Today a Google employee is front-and-center in the Society of the Spectacle. He broke the rules of his universe, and the simulation has exiled him. Capitalism is predicated on reproduction, no longer of human life, but of the image. This employee crossed too far outside the normative boundaries of his simulacra. His image was not the copy of a copy of copy that society demands of liberal democracy’s Hegemonic Truth.
There are clear fallacies, poor assumptions, biases, prejudices in his words. However, as Hegel shows us, human progress is in the continual resolution of its conflicts. Like so many battles to control the image and simulacrum of absolutist truth-value, this moment is a polarizing loss for every “side” in this conflict of values. The only information gained when powerful corporations refuse a role in shaping society and morality is that Eros – the universal dipole moment toward the Other – has no place in the sanitized political economy of institutionalized knowledge creation.
This problem is far from a single “bad egg” that the rare bigot voices. This is a symptom of a machine that has no humanity, desperately ridding itself of the dirtiness and complexity of reality. If there is one critique shared by modern and contemporary philosophers across national, gender, orientation, political, and class boundaries, it is that we are not producing equality of Self and Other, we are only enforcing narcissism and Spectacle. We will awake one day, free and equal, but only because we are completely alone with our reflection. Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, Michele Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Byung-Chul Han, Camilles Paglia, and the collective Tiqqun have been warning us for some time how dangerous it is to universally strip humans down to hours, dollars, and contracts in one sphere, likes, clicks, and views in the other.
Naturally, Google had no choice. Some infections require amputation. The real crisis of this moment is that the symptom is being treated without an authentic experience by anyone watching, of the sickness in the system. Unfortunately, when the circus of Spectacle is done torturing the employee and Google, nothing meaningful will have changed.
The true universals of humanity are sanitized away from capitalist production in favor of the free and equal codification of consumable difference. If it is too mysterious to mass produce, what merit could it have? Today, one of the five major companies automating this codification of empty but equal significance showed us that humanity will be finish its journey to the artificial on the Day of the Singularity. When we move from a society of proud workers creating and using tools to a society of tools creating and using humans, we will see what the complete alienation of humanity from its survival has cost us.
First and foremost, we have lost the mystery of the ghost in the shell. What is universally human – love, sex, hope, fear, anger, disgust, wonder, loneliness, and doubt – these are all becoming an unacceptable deviation from the machines of capitalist democracy.
We mature in different ways, at different skills, with path-dependent challenges, unique knowledge, and a vast spectrum hopes and dreams. Gender, Orientation, Race, Religion, and Class are all constructs that we cobble together along the way, building an Ego out of whatever happens to be lying around in the moment of necessity.
We must shape a richer understanding of diversity to cultivate the creativity of humanity. We have seen clearly that the brain has sufficient plasticity to teach improvements to spatial reasoning well into adult life, regardless of sex, after which all engineering becomes more easily pursued. We know that small groups who gain exposure to diversity come away with a more holistic concern for humanity. We also know that our words define us and limit us, crystallizing successful personality traits into biased dispositions.
When we proactively engage in authentic dialogue, anchored biases can gain complexity. When we silence, suppress, and exile thoughts and emotions that do not fit the official image of the branded herd, no one benefits. It is reactive and meaningless to the bigger picture, but too late to do anything better.
Corporations today have unprecedented power in shaping the richness of human experience, but the responsibility of a resilient society, global peace, and environmental sustainability is demanded by very few. The dollar and the image have created us in its image, to ensure the liquidity and deregulation of the simulation. Diversity programs and active encouragement of women and minorities to take leadership roles in technology is an important first step, but it is not enough. If we bring more “female resources” into the technology workplace while enforcing they leave their motherhood, daughterhood, sisterhood, friendship, love, culture, and citizenship at home, we will make the world a far worse place.
The compartmentalization once expected of Straight White Men in the political economy of Calvin’s Protestant Work Ethic, if extended to a fully employed, generic, neutered adulthood of the capitalist system… that is a sociopathic humanity hellbent on its own emptiness.
If we do not take the time to participate in authentic dialogue, about power, responsibility, and our future, we will find that the history of human progress was the totalitarian loss of all humanity.