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World Without Mind

Franklin Foer’s recent book.  Earlier in 2017, Foer had just had a bad experience working for the New Republic magazine, stemming from a difference of approach between he and the magazine’s owner, Chris Hughes.  More on that below.  This experience gave him a turn about the nature of the the new technological juggernaut being unleashed in this decade.

Foer begins his book by profiling Stuart Brand, child of an advertising executive who scuttled around the SF counterculture circuit in the run-up to the Summer of Love.  Brand comes across in Foer’s profile as The Man Who Betrayed the 60s.  “His [Brand’s] gift was to channel the spiritual longings of his generation, and then to explain how they could be fulfilled by technology.”   This was a version, as Foer puts it, of “humanity tied together into a single transcendent network.”  Brand, after a detour through the ranks of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, and later profiled in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, represented the “restrained, reflective wing of the Pranksters and according to Foer, “remained a neatnik with a filing cabinet.”  Of course at this juncture (1967) the sentiment among the cognoscenti of the counterculture was that computers and the counterculture’s core values could never mix.   Foer:  “Everything the nascent counterculture would come to despise–the mindless submission of the herd, the tyranny of bureaucracy, could be reduced to a pungent symbol, the computer.”  And yet, this despising was overdetermined, for it masked a deep fascination with its hated shadow who appeared at this very time in the persona of the Trekkie.  Foer: “Baby Boomers grew up in a world steeped in technology–rock ‘n’ roll, automobiles, television.  They enjoyed modernity far too much to mount a full throated counteroffensive.”  R.Crumb summed it up in his comic story of July 1970, “Mr. Natural Goes to a Meeting of the Minds”.   Foont:  “What should we do, Mr. Natural?”  Mr. Natural:  “If you really want to make a revolution, it’s a simple matter of getting rid of all this illusory booshwah junk that clutters the human spirit and encumbers the will in its battle for freedom–(picks up TV to throw it out the window) “I’m sure you don’t need THIS!”  “Somebody stop him!” “Some nerve!” “Hey! That reminds me! it’s almost time for the eleven o’clock news!!”

Brand was the one who got NASA to release the famous picture of the whole earth in space.  His Whole Earth Catalogue, a bold attempt to fuse the ideals of hippiedom with the instruments that could make alternative communities function, was “one of the Bibles of our generation”, according to Steve Jobs.  And so, Brand arrived at his fateful conclusion, one which was to have such wide repercussions down to the present day.  Granted, technology had created the lion’s share of the current ills of the world.  However, technology, but, crucially, a technology that was decoupled from its institutional moorings in General Dynamics and IBM, and returned to the hands of the people, was the only force potent enough to save it.  Foer at this juncture quotes a certain Fred Turner, author of From Counterculture to Cyberculture.  The Whole Earth Catalogue “helped create the conditions under which microcomputer and computer networks could be imagined as tools of liberation.”

end part I

Some Thoughts on Langdon Winner’s “Do Artifacts have Politics?”

This essay seems especially relevant to today’s situation, even though written 38 years ago.   Winner frames his overall argument in a dichotomy:  that between democratic and authoritarian technology.  Democratic technology is human-centered.  Authoritarian technology is system-centered.  Winner locates the ultimate expression of authoritarianism in our society in the phenomenon of the atomic bomb and nuclear power facilities in general.  This stuff is just too dangerous to have any other kind of system in place.  Such a protocol as is implemented in its control can only lead society to the authoritarian right.  In other words, it becomes a paradigm for all purposeful activity; it then radiates out from its center in its control of the weaponry and nuclear power facilities, out to the large corporations, and then…then what?  More on this below.

