Adbusters

The Era of Simulation

Consequences of a digital revolution.

“For the message of any medium or technology is the change in scale or pace or pattern that it intrudes into human affairs.”
—Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

We are being shaped by the constant proliferation of digital technologies in our everyday lifestyles. The Internet may have connected the globe forever, but the developed world is now completely at its mercy. Terms and conditions apply to our autonomy. The World Wide Web has infused our society with an all-encompassing reliance on media technologies. At any given time we are staring at a screen, listening to an iPod, using GPS or holding our iPhone – the device that combines all the above functions in an intuitive and responsive little pocket tool. With this handy instrument on us at all times we are obligated to communicate and to be tuned in to entertainment and information. We are objectified as “users” not people. The products of our digital revolution run our daily routines. We are no longer free agents – technical extensions to our physical selves have become as vital as a limb or an organ.

Digital media will continue to shape us independently and as a society, by acting as a conduit of experience and by invading our real space and time. How many of us have wasted hours idly surfing the Internet or aimlessly flicking through endless TV channels?

“We are asked to follow pre-programmed, objectively existing associations.”
—Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media

This is what Jean Baudrillard called “the era of simulation,” we are being herded in preordained directions, dictated by omniscient authors. By following hyperlinks on Wikipedia, for example, we are following someone else’s premeditated path through information and jumping from one piece of subject matter to another. All too often users mistake these connections as their own and continually follow externalized thought processes, relying less and less on their natural associations. Similarly, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook externalize relationships, which has fragmented society by encouraging everyone to recede into their new portable plaything rather than sparking up conversation. The BlackBerry smartphone means that bosses never have to leave the office, while microblogging services such as Twitter mean that they can text the entire team to call an all-important emergency meeting in one fell swoop. Escape is futile. As we move from an industrial civilization into an information civilization, we’re online and we’re locked in. Try a digital detox for even just a day, I bet you will fail, I already have.

Zachary Colbert

Thank-you to everyone who participated in this year's Digital Detox Week. Send us your feedback, thoughts and epiphanies to [email protected]. Did you miss this year's detox? Have your own anytime or check out the campaign page for updates for next year.

Adbusters 111 Cover

On Newsstands December 3

At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.

Subscribe to Adbusters Magazine

116 comments on the article “The Era of Simulation”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 116

Page 2 of 12

Anonymous

So instead of humans innovating their way out of problems such as global warming overpopulation, you’d rather snub natural human progression and force everyone into such a backward model of society with higher rates of death and disease? I hope you see this as some ivory tower fantasy and not something you honestly think should be implemented

Anonymous

So instead of humans innovating their way out of problems such as global warming overpopulation, you’d rather snub natural human progression and force everyone into such a backward model of society with higher rates of death and disease? I hope you see this as some ivory tower fantasy and not something you honestly think should be implemented

Alaric Malgraith

Disease is unknown to uncontacted hunter-gatherers. All diseases known to the human species are the result of cross-contamination from the domestication of animals. No animal domestication, no diseases. Your point relies on the false notion of linear time and historiocity. There is no "progress" or "backwardness," just different ways of making a living. Some ways (i.e Civilization)are fundamentally unsustainable and are highly alienating and stressful. Other ways (i.e hunting and gathering) are sustainable and characterized by close communal bonds and very little of what civilized people would call "work."

Alaric Malgraith

Disease is unknown to uncontacted hunter-gatherers. All diseases known to the human species are the result of cross-contamination from the domestication of animals. No animal domestication, no diseases. Your point relies on the false notion of linear time and historiocity. There is no "progress" or "backwardness," just different ways of making a living. Some ways (i.e Civilization)are fundamentally unsustainable and are highly alienating and stressful. Other ways (i.e hunting and gathering) are sustainable and characterized by close communal bonds and very little of what civilized people would call "work."

Anonymous

Who is going to stop things such as animal domestication? Your plan is incredibly unnatural because it would require force to prevent humans from naturally progressing. In your dream world, we wouldn’t have “work”? That’s probably because people would spend entire days hunting, farming the fields, and fending off others. Are you that angsty about desk jobs and iPods that you honestly think we would be better off in a society with far shorter life span, the abandonment of the elderly/disabled, and excruciating physical labour, with incredible amount of insecurity? Why are we even discussing this? This is unrealistic. Maybe we should think of ways in our current society to solve problems, like improved medicine and improved agricultural output, instead of getting off on such unattainable and borderline insane ideas.

Anonymous

Who is going to stop things such as animal domestication? Your plan is incredibly unnatural because it would require force to prevent humans from naturally progressing. In your dream world, we wouldn’t have “work”? That’s probably because people would spend entire days hunting, farming the fields, and fending off others. Are you that angsty about desk jobs and iPods that you honestly think we would be better off in a society with far shorter life span, the abandonment of the elderly/disabled, and excruciating physical labour, with incredible amount of insecurity? Why are we even discussing this? This is unrealistic. Maybe we should think of ways in our current society to solve problems, like improved medicine and improved agricultural output, instead of getting off on such unattainable and borderline insane ideas.

