by Patrick Henningsen
November 25, 2016
New Dawn 156 (May-June 2016)
is the founder and editor of the news and analysis
website 21st Century Wire, and is an independent foreign
and political affairs analyst for RT International.
He is also the host
of the SUNDAY WIRE radio program which airs live every
Sunday on the Alternate Current Radio Network. Learn
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The march of modern progress has brought forth many advances for
humanity, and yet man is lost.
Technology, automation, and
miniaturization, along with the micro-processing revolution, allow
things to happen that were unimaginable only ten years ago, let
alone a century before. These rapid advances have brought with them
a number of complex problems, some of which challenge the very
notion of progress.
If you define the level of an advanced civilization by how much
freedom its citizens experience in their day to day lives - along
with the protection of individual liberties as we have come to
expect in the 21st century - then the march of the mass surveillance
state over the last 15 years should be of serious concern.
Despite public pleas from our leaders
'if only we pass this next law or security measure'
or 'if we
can just launch one more month of airstrikes'
or 'if the public
will allow just a bit more access to their personal information…',
...and so on, the state and its corporate partners have developed a
firm grip on power over, and intrusions into, our personal lives
that is only increasing.
In the West, a type of cognitive dissonance has already set in
regard to this and other related issues - partly due to the sheer
dominance of the 'war on terror' and national security narratives
that overtook society after
11 September 2001.
Since then, it seems that every six
months or so the narrative is revised; as one perceived threat
subsides, another emerges in its place.
What remains is a stark picture:
a society where real time
monitoring of every aspect of day to day home and work life is now
expected, and where thought conformity is rampant.
It's a self-policing, self-perpetuating
interdependent, paranoid system of globalised capitalism governed by
the ruling class's Thatcheresque trope known as the
principle 1 which stands for:
There Is No Alternative.
When challenged on the efficacy of this
master default position, most bureaucrats, technocrats and
neoliberal financiers will loyally cling to this mantra as if it
were the only commandment etched in Mosses' stone tablets.
Welcome to the technetronic age...
Into a Technetronic Nightmare
Since its inception, the dream of technological progress was sold to
the West as the new liberation, embodied by breathtaking advances in
automation and increased consumer convenience.
The trap has been sprung. The micro-processing revolution gave way
to the Internet and the information technology revolution, but it
didn't take long for our most celebrated advances to turn on
A primary exhibit would be the
NSA-Snowden revelations of 2013.
For the first time, the mainstream media
and the public at large got a broad scope look at the actual scale
and reach of the digital surveillance state. Instead of fighting
back, or demanding reform, the public cowed instead, as people began
self-policing their speech on social networks. The mass
psychological 'chilling effect' that so many contemporary futurists
and writers warned us about has finally come to pass.
A century and a half later after his
death it seems Jeremy Bentham was right -
actually works. 2
20th century prophets like Eric Blair
aka George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and others all issued
vivid warnings about this dark prospect, but in the end it seems the
intense glimmer of technology has somehow blinded society to its
It's true that history often repeats itself but never in the exact
During the post-WWII Cold War era, Soviet citizens
maintained a rigid hyper-socialized system because they feared an
existential threat - in this case the possibility of nuclear attack
from its ideological nemesis, the so-called 'capitalist' countries.
North Americans and western Europeans
backed a fifty year-long arms race because of a perceived
existential threat from its ideological opposite commonly referred
to as 'Communist Russia' or the Soviet Union.
The United States also used this
perceived threat to project power on every continent, and in nearly
every country on the planet. This shaped America's idea of itself,
and also of its role in the world as a benevolent force for freedom
In today's Western threat Matrix, yesterday's communists have been
replaced by today's Islamic terrorists. Who will it be tomorrow?
How much of this was true or just public perception is beside the
point because the systems of control erected during this long and
dark era are with us today - a full spectrum of total information
awareness, and a technetronic society driven by a highly mechanized
military industrial complex economy.
As technology advances the fundamental questions remain:
What's lost cannot easily be regained.