Winner takes pains to establish that it is possible and valid to think of technology as having a political dimension, but begins by looking at the problem from the opposite perspective.  One does not want to be glib in rejecting the “technology is neutral” thesis.   The key point in the successful articulation of a fully adequate theory of the politics of technology, according to Winner, is to critique “naive technological determinism”, that technology develops solely, irrespective of its social determinations, by an internal dynamic and then proceeds to regulate everything according to its own paradigm.  The whole notion of “autonomous technology” is a slippery one; just what does one mean by “autonomous” in this context?  Human beings invented it, and it must be developed and maintained by humans or it would cease to exist.  But I maintain that insisting on the finality of this position is a mere obstinacy.  Once certain parameters are established, the whole apparatus functions as if it is autonomous.  As Ellul puts it in The Technological Society:  “The complete separation of the goal from the mechanism, the limitation of the problem to the means, and the refusal to interfere in any way with efficiency, all this is clearly expressed by Taylor and lies at the basis of technical autonomy.”  And so this technological imperative rests on a refraining: a refusal to interfere with efficiency.  And the signs of the process of the subsuming of human ends to technical means are proliferating;  this trend has been building now for over a hundred years, brought to fruition by Frederick Winslow Talyor and his minions. The point is that this process of “rationalization” of workplace activity, while seemingly proceeding from a neutral standpoint necessitated by commercial survival, has the character it does because of the values which subtend it.

Winner, in my estimation, wastes considerable energy in the earlier part of the essay by citing certain kinds of examples of politicized technology that are really beside the point.  The key point, that Winner finally makes nine pages into his 18-page essay, is that there really is at work an “ongoing social process in which scientific knowledge, technological invention, and corporate profit reinforce each other in deeply entrenched patterns that bear the unmistakable stamp of political and economic power.”  This is a different argument than is put forward by more globally-oriented thinkers such as Jacques Ellul, and Winner again gets bogged down in parsing of specific features in the design or arrangement of technical systems as a way of addressing the problem of the deeply entrenched patterns of political and economic power.  But then he is after all, merely following out his initial assertion that there is a marked dichotomy between an  authoritarian and a democratic way of implementing technology.  For Ellul, democratic or oligarchic is beside the point.  Ellul is operating from the same mindset as Marcel Duchamp who objected to the scientific spirit as such, maintaining that it was against the interests of humanity because it “imposes mechanization upon the affective domain.”  Would it really make any substantive difference in furthering the cause of human autonomy if the slaughterhouses were powered by solar instead of coal energy?  The question is not what unites or divides us, but what subjugates or liberates us.

Finally. at this juncture, 11 pages into the essay, Winner gets to the main points of consideration.  In introducing the idea of a technological scenario which does not admit of any meaningful variations which could dispel the spectre of authoritarianism, he cites Engels’ short essay “On Authority” which was directed against the utopian anarchists who were maintaining so foolishly that all domination of one man or group of men over others was unjustifiable.  Engels uses the example of mechanized cloth production as practiced in the cotton-spinning mills of the day.  Winner writes, “Because these tasks must be coordinated, and because the timing of the work is ‘fixed by the authority of the steam’, laborers must learn to accept a rigid discipline.  They must, according to Engels, work at regular hours and agree to subordinate their individual wills to the persons in charge of factory operations.”  Engels:  “The automatic machinery of a big factory is much more despotic than the small capitalists who employ workers ever have been.”     Engels is maintaning that this is no idiosyncracy particular to capitalist systems, but that these relationships of authority and subordination arise independently of all social organization. This position contrasts most starkly with Engels’ comrade-in-arms, a certain Karl Marx, who, in Capital, tried to demonstrate that increasing mechanization would sweep away the old hierarchical divisions of labor, even in the old cpaitalist system to some extent.  But ultimately, in Marx’s view, it was the capitalistic forms of structuring labor that were responsible for industry’s authoritarian form.  This polemic comes down to us in the implied debate between Jacques Ellul (and Friedrich Engels) and such modern-day Marxists as Herbert Marcuse, who takes the Marxian line on this question without the slightest deviation. But Winner, again after some detours into less pertinent particulars, finally finds the groove: “If we examine social patterns that comprise the environments of technical systems, we find certain devices and systems almost invariably linked to specific ways of organizing power and authority.  The important question is:  Does this state of affairs derive from an unavoidable social response to intractable properties in the things themselves, or is it instead a pattern imposed independently by a governing body…?” Winner nominates the atomic bomb as a candidate for the championing of the former viewpoint.  “As long as it exists at all, its lethal properties demand that it be controlled by a centralized, rigidly hierarchical chain of command closed to all influences that might make its workings unpredictable.  The internal social system of the bomb must be authoritarian; there is no other way.”  It’s certainly hard to disagree with that.  Kind of makes mincemeat of Marx’s idea of the progression away from the division of labor as modern industry evolves.  From here it is an easy jump to the idea that the Bomb, trailed by its lap-dog, large-scale industrial organization, functions as an organizing principle for the entire social apparatus.  Winner goes on to speak of the technocracy uniting with large-scale business interests to put everyday democratic society on the defensive.  The armies of workers necessary to run the railroads airlines, oil refineries, go back to their homes after work and live the democratic life.  Or do they?  One must at this juncture confront the spectre of a form of insidious seepage of the values of large-scale business into the social sphere as a whole. Winner:  “Certain widely accepted reasons of practical necessity…have tended to eclipse other sorts of moral and political reasoning.”  This phenomenon cannot be wholly kept separate from the polity, as considered from the point of view of its extraindustrial aspect.  The table has thus been set for the emergence of the authoritarian state.  And now we return to the chilling words of Carl Schmitt:  The true meaning of the technological age can only be realised when it becomes apparent what kind of politics it takes to master the new technology.”

