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Technological rationality and social control ( it could be revised) - Term Paper Example

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Technological rationality and social control ( it could be revised)

Such, just when we thought that our fascination is a manifestation of being able to keep up with what is the latest, it is in fact became a source of our bondage – a shackle that we cannot see whom we have unknowingly and voluntarily chained ourselves to become unfree. Herbert Marcuse identified the root of our enslavement to technology in two distinct needs of which he lucidly differentiated. He identified that there are two needs of man in particular and society in general to be “true needs” and “repressive needs”. True needs are those needs that needed to be satisfied with things that we cannot live without that we “truly need” in order to live. We can call them necessity such as food, shelter and some amenities in life such as transport which is driven by technology. “Repressive needs” are those needs that we really do not need but we may actually want. The list is long because want can never be satisfied in the first place. The invention of technology used to belong in the category of “true needs” where it truly helped us to make things easier and our lives better. Its advances has civilized us and made us more productive. In gratitude, we laud these advances but overdid it to the point that we became beholden to them. Our increasing dependency towards technology propelled it to advance beyond our true needs as capitalists expanded its use to become a source of profit and control that it became “repressive needs” because it no longer serve our “true needs” but rather invented needs that are unnecessary. What used to be or could be a tool for liberation now became a source of enslavement of which we all are willing to be shackled. It is not only the capitalists who used it to enslave society because the government too had its share of using it to control society and nations. Marcuse identified the government use of technology to unfree us by using it in weapons and propaganda. Basically a tool of war – weapons in fighting through military hardware (weapons) and winning the heart and minds of the population through media (propaganda). It is interesting to note that Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man was published in 1964 during the height of cold war between United States and Russia yet the realities it portrayed is still relevant today especially the use of technology to control people. It may not be as direct as it used to be during the cold war where government used the technology of media to sow hatred and animosity among its citizens against its enemies but it is still present today. We can gleaned from different government advertisement such as the advertisement of Homeland Security where it always advertise the possibility of terror attack and always ask the people to report and cooperate to authorities about any untoward incident. At the onset, it may sound harmless and even helpful but if we dig in deeper on the subtleties of its meaning, it is basically asking the people to be subservient to government by sowing fear in them about an enemy, imaginary or real and presenting itself as its protector to control them. Generally, we are also unaware of how technology is used by the government to control people through the use of weapons. We often wonder why America has enemies that hated it so much to the point of blowing themselves up such as the case of suicide bombers. Marcuse provided a perspective that It is because of the government’ ...Show more


Technology makes people unfree Technology’s coming of age is much celebrated by modern society. Society marveled at the latest buzz and gizmo of what technology can do now. The rate of its advances are so dizzying that we could only marvel at what it can do next…
Author : xgoodwin
Technological rationality and social control ( it could be revised)
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