Today’s Professional

The man of today is no longer able to understand his neighbor because his profession is his whole life, and the technical specialization of this life has forced him to live in a closed universe. He no longer understands the vocabulary of others. Nor does he comprehend the underlying motivations of others

– Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, p. 132

The Technological Society

Jacques Ellul (author of The Technological Society) wrote the following around 50 years ago:

But man himself is overpowered by technique [read: technology] and becomes its object. The technique which takes man for its object thus becomes the center of society; this extraordinary event… is often designated as technical civilization… Technical civilization means that our civilization is constructed by technique (makes a part of civilization only what belongs to technique), for technique (in that everything in this civilization must serve a technical end), and is exclusively technique (in that it excludes whatever is not technique or reduces it to technical form)… Today technique has taken over the whole of civilization.

That was Ellul’s observation around 50 years ago. And to think that there was no internet, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Skype, no email, no cellphones, no laptops then! His words ring even truer today. Technology is all around us. We are drowning in it. We have become so habituated, dependent and enslaved to it that without it our lives are paralyzed. In technology we live, and move, and have our being.