Exploring the undercurrent of technology anxieties from an existential viewpoint.
Under the light of the strongest philosophical movement in the 20th century ¬ Existentialism, here represented through Karl Jaspers and the Christian Existentialist Sören Kierkegaard ¬ this essay will unfold from the Descartes times on, how the current influential philosophical trend ¬ Speculative Realism represented by Levi Bryant’s Object Oriented Ontology, Morton’s Hyperobjects, Bojost’s Alien phenomenology threatens to eliminate the existential human science approach in mankind’s philosophical thinking.
The scientific, mechanical interpretation of the human body was first established by Descartes and his Cartesian society. The new way of viewing the corpse was puzzling, when first exposed in the 17th century. People then associated it with atheism. The body and its tiny world of concerns, was part of the wide world and the wider universe. In those days they did not conclude that the body was made of the same material as everything else in the universe or that mechanic forces controlled everything as the OOO-society makes believe.
Jaspers existential viewpoint describes the genuine meaning of being – the higher being– not as subject or object and not to be comprehended by human science or through scientific categorization. He sees the task of Philosophy to transcend all objectiveness to the higher being as the real being – Essentia (existence) and Transcendence – that cannot be tabbed into by calculating rationality and unfolds through life experience. Existentialist’s philosophical engagement is an echo to what is happening on the world-stages, where the truth moves closer to lies and vise versa.
Jaspers in particular rejects a fixation of thinking templates, because he believes that this is a reduction of the possibilities of an individual self-fulfillment.
The categorization by the OOO-Society implements a new structure of thinking, which blocks out its own reduction to sincerity and changes thinking into mind games outside of real everyday life.
Speculative contemporary thinkers annihilate human beings and all other in the flesh existences rights for self-fulfillment by setting up a cartography of machines, in which humans, animals, plants and the entire universe are degraded to machine status.
The OOO-Society believes to have found a thinking path to set an end to the loop of 500 years of philosophical discourse around the object and subject conception. In their view, there are no subjects, there are only objects; everything is an object, orderly bundled in 5 categories of machines.
The overwhelming impact of this OOO- society’s mind construction is everywhere prevalent; in Hollywood movies, social behavior, human interaction, perception and not least important the financial worlds. Onto-Cartography – an Ontology of Machines and Media was published in 1988. Since then AI has taken over the calculations of highly complex algorithms, math formulas on which mankind depends on, in the technological oriented 21st century life. Not a single Mathematician can proof calculate the results or conclusions exercised by the AI. We trust other countries computers, e.g. India, to proofread the calculations and if there should be a doubt, another machine proofreads the calculation again.
Bryan categorizes the different types of machines that make up his universe in: Discursive, physical, organic, technological, and not organic.
So really nothing has changed since Descartes? Yes, the “body machine” was being healed physically by“mechanic medication” but the mind by the Christian God. According to the OOO-society screening the body and mind – all embedded in one “universal machine”- the person will receive healing on all levels of transcendence. That is the difference to the 17th century. The prayers will reach the AI super brain, and so be it that the magical cure will happen. They then are us now, with the difference that contemporary means; there is not a division between the material and the spiritual world.
The OOO-Society associates thinking and being as a non-religious, non-spiritual, purely rational and scientific existence.
This fundamentalism now, too, lives within an awareness of spiritualism. The discovery of analytic algorithms, the use of algorithms to analyze communication on social media platforms, have become the basis of calculus to lighten up the dark unknown of the virtual reality; a single system with math as its keys. Pursuing this machine vision- an exclusive way of seeing the universe and man’s relation to it – will become the future of mankind. Universal all dominating self-prophesy.
The Cartesian society meant to prove the falseness of ancient Greek forerunners and principles by pointing out that they had not enabled any progress, in the centuries they had been followed. The Cartesian society were after the kind of philosophy that would take the world by the throat, which would make people the lords and masters.
The Existentialist Jaspers describes humans as beings, who communicate between body-soul-spirit layers of self-fulfillment. He distinguishes 4 self-fulfillment dimensions:
the pure being, conciseness in general, the spirit and the existence with the following hierarchy: The existence before the pure being and before the spirit and the spirit before conciseness in general. This hierarchy is aimed towards an existence, which is equivalent to the true being – the best possible moral human being.