Machines, Obsolete Man
It's not as if philosophical and social critics didn't see it
coming. Many did in fact.
Orwell and others recognized the potential power of applied
behavioral science and its dystopian clinical applications. Should
the state ever have the ability and technology to claim preeminent
domain over the technosphere, then a social malaise might set in not
unlike that depicted in
the novel 1984, or in Philip K. Dick's
The Minority Report.
What Orwell and other futurist
visionaries could not fully calculate, however, was the intimacy
that has developed between technology and the 'user'. So deep is the
personal relationship between these two seemingly opposite parties
that the user becomes one with the technology.
The complete inversion of their relationship becomes apparent when
technology is awarded a personality by society, as it's widely
celebrated for being 'personalized' and 'smart' (technological
algorithms appear to predict what the user wants next).
Conversely, the human is stripped of his
or her individuality by being labeled a 'user'. Here the human side
of this transaction is characterized as a mechanized party, while
the robotic or automated actor is celebrated as the 'smart' side of
this interactive equation.
As man becomes increasingly dependent on technology, the difference
between man and machine will become narrower.
As artificial intelligence, big data and
algorithm modeling amplify inside the matrix, this fusion of man and
machine will beg the question:
Are humans interacting with
technology, or is technology interacting with the 'user'?
This is an important fundamental point
to consider because it means the difference between who is
considered a superior form - man or machine.
Already, today, many argue that machines
have certain distinct advantages over their human creators. As
technology advances, the machines become increasingly independent of
man to perform certain basic functions and tasks.
This can be as simple as turning itself
'off' and 'on', or as complicated as self-regulating its energy
output, parsing out operational tasks, and processing and
self-analyzing data streams in real-time.
All of these things were once considered
the job of the human 'operator' of the machine who has been steadily
replaced by programming instructions in the form of customized
Considering this phenomenon of the changing relationship between man
and technology in the context of the relationship between the state
and its citizens, immediately we can see certain areas that cause
Bureaucracy Becomes a Technocracy
It's important to both understand and recognize the technocrat and
his or her mindset.
A bureaucrat can be characterized as a human administrator
performing highly impersonal administrative processes. Bureaucrats
will quietly celebrate delays and 'red tape' as proof of the primacy
of 'the process'.
The technocrat takes this management concept level higher and
proselytizes about seemingly omnipotent abilities of technology in
performing administrative tasks, all in real time.
With these new
'smart' tools of the future in hand, the old bureaucrat will soon be
One form of bureaucratic tyranny is
replaced by another.
Here the technocrat engages in a kind of infatuation with his or her
machines. For the technocrat, there is a certain beauty in the
perfection and perception of infallibility of the machine. The
bureaucrat's archaic world of carbon copies, notaries and stamps
seems almost organic in comparison.
Once again, the machine is elevated to a higher station than human.
When viewed with a wider social and culture lens, a clearer, albeit
more disturbing picture comes into focus.
In this new world, be it a progressive
or free market capitalist future (depending on which new religion
you subscribe to), society's values are clearly shifting away from
past traditions that were underpinned by introspection and the
inherent spiritual and organic aspects of individual experience.
Regardless of your political or social
position, it's a near given that most people have become acutely
aware of this phenomenon at some point.
That something is happening is not in
question, but rather what are we shifting towards is perhaps a much
more profound question. The answer isn't hard to find.
In fact, it's
right at our finger tips - every hour of every day.
In his book
Between Two Ages - America's
Role in the Technetronic Era, 3 globalist
luminary and geostrategist
Zbigniew Brzeziński described
(back in 1982) the transition between the 20th and 21st centuries:
"The technetronic era involves the
gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society
would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional
Soon it will be possible to assert
almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain
up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal
information about the citizen.
These files will be subject to
instantaneous retrieval by the authorities."
Arguably, Brzeziński's vision was
stunningly accurate, and some might argue this globalist architect
was speaking with the certainty of a deep state insider.
recent state measures in both Australia and the United Kingdom are
indicative of the very system outlined in Between Two Ages.
