impressions of the outside world, everything that is usually perceived as our desires, fears and needs." Here, personal autonomy becomes a prerequisite for the moral act – that you are self-governing and thus arrange according to one regulation that you must do what you would like everyone else to do. This could further form the basis for a Kantian economy. And if you continue to think for yourself, yes, according to Kant, there will be a basis for forming a community that Nørretranders will create commonalities. Partying will be one of the ways to support unity. And Wikipedia allows for a "huge, public information era" with "an insight of world historical significance": "The truth is anti-fragile."

Do it yourself. The educational communication at Nørretranders is well developed, also graphically. The unfolding of Kant's categorical imperative is provided in the book by extensive references and a number of stays in red typography, explaining "Where are we?", "What has constituted the 'way to do it?', 'What are the milestones?' and "What's the 'way forward'?"

Nørretranders reaches the answer to Kant's three famous questions from Critique of the common sense: 1. What can I know? (With "draft" we gain knowledge.) 2. What should I do? (We must insist on the autonomy and the endless ethics.) 3. What dare I hope? (Start yourself – rather than being the object of evil, then become subjects of the good.) "Stop complaining that you can't get the food you want to eat. Stop waiting for the community to move, move it. ”

Natural Resonance. According to Nørretranders, Kant believed that enlightenment was that people thought themselves and independently. In the context of the book, Enlightenment becomes rebellious and in a new edition is characterized by decentralized organization of knowledge and networks. «True Enlightenment. It is our responsibility. And the most important thing about enlightenment is that everyone creates it. ”

The antidote to alienation resonates with nature. And what we sense is, in reality, something going on in our heads, according to modern neurology. "What we feel inside is the real outside." When in a few years we begin to build robots on our own will, with sensation and a world inside – "then we will begin to understand ourselves and our way of understanding the world".

When do we? Are we out early enough?

Niels Johan Juhl-Nielsen
Niels Johan Juhl-Nielsen
Juhl-Nielsen resides in Copenhagen.

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