He identifies these ways of being as shifting wisdom, rooms that attain one another and that are all together necessary for self-fulfillment. A person can materialize its own singularity being – existence in a trans-objective dimension, a leap from the “not to be rationalized or intentionally planed existence“His communication concept/form is a prerequisite for an existential self-fulfillment of man and includes:
The primitive Communication in concurrence with:
This person engages due to egocentric interests for the reason of improving living conditions in the form of expansion: My car, my house, my boat etc. and this in concurrence with a community so all can thrive. The sole purpose of engagement is to increase power and wealth and therefore is either a fight or expression of an interest identity. The messages stop when convenient and are cunning with the enemy or the enemy’s friend. His speech is out for convincing, weakening or strengthening. In everyday life struggles, it is a messaging battle; secret, two-faced, lying, fraud and deceit- everything that promises the prosperity. Anyone, who can help to secure the person’s success, will be accepted as a communication partner.
Communication in relevant purpose oriented rationality:
Conciseness in general expresses itself through guidelines and public regulations with norms in order to reach a satisfying result for all involved. Conclusions are in this case either true or false as well in a logical and empirical sense; arguments are being examined on the basis of logical contradictions and then commonly accepted or not. The communication partners can be substituted, because communication is based on facts and data.
Communication in ideas or spirituality of the content:
The third communicative relationship with other people is in the dimension of the spirit. Jaspers speaks in this context of relationships in “The ideas particular in spirituality of the content“. The difference between the two previous mentioned communication types is that this is a rich communication: “The community in the idea of a whole; this country, this society, this family, this university, this profession. Here Jaspers sees communication as insufficient because in it the communicating man still is not his true being, his own self-fulfilled master. Communication in the idea and its realization through existence, brings people in greater proximity to one another’s minds, but an absolute closeness of the true being myself, with the other true being, is not possible.
The characteristics of existential communication are cognitive, according to Jaspers not entirely comprehensible or verbally formulated. The existential communication has always a TRANS-objective dimension, the communication partners involved can only experience in a non-rational, intuitive act. (Grundprobleme der großen Philosophen; Phil d. Gegenwart V, p. 35ff)
Jaspers admits the risk of meditative, creative solitude and self determination but at the same time recommends it as a must condition of existential communication. The actual true self happens between two, joining to one, yet still must remain two, who come to each other out of loneliness. Man knows about this state of being only because they are in communication with another.
Quote: “I cannot become my true self without communication and cannot engage in communication, without being lonely. I must want the solitude, when I dare to be and to appear in deepest communication from own origin. Either, I dare the solitude to gain my true self in communication, or I definitively give up in another.”
Herbert Marcuse: “The one-dimensional man lives in the commodization trends of management, bureaucratic and technocratic constraints. Manipulative constraints of mass media and mass production have already invaded the privacy inside”, “the possibility of the individual alone to be thrown back to his own origin; thinking, questioning and figuring something out.” It takes personal courage to engage in a meditative creative solitude. Guardini: “Man is not in itself and for itself, but on going in jeopardy of the new other.” Litt put it another way: “The will to reveal as the willingness to share one’s views, beliefs, values, with another person, knowing that person might criticize, requires a communication engagement without disguising reinsurance, tactics and maneuvers”. “This process is not isolated existence, but only with the other.” (Grundprobleme der großen Philosophen; Phil d. Gegenwart V, p. 35fff)
While in the everyday struggle lies and fraud are inevitable and a behavior against “the other” as an enemy – who takes the role of resistance as given nature- the fight of existence is something totally different. It is the willingness to recognize some other human’s possibility and his self-fulfillment as equal, despite its diversity and incomparable external circumstances (social position, etc.) The communication concept by Jaspers is a selfless commitment to the other on an equal niveau, such as equality in the social position, the level of education, skills in a given area and not last the pay.
On the highest level, Jaspers speaks of Existence – transcendence – borderline situations.
“Existence is, itself, when it behaves itself to the transcendence.”