In both instances, the technocrat
state's over-reliance on both signature and algorithmically data,
coupled with an unhealthy fixation on computer modeling.
Undoubtedly, this has resulted in some cold and brutal social
In Australia, odious counter-terrorism laws brought in under former
PM Tony Abbott seem to be going from bad to worse - with the
latest power grab being the extension of "control orders" for
children as young as 14 years old.
Writer Daniel Hurst of The Guardian describes
Australia's disturbing new legislation rolled out only this year.
New draconian control order laws would allow the court to consider
evidence that is hidden from the suspect - a reversal of the basic
principles of habeas corpus and due process.
This new regressive law would,
"provide the subject of a control
order and their lawyer with a censored or summarized form of
'national security information' against them even if the court
considers other, secret details when making its decision;
Provide the subject and lawyer with none of the information in
the source document, even if the court considers all of that
information when making its decision."
In the UK, through a new scheme called
'Prevent', an obsessive security state has been attempting to
indirectly draft secondary and high school level teachers into the
role of spies in order to profile and report on any young students,
namely Muslims, who "might be candidates for radicalization."
The Guardian reports that:
"Since last summer, Prevent has
obliged teachers to refer to police pupils they suspect of
engaging in some sort of terrorist activity or radical behavior.
The duty has been largely considered
a failure by teaching leaders, partly because about 90% of
referrals end without action being taken." 5
In both examples, our freedoms are now
being stripped by technocrats and their computer models.
Quantification of Everything
In the 21st century, people have been reduced to
While in the recent past you may have
often felt like a number, and you sometimes objected to being
treated like a number, today you really are a number.
As society moves along the Maglev track
of progress and the hyper reality of computerization, now at the
very cusp of artificial intelligence (AI), those old traditional
values and deeper human ethics have been replaced with one singular,
all-encompassing, all-knowing and all-powerful principle of
Writer and philosopher
describes this cultural chasm:
"The trek of modernity from the
Enlightenment has resulted in the mechanization of society to
such an extent, everything is viewed through that lens.
This is the overriding Grand
narrative now - that everything is a version of technology,
including nature itself and so everything is there to be
quantified and measured.
This is what the philosopher René
Girard talked about in his work - when you mechanize everything,
everything becomes just merely some statistic or quantity and
this is a reflection of the binary aspect of computers.
So if everything is viewed as
statistics or quantities within bureaucratic processes, then you
have a kind of atomization where everything is broken apart."
New World Order, this is the
primary principle for all value judgments and remains the only
interest of any technocrat inquiry:
Is it functional?
How well does it function?
Can the outcome be measured?
Can we model the data in order
to profile the subject?
Welcome to the brave world that is a
world of mechanization...
Notice how most capital and wealth has flowed into areas of the
economy where investors place the highest value - areas integral to
As the technology becomes faster and
more advanced, less emphasis is placed on the human element, which
also means less value is allocated there too.
"This is what the dominant mindset
of Western imperialism has led to, where everything is broken
apart and it's then left to the power blocks - corporate,
banking, security, media and social engineering, to take all the
broken pieces and put them back together in a new form by
design, and that results in the notion that you no longer have
any collective belongings such as gender, or a tribe, or family,
and by extension, you are no longer part of something called
humanity, because there's no such thing as human nature
Such is the unstoppable evolution of
technology, and only a few visionaries have had the foresight to see
it coming and pose some warning of the inevitable evolutionary
tribulation which is already taking place.
Humanity is in the process of transformation, from what it used to
be - spiritual individuals part of a family, to what he or she
eventually will become - a component part of a larger mechanized
In this new technetronic age, humans reside below and are
subservient to technology within the mechanized society's social
Who shoulders the blame in this dystopian scenario - humans or
One might argue that once the AI horizon is eclipsed, it's simply
too late to lament, much less analyze the merits of such advanced
technology. The answer to this question may emerge from a careful
psychological analysis of post-modern man.