 

 

 

Break-out from the Crystal Palace III

“Anyone trying to piece together a radical social philosophy in mid-19th century Europe had, before all else, to decide his attitudes to the rapidly emerging phenomenon, ‘economic man.’ In particular he had to pit himself intellectually against the increasingly dominant liberal-rationalist ideology emanating from England.  The rationalist drive to classify and quantify and the utilitarian drive to maximize material happiness were combining with the effect of increasing the scale and efficiency of industrial production at exponential rates.  The ‘rationalization’ of work processes, the increasing division of labour, demanded that men be useful in increasingly specific ways, and irrespective of personal interests other than the need to earn a subsistence wage.”  This passage from Break-out from the Crystal Palace sets the table for the critique of  what is known as Homo economicus.  This personage, which has taken on a mythic character since its inception in the 19th century, finally makes intelligible the reasons for the curious flattening of everything that has happened apace with our vaunted technological advancement.  The key question:  in the wake of Calvin’s triumph of the spirit in the 17th century, what has happened to enjoyment?  For enjoyment is not susceptible to economic calculation.  One is enjoined, in our culture, to relegate enjoyment to a position posterior to economic gain in such a way that it finds itself on the ropes; this narrow conception of economics, in other words, becomes reified in the psyche of everyman and, now, everywoman, that latter addition to our hyper-masculinized picture of reality.  And so a transposition of a crucial nature inevitably takes place:  economic considerations now function as a substitute for the joy its practitioners are not getting.  Nietszche:  “Shame, that there should be a price at which one is no longer a person, but becomes a screw.”  One can use screws profitably.  But if one becomes a screw, all profit, from the human perspective, is lost.

One may see at this juncture that the question is one of the quantification of value. A prison suddenly appears for Homo economicus:  he (this personage, is, after all, male, sub-male really, no matter what the external, particular sex characteristics of the person in question in any given instance happens to be) has irrevocably committed, in the prior setting up traditional economic structures based in grossly material concerns, to a privileging of current (read: past) stages of awareness over future ones.  This past orientation is, of course, rooted in the ethos of liberal-rationalism, coextensive with the positivist techniques of quantification, dooming economic practice to a perpetual denigration and repression of eros, this term considered from the point of view of its most broad application, not just sexual feeling.  (For a very thorough and frankly depressing  examination of the phenomenon of eros and its compliment, agape, in the Protestant psyche, I recommend Anders Nygren’s Agape and Eros (1936) As such this prison is internal to the psyche before it is instantiated in the outer, so-called “real” world.  It furnishes the conditions by which materially-based forms of economics can emerge.  This of course is a reversal of Marx’s historical materialism, which also has a Ricardian or Smithian, that is, rationalist-utilitarian, basis.

