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September 15, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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A conversation between the editor, William Blake and Friedrich Nietzsche about technology

Tristan: So, the Large Hadron Collider hasn’t destroyed the world. Yet. They fired it up last Thursday for tests, but it will be several weeks until they begin constructing mini black holes by smashing particles together. But should we really pursue the goal of Knowledge above all else, including the future of humanity?
Blake: Yes. He who desires but acts not, breeds Pestilence.

Nietzsche: Of course. From the Military School of Life: That which does not kill me only makes me stronger. But perhaps it will kill us, and after all, what really is it in us that wants ‘the Truth’? Why not rather Untruth?

Tristan: Umm… Maybe we do only seek the truth because it’s easier to attain power when you know how things work. But then again, I like to think that I seek the truth for its own sake, ‘cos that’s, you know, romantic. So anyhu, if not for truth, why do we keep on creating all these machines?

Nietzsche: Because we must overcome ourselves again and again. If we sit still in our happiness we stop striving, which makes us unhappy, which forces us to strive again – all woe says fade, go, but all joy wants Eternity.

Blake: Exactly. Joys impregnate, sorrows bring forth; and Eternity is in love with the productions of Time. So of course we keep clocking away new-fangled Things. But I do not much like all these Machines, these Dark Satanic Mills. Jerusalem was not built here.

Mother Aubert: No, I built it on the Whanganui River. Sheesh.

Tristan: Okay I’m not sure where she came from. Well, I kinda like technology, because it allows me to do stuff I otherwise wouldn’t, but then it gets my expectations up so that when it fails I get frustrated and hit things. Take for instance this new version of Microsoft Office – it saves Word files by the extension of .docx, which you cannot open with older versions of Word! That’s incredibly stupid because now people email me articles that I cannot open. I desire a world in which Microsoft doesn’t force us to keep buying new software when the old works perfectly fine, and where Facebook doesn’t keep changing its bloody layout.

Nietzsche: Ultimately one loves one’s desires and not that which is desired. So you don’t desire this world, you just love pretending to rebel against Microsoft.

Tristan: Hmm perhaps, but I think I’m making a genuine point here. I remember when I was sixteen and had just got the internet, and I used to download songs from the peer-to-peer file sharer called Audiogalaxy. It was awesome, they had discussion boards, and you could find anything – even my English teacher’s band Dating Godot was on there, and if someone logged out while you were downloading their song, it could find a similar file from someone else to download. Then the copyright bastards got on their case and closed it down, but this didn’t end music piracy – it just meant we had to use other, crappier p2ps. Noone has ever made one as good as Audiogalaxy in the intervening years. So you know what? Fuck you Lars Ulrich. Fuck you and your shitty band (Yeah, I know they used to be good back in the eighties, but seriously, have you heard ‘The Day That Never Comes?’ Jesus Christ it’s terrible). So… any last thoughts?

Blake: One thought fills immensity.

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About the Author ()

Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

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