The title might give you a sense of strangeness as it comes in dual with technology and propaganda, which we often view as separate processes. Imagine a moment that almost everything you know about technology and propaganda is wrong. That the technology you believe is your friend is in fact your enemy, and that the propaganda you believe (in general) is your enemy is in fact your friend. Forgetting about your present perception of technology and propaganda, try to immerse yourself in the nightmare vision of technology and intellectual proposition of propaganda.
Starting with the nightmare vision of technology, it is critical to understand what it is. The nightmare vision of technology is a serious intellectual of proposition, the legacy of Jacques Ellul, who is a technology doomsdayer, a French social theorist, and a bringer of bad news. This Ellul’s legacy is likely to turn into reality in near future. To put it simply, the dark side of technology will be taller, older, and bolder. So, this is not a popular message, but unpopular opinion in an era of rampant technology enthusiasm.
There is a considerate rationale to support the possibility of the nightmare vision of technology.
Firstly, it is undeniable that the takeover by technology is actually happening, and it is beyond our intellectual scope because of the technological wilderness. Technology has been influencing us as a unified entity, which we are mistaken as a simple bunch of different machines, as Ellul said.
Another reason claimed by proponents of the nightmare vision is that the overwhelming force of technology can turn the world around us into cold and mechanical. But, we may not notice that force because most of us think that technology is transforming us into better versions, which is truthful to a certain degree. In addition to these, it is reasonable to conjecture that efficiency, a single overriding value of technology, is another factor that increases the odds of the nightmare vision. Ellul stated that we must be forced or seduced into conforming more precisely to the demands and exacting standards of technology. If we do not conform to them, we will be hopelessly inefficient. Given these facts, the nightmare vision may become acceptable even to technophiles.
Along with technology comes the propaganda, which we usually consider adverse, as it tries to take someone in or deceive someone.
However, what is the intellectual proposition of propaganda? In fact, propaganda plays a critical but unknown role in the formation of our attitudes, opinions, and thoughts. Most of us wants to have opinions on the bewildering array of categories, from geography and history to economics and politics. However, we usually do not have the ability to grasp or understand all of these topics, which hinder us from participating in public discussions. Therefore, we accept a propaganda that will allow us to participate, and which hides our incapacity in understanding beneath explanations, judgements, and news.
To put it simply, a man who wants to keep informed is informed through propaganda. Apart from this, effective propaganda can provide us an all-embracing view of the world that encompasses a general panorama of different topics. This helps an individual to be able to exercise a critical judgement and sharply accentuate certain facts. Therefore, as Ellul said, propaganda plays so central a role in the life of society.
Taking the nightmare vision of technology and the intellectual proposition of propaganda into serious consideration, we should be aware of the fact that both technology and propaganda are involved in the development and degradation of society. And it is a vanity to see them as interdependent processes and distinguish their merits and drawbacks.
However, we would be vulnerable to both of them because they exploit our vulnerabilities caused by the situation in which we do not know who we are and achieve understanding, insight, and balance in the disparate, dysfunctional, and oppositional aspects of self.