One begins to see, at this juncture, that this anarcho-psychological critique really is something other than either the classical liberal or socialist-liberal models.  For it does not partake in the Myth of the Machine.

end part III

Liberalism reevaluated II

Liberalism stands or falls with the concept of Right.  Jefferson:  “The foundation of justice and rights, and, hence, of equality, lies in the special creation of man and in the divine endowments he was given.”  Very much like the wording in the Declaration:   We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights…”  To Jefferson, Right, then, derived its existence from an appeal to God’s eternal truths.  He believed this was necessary to avoid falling into the nightmare of Right as proceeding from the powers of government or the tyranny of the majority.  And indeed, without God and his conceptual equipment it becomes inescapable to conclude that where there is no enforcement, there is no right.  In the real world, Right can only exist by recourse to Law.  We might go back to Bentham to try to divine the origin of such a nebulous term as Right.  His conculsion is notorious:  “In proportion to the want of happiness resulting from the want of rights, a reason exists for wishing that there were such things as rights.  But reasons for wishing there were such things as rights, are not rights–a reason for wishing that a certain right were established, is not that right–want is not supply–hunger is not bread.”  Margaret MacDonald, Oxford pedagogue, in her influential paper “Natural Rights” (1946), averred:  “It seems a strange law which is unwritten, has never been enacted, and may be unobserved without penalty, and peculiar rights which are possessed antecedently to all specific claims within an organized society.”  And “I affirm that no natural characteristic constitutes a reason for the assertion that human beings are of equal worth.”  As such, Macdonald falls back on mere sentiment, and we have returned full circle to Bentham’s pessimistic conception.  Jefferson himself made ultimate recourse to a nebulous “moral sense” in justfying the concept of right.  This takes us out of the realm of the idea of self-assertion typically associated with the concept of right and places us firmly in that of duty and obligation, which rejects a theoretical foundation in self-interest by its very nature.  Jefferson:  “Essentially, virtue [which forms the foundation of Jefferson’s concept of Right] is the manifestation of man’s moral and social nature which is of divine rather than natural origin.”  Or consider the position of Antonio Rosmini, eminent legal theorist of the early 19th century:  “Justice is to be ascertained by reference to God’s eternal reasons and not by our intralegal estimation of the possibilities inherent in positive law.  Right, therefore, cannot exist except as an emanation of God’s intentions.”  This places Duty as anterior to Right.  Carl Schmitt, the German political theorist with decided affinities to authoritarianism, as embodied in the legal practices of National Socialism, put it this way: “Through the acknowledgement of the suprapersonal dignity of the State….the single, concrete individual disappears.  For the State is a servant either of the indvidual or of Right.  Since only the latter is correct, the State is prior to the individual, just as Right is prior to the State; and just as continuity of the State preceeds only from Right, the continuity of the individual who lives in the State flows only from the State.”  Liberalism is, according to such a nexus of views, wholly other than what it purports to be on its surface, since it is only through excluded identities such as that of the prostitute or other type of person classified as “criminal” that it constitutes its claim to universality.  There is a point at which the universalizing dialectic of liberalism fails to fully incorporate difference–and difference remains, even if only in the spectral form of the un-man, as a radical excess which escapes its logic.  As a result, liberalism operates by constructing the individual around a certain subjectivity which desires its own domination, in its quest to fulfill within itself the liberal idea of the essential qualities of humanity, through the concept of Right, which, as was established above, issues at bottom from Duty and God’s eternal reasons and not from any appeal to the prerogatives of the individual.  Behind the language of rights, freedoms and universal ideals, there is a covert network of disciplinary technologies and normalizing practices; this is made necessary, from a logical point of view, by liberalism’s ultimate dependence on Rationalism, which privileges the universalized abstraction over the concrete individual.  As Karl Lowith summarizes it:  “The State is not a human construction but, on the contrary, the State makes a construction out of every human being.”

 

Liberalism reevaluated

The problem from the point of view of a coherent examination of the nature of the technological society is that liberalism is so deeply implicated in the technological imperative it is necessary to examine and evaluate just what liberalism is, as considered separately from the unquestioning admiration we bring to its tenets in the wake of J. S. Mill et al.  One entry point I have found useful lately is that provided by a book by Ursula M. von Eckhardt, The Pursuit of Happiness in the Democratic Creed (1959).  Naturally Jefferson and his concept of the Pursuit of Happiness is the overarching theme.  Some pertinent passages include references to the nature of Right.  One keeps in mind at the outset the Hobbsian dictum that power, not truth, makes the law.

