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We are but a means to an end, mere statistics in the earnings game.

Our habits and ethics are manipulated, our ideas and beliefs distorted.
Both of these salient stimuli that interrupted me were caused by technological objects, and that is a common theme in our lives. The very presence of technological objects in our environment is a source of such stimuli. We are surrounded by technological objects -- whereas once humans lived in a largely natural environment, we now live in a technological environment. The sight of my car, for example, parked in my driveway, is a reminder that it ‘needs’ washing and perhaps other maintenance activities. A basket full of dirty clothes calls my wife’s attention to laundry activities. The computer on my desk at work is a conspicuous object that reminds me of e-mail to read, documents to write, and spreadsheets to build. Everywhere I look there is some technological object that draws my attention to some activity to use it for, or some activity associated with its acquisition, use, or maintenance.

As usual, fear is used to attain the Leviathan's interests.

The system instills a sense of paralysis, isolation and uniformity among the masses.
Besides the ones I noted, there are many technological objects that contribute to the urgency of activities and many ways in which they do that. Calendars and clocks, both technological objects and both representing long-standing technologies, provide the basis for urgency. The concept of time and the loss of opportunity as it passes, of course, do not depend on either of these, but it is hard to imagine urgency in the way most of us understand it today without these technological objects.

 

Apathetic puppets we have become, free thinking minds we have none.


In my example, re-sending the e-mail to my colleague and composing the e-mail for my students were urgent activities. The first was urgent because my colleague had to catch a plane. The second was urgent because I had established a due date for my students’ assignment and it would be good for me to inform them of it in a timely manner. The example also illustrates the role of technology in creating that urgency. In the first case, my colleague’s airline established a schedule and my colleague and I (the latter because we could communicate with technological objects) had to fit our activities to a deadline. In the second case, the presence of my laptop computer enabled me to set the goal of sending the assignment announcement immediately. Without the computer, I might well have decided to simply postpone the assignment and make an announcement in class on Monday, thereby relieving me of the need to compose the message on Saturday afternoon.


Of course, some of the salient stimuli generated by technological objects can call my attention to the higher good. My telephone, for example, can ring to call me to a conversation with my pastor about spiritual growth. But in fact only a small fraction of the thousands of stimuli originating from technological objects that I encounter every hour are related even remotely to the highest good.


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Besides the stimuli provided by the mere, passive presence of technological objects, many objects are designed to generate salient stimuli specifically intended to catch our attention. Besides the ringer of my telephone , my alarm clock is designed to interrupt my sleep or soliloquy. The advertisements in newspapers and magazines use salient images to draw my attention to the acquisition and use of products and services. Billboards and other signs present salient images to draw my attention from my driving to products, services, social issues, and other things. Similarly radio and television sounds and images are crafted to be so salient and ear- and eye-catching that I am strongly compelled to attend to commercials and programs (which are punctuated with commercials). Women’s clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics are designed to create visual and olfactory stimuli that distract me from the task at hand. My computer can be configured to beep at me when electronic mail arrives.

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Consume, consume, consume the Leviathan commands, knowing full well that our fear will eventually succumb to their perpetual warnings of apocalyptic zeal.

The Stupefaction Of A Nation Corporate Media …

Abusing our still fragile memories of 9/11, the corporate media unleashes the vast array of products it manufacturers onto us, using fear as its principle marketing tool, hurling diatribes about our supposed imminent threats looming in every city.