Such a ratio, which relates to self, “a self” must either have set itself, or was set by another. Is the relationship that relates to a self is set by another, the relationship is the third, but this relationship, this third-party is involved then, it in turn, behaves to the one who has set the entire relationship“. For Kierkegaard and somewhat also for Jaspers this “other” existence relates to the Christian God: “Synthesis of finiteness and infinity, of temporality and eternity, of liberty and necessity”- as an experience of the Christian God as a gift in Kierkegaard’s understanding.
Jaspers differs in this in such that the ‘other’, the transcendence, is present in the existential fulfillment experienced in his concept of transcendence. He speaks of a philosophical faith that goes beyond religious dogmas. His believes are unsecured, never objectively or verbally expressible “Faith is trust in our undestroyable hope”. (Philosophy, II, 281). Existentialistic transcendence describes the concept of the not visible, not mandatory, and not general- ” Transcendence is beyond all ciphers and categories – and an inappropriate word for a label that exceeds, thinks, but does not cross, rather is, what it becomes in where it goes. What then, as a statement, is no longer met,”(revelation, 419) Synonyms are real being, actual reality, deity or God.
To illustrate the indeterminacy of transcendence Jaspers offers his “doctrine of the encompassing.” The Wise of the encompassing: “that we are” includes consciousness itself, spirit and existence; He calls them the rooms or horizons.
When discussing Transcendence in an Existential way, it is clear what significance the changes the OOO-Society implemented with their revolutionary concept of existence.
A self-realization for a man happens, when he behaves not to himself and to the incalculable transcendence, but operates rather as a machine that transforms inputs that flow through it, creating a variety of different types of outputs, in a human case, thoughts. (Levi Bryant’s Object Oriented Ontology)
The “trans-corporeal” or interactive relationship to other machines through flows of data and matter are received from other entities and in time will change the other self. Looking ahead the new thinkers demand:
“that we must engage in alien-phenomenology to understand how machines interact with other entities and observe how other entities of services interact in the world about them”.
This leaves one simple question. Is the existence and experience of the machine man to be captured by a math formula or an algorithm- numbers and signs that might enhance the evolution of the universal machine? We might not be good in Math, but humans do have some not too bad input, output process after all; emotions, feelings, empathy for each other, even if there is no financial benefit. Not a quantum leap of a machine rather a metamorphosis or assimilation from human to AI and vice versa. If this is the case, then there should be a compensation of some kind. It takes time and knowledge in many fields e.g. technical, content and legal to interact with the virtual world. Policies are laid out by law and the platforms conditions explain the rights, which are overwhelming and not totally transparent for the user. Sharing with creativity on AI platforms is for “private” folks free, but there is hardly any noticeable materialistic reward- in the contrary. It is expensive and takes time to indulge and share on the internet.
Maybe we can curve the space time of other entities, and imagine we have some gravity in the virtual world through valuable content.
Hellas! A little bit of power? But, then how does one find out about one’s own website users? Through analytic tools! That somehow evokes the image of the “Schrödingers Katze” experience. The price for all of this technology efforts; the loss of human’s interaction and caring for one another; the communication concept of Jaspers is obsolete.
Existentialists believe that human life is bound necessarily to situations. Man finds himself in every moment of his life and has always been in a situation that he has not chosen. Escaping a situation means entering into a different situation. “Everything flows, in restless movement – everything is relative, finally decomposed in the opposites” (Psychology, 229)
It is a challenge to keep conscience in the virtual world. It is of utmost importance that awareness arises about the core of the usage of technology. The internet is not a simple tool to find out, buy, discuss, and display etc things of life. The OOO-society representatives are in danger to eliminate self-fulfillment of an individual. Their entirely on science based philosophy, in the setting of an Universe of machines and AI, refuses to leave room for the existential human science approach. The AI world as a universal background is not a child’s playground and should not take over human’s existential real life. The question arises: How can we make sure that an individual self-fulfillment stays in the spiritual reach of a person, if algorithms which most of us can’t understand manipulate our lives? It will be a challenging 21st century on many stages. I am with the Existentialist and believe that the
Essentia is nothing algorithms or calculated behavior can ever reach.