Perhaps the most important tenet of liberalism is the commitment to equality.  But certain distinctions must be made to avoid encouraging the levelling effect made inevitable by an undifferentiated commitment to the concept of equality.  And so von Eckhardt:  “In general, the doctrine of the natural equality of men can mean either of two things:  1) that all inequalities among men are artificial, having their origin in social and  economic accidents; or 2) that although certain natural inequalities of strength and wisdom may exist among men, these entitle no one to any political powers or privileges above another.  Equality in the former sense demands conformity, in the latter, uniform evaluation and a balance of differences in relation to law…for him [Jefferson], equality was a matter of rank and rights; it never implied an equal distribution of the gifts of nature.”  And so a core concept of the Jeffersonian concept of justice was that of what he called a “natural aristocracy’.  Jefferson, then, believed that to establish the best possible social arrangement it was necessary to allow this natural arstocracy the ability to rise to the top.  In this connection, Jefferson says: “May we not even say, that that form of government is the best, which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government?” Representative democracy then was that thing.  And going back to von Eckhardt, summarizing Jefferson’s views:  “When human reason institutes a new government among men, the old arbitrary inequalities must be wiped out.  General education, free elections, and legislation can accomplish this.  A minimum of free, public education for all and special state scholarships for the higher training of the best can raise ‘the mass of the people to the high ground of moral respectability necessary to their own safety, and to orderly government’ [Jefferson].  The citizens are qualified to elect the true aristoi for the trusts of government to the exclusion of the pseudo-aristoi [primogeniture].  Free elections achieve this best, since in general the citizens will elect the truly good and wise.”  And so the whole legitimacy of representative democracy rides on whether or not this phrase which I have italicized is true.  Madison assumed the same thing, that citizens can be trusted, in the system devised by the Founding Fathers, to elect the truly good and wise, in his key contribution to this argument contained in The Federalist papers, no. 10.  But the cracks in this theory are already apparent in Jefferson’s inability to reconcile the basic rights of equality with those of a theory of the legitimacy of the prerogatives of the natural aristoi.  von Eckhardt again:  “One might argue against Jefferson’s views either that if an inequality of virtue and talent is admitted it is unjust to maintain an equality of rights, or that the equality of rights is arbitrary unless there is also an equality of recognized virtue and talent.”  And yes, it’s the latter which conforms best to Jefferson’s true view, that equality of rights is arbitrary in the face of the legitimacy of recognized virtue and talent.  In other words, that Jefferson rightly made recourse, but only inconsistently, to Aristotle’s dictum that Justice is the equality of equals but not the equality of unequals.   But the principle of one man, one vote necessarily gives more weight to the rights of the many than to this “natural aristoi“.  And so we return to the inescapability, under the principle of one man, one vote, of Hobbes’ dictum:  “Power, not truth, makes the Law.”

Break-out from the Crystal Palace II

A full-scale critique of political liberalism is not really possible here, as should be evident.  Nevertheless, I will continue with an abbreviated version of this as applied to life in the metaphorical mansion we all find ourselves running around in, the Crystal Palace.  One of the problems that surfaces in looking at things from the Benthamite perspective is the whole issue of objectivity.  A critique of liberalism and a critique of objectivity are as two sides of the same coin.  All attempts at objectivity, and one must make them, subject to certain limitations, are conditioned by what Max Weber called ‘value relevance’–objectivity can only be approximated, due to the writer’s specific cultural orientation and dispositional dynamics.  Since this state of affairs threatens to infect any attempt at accuracy with a crucial degree of incoherence, one must have as thorough an understanding as possible of one’s place in the history of ideas.  I find Wilhelm Dilthey’s distinction between Naturwissenschaft and Geisteswissenschaft a good starting point for taking the plunge into our current cultural maelstrom.  In this reading, Naturwissenschaft, the orientation of traditional “objective” science, an outer-world orientation, founded in empiricist observation, is contrasted with Geisteswissenschaft, which proceeds from a subjective one. To undertake a deep understanding of this distinction, one must examine such efforts as Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, which insists on what he calls an “egological” perspective, which takes Descartes’ radical doubt as its starting point.  What is indubitable?  Only my own experiential matrix.  The outer world is bracketed off, the infamous epoché, as not provable, what Ralph Barton Perry calls the “egocentric predicament”, the inescapable datum of the human condition as expressed in the formulation that “I cannot experience your experience”.  Husserl’s idea of the transcendental ego is an attempt to inventory what is common to any possible egological perspective, and as such approaches something that might validly be termed an “objective” perspective, operating wholly within the egological domain.  This seeming conundrum in establishing something that could validly be called scientific reasoning, without giving short shrift to individual experience, is what we are up against.

