Philosophical Thoughts: Technological Sublime

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

In the post, I am going to answer the question: how do we feel subconsciously about new technologies?

We are in a state of technological sublime. Enchantment and awe, but also fear and hatred of new digital technology.

Before the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s in England, nature inspired a similar ambivalence: an enchanting and seductive awe but also fear, which lessened when humanity began exercising control and dominion over nature through the Industrial Revolution.

We are enchanted and awed by digital media’s stimulation, both social and sexual, as well as the novel entertainment it streams, which captivates and calms us. But this comes at the expense of overstimulation and contamination of our digital relationships. We develop fetishized relationships with our devices that increase the impulse to check out sexual content on social media even while we are at our jobs. Our emotional and sexual attachments drive heavy use of our devices. We fear new digital media’s ability to control our behavior, imprison us, and command us to use it.

We fear and loathe the dependence on additional stimulation following desensitization to stimulation, which along with the fetishized relationship to the device, become difficult to resist satisfying throughout the day through seeking out continuous distractions online.

We are in a technological sublime.

Benton Turner