Alaric Malgraith

"Who is going to stop things such as animal domestication?" Us. We just stop domesticating animals and go out to forage for food. If enough people do this Civilization cannot sustain itself and it will collapse. The Mayan abandonment of their cities was more responsible for the end of the Mayan Empire than the arrival of the Spanish (see Daniel Quinn's 'Beyond Civilization') "Your plan is incredibly unnatural because it would require force to prevent humans from naturally progressing." The thing is that progress doesn't exist. It is a myth of civilization. (see 'Against His-Story, Against Levaithan' by Fredy Perlman, '1000 Years of non-linear History' by Manuel de Landa and 'Ishmael' by Daniel Quinn.) Hunting and Gathering IS the natural state of humanity we have been hunter-gatherers for 98% of our existence. (see any rudimentary textbook on physical anthropology) Civilization is just a bizarre and hopefully temporary aberration from the norm. "That’s probably because people would spend entire days hunting, farming the fields, and fending off others." No hunter-gather group has been found thus far to spend more than 6 hours on hunting, gathering and tool making (see 'Stone Age Economics' by anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, 'Man the Hunter' by Richard Lee and Irven DeVore, etc.) "Are you that angsty about desk jobs and iPods that you honestly think we would be better off in a society with far shorter life span, the abandonment of the elderly/disabled, and excruciating physical labour, with incredible amount of insecurity?" I'm angsty about IPods and desk jobs, but the ethnographic and archaeological data simply doesn't fit your characterization of hunter-gatherer societies. Civilizations rise and fall, proving their weakness and insecurity. Hunter-gather bands continue to meet all the needs of all members of society quite efficiently. "Why are we even discussing this? This is unrealistic. Maybe we should think of ways in our current society to solve problems, like improved medicine and improved agricultural output, instead of getting off on such unattainable and borderline insane ideas." It's not totally unrealistic for more and more people to abandon civilization until the whole system collapses. The process has already begun. (http://www.wildroots.org/, http://www.urbanscout.org/, http://anthropik.com/) Our current society is so tainted and has created such deep neurosis that Civilization is unsalvagable. (see 'Civilization and Its Discontents' by Sigmund Freud, 'Eros and Civilization' by Herbert Marcuse, 'Elements of Refusal' by John Zerzan, 'The Culture of Make Believe' by Derrick Jensen and especially 'Nature and Madness' by Paul Shepard.) To a Wild Future.

Alaric Malgraith

"Who is going to stop things such as animal domestication?" Us. We just stop domesticating animals and go out to forage for food. If enough people do this Civilization cannot sustain itself and it will collapse. The Mayan abandonment of their cities was more responsible for the end of the Mayan Empire than the arrival of the Spanish (see Daniel Quinn's 'Beyond Civilization') "Your plan is incredibly unnatural because it would require force to prevent humans from naturally progressing." The thing is that progress doesn't exist. It is a myth of civilization. (see 'Against His-Story, Against Levaithan' by Fredy Perlman, '1000 Years of non-linear History' by Manuel de Landa and 'Ishmael' by Daniel Quinn.) Hunting and Gathering IS the natural state of humanity we have been hunter-gatherers for 98% of our existence. (see any rudimentary textbook on physical anthropology) Civilization is just a bizarre and hopefully temporary aberration from the norm. "That’s probably because people would spend entire days hunting, farming the fields, and fending off others." No hunter-gather group has been found thus far to spend more than 6 hours on hunting, gathering and tool making (see 'Stone Age Economics' by anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, 'Man the Hunter' by Richard Lee and Irven DeVore, etc.) "Are you that angsty about desk jobs and iPods that you honestly think we would be better off in a society with far shorter life span, the abandonment of the elderly/disabled, and excruciating physical labour, with incredible amount of insecurity?" I'm angsty about IPods and desk jobs, but the ethnographic and archaeological data simply doesn't fit your characterization of hunter-gatherer societies. Civilizations rise and fall, proving their weakness and insecurity. Hunter-gather bands continue to meet all the needs of all members of society quite efficiently. "Why are we even discussing this? This is unrealistic. Maybe we should think of ways in our current society to solve problems, like improved medicine and improved agricultural output, instead of getting off on such unattainable and borderline insane ideas." It's not totally unrealistic for more and more people to abandon civilization until the whole system collapses. The process has already begun. (http://www.wildroots.org/, http://www.urbanscout.org/, http://anthropik.com/) Our current society is so tainted and has created such deep neurosis that Civilization is unsalvagable. (see 'Civilization and Its Discontents' by Sigmund Freud, 'Eros and Civilization' by Herbert Marcuse, 'Elements of Refusal' by John Zerzan, 'The Culture of Make Believe' by Derrick Jensen and especially 'Nature and Madness' by Paul Shepard.) To a Wild Future.

Anonymous

Let’s think about this for a second. We have billions more people alive today than could ever be achieved in a hunter gatherer state. The majority of which are living longer and better off than ever. How is that alone not enough to see this is the better way? Even if there is a few people on the internet promoting this way of life does not mean the entire population of the world will move to this system, especially when doing such would require billions to die off first. You can believe whatever you want but this will never happen on humanities own accord. If people indeed only spend like 6 hours gathering, what do you think they will spend the rest of the time doing? Probably thinking...of ways to advance to five hours...four hours, etc. Then that is of course if these people are not struck by a famine or drought, or some force of nature that they can no longer escape from. No more modern medicine to save peoples lives when dealing with things like infections or broken limbs. No more electricity. There are too many things that people would never settle for and instinctually find ways to improve. It is interesting to think about...but to implement? No way.

Anonymous

Let’s think about this for a second. We have billions more people alive today than could ever be achieved in a hunter gatherer state. The majority of which are living longer and better off than ever. How is that alone not enough to see this is the better way? Even if there is a few people on the internet promoting this way of life does not mean the entire population of the world will move to this system, especially when doing such would require billions to die off first. You can believe whatever you want but this will never happen on humanities own accord. If people indeed only spend like 6 hours gathering, what do you think they will spend the rest of the time doing? Probably thinking...of ways to advance to five hours...four hours, etc. Then that is of course if these people are not struck by a famine or drought, or some force of nature that they can no longer escape from. No more modern medicine to save peoples lives when dealing with things like infections or broken limbs. No more electricity. There are too many things that people would never settle for and instinctually find ways to improve. It is interesting to think about...but to implement? No way.

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.