So, then, Geisteswissenschaft, for those who wish to effectively address this devil we are now confronting, control of the human mind by a sort of addiction, resulting, in its fully developed form, to real enslavement to mechanistic protocols, ending the development of the humanistic project of universal self-realization, must form the foundation of our project.  It is the viewpoint characterized by the privileging of Naturwissenschaft that constitutes this grave threat, as embodied in those who, for example, pursued engineering or computer science degrees without giving much attention to the humanities, philosophy, art, music.  (Ultimately this whole quarrel, reaching back to the time of Plato and before, is one, not between philosophy and science, but between poetry and science.  This implies that philosophy, and related branches of knowledge such as sociology, are themselves “infected” with the spirit of Naturwissenschaften, thus complicating our inquiry.)

Objectivity from within the egological perspective.  And so, this approximation of objectivity must entail respecting the logical criteria of clarity, consistency, and coherence within its own terms of reference.  This could theoretically still be done, from within the paradigm of Giesteswissenschaften, perhaps?

Break-out from the Crystal Palace

Insofar as technology is intertwined with the ideology which has husbanded it, a critique of liberalism is indispensable to any critique of technology.  This of course is one of the sacred cows of modern discourse.  One offers deep criticisms of everything, shoes and ships and sealing wax, but not of our cherished political system.  Within the ideological confines of our system, the core concepts of liberalism, such as the autonomous individual and Man as rational being, are to be treated as inviolate.  Of course a critique of capital and liberalism of a sort came to prominence in the 1860s with the rise of Communism and the First International. That this whole enterprise, international Communism, amounted to nothing more than a relatively minor variant to classical liberalism was not apparent, not until the fin-de-siecle pessimism of more artistically-minded souls such as Oscar Wilde and Friedrich Nietzsche came to prominence.  But it was Dostoevsky who sounded the alarm for many at just about the time Communism was emerging from the shadows.  Dostoevsky had attended the exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace, a venue that collected many of the modern wonders of the new machine technology under one large roof.  But he was, as he conveyed it in Notes from Underground, appalled by the implications of the rise of the machine.  John Carroll, in his important study Break-out from the Crystal Palace, traces the malady of the present age, our age as well as Dostoevsky’s, to a “teleology directed to material ends”, which has been substituted for the lust for adventure and the spirit of play.  “Goals, faute de mieux, give a life shape and purpose; men become utilitarian out of fear of the alternative–the chaos of tangled or tepid desires, of rootlessness and boredom.  At least it is possible on the level of judgment guided by criteria of instrumental rationality to believe that ‘useful’ activity is worthwhile; Dostoevsky interprets the modern wave of rationalism, empricism, and/or socialism as the issue of this intellectual drive to establish worthwhile ends…He saw in this first of industrial society’s great exhibitions, showing the latest machines, factory processes, buildings, and so on, the chilling symbol of contemporary purpose, progress, and triumph–a ‘colossal idea’ signposting the technological paradise of the future, a terrifying ‘achievement of perfection'”, as Dostoevsky put it in Summer Impressions.  “Dostoevsky links this sterile world of science and technology with the archetypal emblems of a materialist-utilitarian culture:  he observed in Paris that the ubiquitous drive for money, and in association, status, had destroyed the ideals of the revolution–real fraternité had become impossible in a bourgeois society in which the self-determined I, wedded to the cash-nexus, was opposed to nature and to the rest of mankind.”  The Crystal Palace was, for Dostoevsky, the crowning symbol of the barrenness of industrial civilization.

I don’t believe I need point out the connection between this drive to susbstitute a spirit enamored of the romance of adventure with a telos directed so unswervingly to the achievement material ends with the burgeoning ideology of political liberalism. This ideological thrust can be traced above all to the work of  Jeremy Bentham, especially his An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789). This work displays Bentham’s deep committment to rationalism, which involved a zealous scouring out of all feeling in the application of political theory and subjecting it to the rule of reason, rooted in the drive to establish morals as an exact science, which in turn refers back to The Man-Machine, a fearsome apparition crystallized in Jean La Mettrie’s 1748 work L’Homme-Machine.  And so did Reason come to the fruition of its mission to betray the human mind, unconsciously.