Author Jay Dyer explains the dangers that could result from the
fetish or perversion characterized by the blind acceptance of
technology as an omnipotent force in the world, where society and
its leaders are unable to question the manifestation of a new
"This dovetails with the idea of
techno fetishism, and the idea that technology can solve all our
The grand narrative that [Richard]
Dawkins presents, this is the generic idea that we are all on
this grand track of progress where technology fits into this
scheme where everything is automatically progressive. This
fetishism can be extended even to military applications.
For instance, someone detonates a
nuclear bomb and this is seen as high technology, and therefore
Dyer is not merely exaggerating by
introducing the prospect of thermonuclear warfare.
Partly due to a mainstream media that is
either afraid or too ignorant to address this issue, the majority of
the public are unaware of recent advances and increased stockpiles
of next generation nuclear weaponry, held primarily by the United
In all likelihood, these will be
eventually sold and distributed to its strategic geopolitical
Enter the next generation of nuclear weapons, courtesy of the
Pentagon. This year's $8 billion upgrade includes the new
B61-12 nuclear bomb which adds features such as the nuclear yield of
the bomb can be adjusted before deployment.
Previously, this fell under the banner
of 'tactical' or 'battlefield nukes', but now under the heading of
'smart' bombs. Plans are already underway in Washington to spread
these new weapons across the planet from the year 2024.
The Guardian reports:
"The issue has a particular
significance for Europe where a stockpile of 180 B61's is held
in six bases in five countries.
If there is no change in that
deployment by the time the upgraded B61-12's enter the stockpile
in 2024, many of them will be flown out to the bases in Belgium,
the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey." 12
Former head of US Strategic Command, US
Marine General James Cartwright, reveals what is perhaps the
most insidious aspect of this new generation military tech:
"If I can drive down the yield,
drive down, therefore, the likelihood of fallout, etc, does that
make it more usable in the eyes of some - some president or
national security decision-making process?
And the answer is, it
likely could be more usable."
The Guardian article's author Julian
"The great thing about nuclear
weapons was that their use was supposed to be unthinkable and
they were therefore a deterrent to contemplation of a new world
Once they become 'thinkable' we are
in a different, and much more dangerous, universe."
Imagine that. If you consider this
'usability' talking point within the context of the previously
mentioned prophetic statements about artificial intelligence by an
esteemed panel of innovators, philosophers and scientists, then any
sane person might be concerned we are passing over a dangerous
threshold in human history.
It's an epic tale, echoed in biblical lore and throughout ancient
mythology. Mankind is now, again, in danger of falling prey to his
Is jumping ship an option, at least out of North America or Europe,
and other urban centers around the globe?
While fleeing to the remains of the old
'free world' in places like South America, Asia or Africa may
provide temporary respite from a pernicious globalized system, it is
in no way a long term solution.
The long arm of progress knows no
borders and if left unimpeded, it will colonize even the most remote
For those who truly value their freedom and want to pass on a
positive legacy to their progeny, the final battle is unavoidable:
standing up to, and confronting the machine.
Nine out of ten experts agree:
this very well could be mankind's
For more on the Panopticon, see
Oceania Forever: Rise of the Global Police State by Patrick Henningsen,
New Dawn 153 (Nov-Dec 2015)
Between Two Ages:
America's Role in the Technetronic Era
by Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Praeger, 1982
'Call for lawyers to speak up
for terrorism suspects in closed courts' by Daniel Hurst,
The Guardian, 15 Feb 2016
'Teachers back motion calling
for Prevent strategy to be scrapped' by Richard Adams,
The Guardian, 28 Mar 2016
'Flying the Flag, Faking the
News' by John Pilger
Social Engineering by Zeev Levin,
'Google's Gods of Truth'
'Apple co-founder on artificial
intelligence: "The future is scary and very bad for people"
by Peter Holley, The Washington Post, 24 Mar 2015
'Stephen Hawking just got an
artificial intelligence upgrade, but still thinks AI could
bring an end to mankind' by Peter Holley,
Post, 2 Dec 2014
'The 21st Century Matrix:
Technocracy and the Rise of the Machines'
'America's new, more
nuclear bomb in Europe' by Julian Borger,
11 Nov 2015