En annorlunda värld
Publicerad 2006 

"Den här mannen var en komplett dåre. Inte en enda av de katastrofala saker han motvilligt siat om inträffade!" – Om dessa ord kunde ristas på hans gravvård skulle han dö som en lycklig man påstod han. Dessvärre har historien gett honom rätt på punkt efter punkt. Lewis Mumford är i allt väsentligt högaktuell. Dåre eller geni sällar han sig till 1900-talets historiefilosofiska kolosser, en civilisationskritiker av yppersta moraliska karat, besläktad med tänkare som Arnold Toynbee, Bertrand Russell, Erich Fromm, Vine Deloria Jr, Ward Churchill, Carl Gustav Jung och Carl Henrik von Wright.

Han behärskade en rad av sin samtids vetenskapliga discipliner utan att ha tagit en enda akademisk examen. Författarintegriteten var sakral för honom, därför kunde han också uttala "moraliska sanningar" utan hycklande förbehåll. Arkitektur, stads- och regionplanering, religion, genetik, antropologi, sociologi, ekonomi, historia, politik, psykologi; med avstamp i denna härva av rön, vittnesbörd och intrikata analyser skapade han en holistisk syntes som kröntes med The Myth of the Machine: The Pentagon of Power (1970).

Trots att Mumford inte nämner den med rätta kontroversielle lärdomsgiganten Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) vid namn, hade han med all säkerhet läst dennes epokgörande arbete, "Der Untergang des Abendlandes" (1918 och 1922; Den västerländska civilisationens undergång, två delar, sv 1996), och kanske också tagit notis om vad Spengler skrev i förordet till en tunnare kommentar och uppföljare, "Människan och Tekniken. Bidrag till en Livsfilosofi" (sv/ty 1931): "Det är nu liksom förut min övertygelse, att man kan förstå människans öde, endast om man samtidigt och jämförande betraktar alla hennes verksamhetsområden och icke begår det felet att utgående uteslutande från exempelvis politik, religion eller konst belysa enskilda sidor av hennes liv, i den tron att man därmed skulle ha förklarat allt." Det var i den andan Mumford grep sig an verket.

Spengler är hyperintressant som ideologisk budbärare mellan filosofen Nietzsche (1844-1900) och 1900-talets tidiga nazism och fascism - och som Lewis Mumfords raka antites. (Komparationerna överlåter jag gärna åt läsaren!) I "Der Untergang..." torgför Spengler idén om de mänskliga kulturernas/ civilisationernas historiskt cykliska förlopp - de följer s a s schemat vår, sommar, höst, vinter, eller om man så vill, barndom, ungdom, medelålder, ålderdom, för att duka under och ersättas av en ny livskraftig kultur. Den cykliska modellen applicerad på världshistoriens högkulturer stred naturligtvis mot gängse västerländska linjära tids- och rumsuppfattningar. Man kan ändå notera Spenglers närhet till indiansk livsfilosofi, där livets cykler och cirkelrörelser upprepar sig i all oändlighet (observera skillnaden!), i abstrakta som konkreta fenomen, i det levande som i det skenbart döda.

Spengler utläste en inre synkronicitet,  tidsmässig samstämmighet i kulturernas födelse, blomstring, nedgång och fall. Schemat var således determinerande, ofrånkomligt, fatalistiskt. Majoriteten av människor i dessa kulturer - eller rättare civilisationer, eftersom det är först på detta avancerade stadium sammanbrottstendenserna gör sig gällande - kommer aldrig till full klarhet om arten av sönderfallet förrän kollapsen är ett faktum. 

Spengler ansåg att den västerländska civilisationen redan nått fram till de kalla frostnätterna som förebådade "vintern" på 1910-talet, och att den inte -  med bl a 1:a världskriget som färsk referens - kunde ha mer än 150-200 år för att leva ut sitt öde. Varje kultur eller civilisation utvecklar, hävdar Spengler, en "mentalitet" - den västerländska till  exempel den maskintekniska kulten/automationen - en kollektiv andning, en inre och yttre verklighet som tillslut urartar och förgår. Det är förstås en becksvart prognos, men Spenglers teoribygge är i alla händelser inte (ännu) motbevisat, och en så respekterad humanist och nutidsfilosof som finländaren von Wright har ägnat honom stort intresse.

Det som i första hand gjort Spengler till persona non grata i vissa kretsar, alltsen 1930-talet, beror dels på honom själv, dels och framförallt på de nazistiska ideologernas - som Rosenberg, Streicher, Himmler, Hitler själv och andra - stympade vulgärversion av Spenglers/Nietzsches läror. Den senare var utan tvivel en av Spenglers kraftfullaste influenser. (Anspelningar på Nietzsches namn och verk förekommer ymnigt i Spenglers produktion, och han publicerade också en essä över honom.)  

Likheterna mellan läromästarens och adeptens doktriner är slående. Spengler ärvde begrepp som "de dekadenta västdemokratierna", "den krigiska, hälsosamma glädjen", "en stark man ska komma", "den faustiska människan" ("dionysiska" i Nietzsches vokabulär), "världserövraren", "viljan till makt", "pacifism förblir ett ideal, krig ett faktum", "herremoralen", "samhällskampen", "kriget är evigt", "människan är ett rovdjur", "inget starkt folk är pacifistiskt", "pacifism är lika med folkets senilitet", "det ursprungliga barbariet... har väckts till liv igen" etc. 

Däremot tycks han aldrig ha använt Nietzschebegreppet "övermänniska".  Det spelar mindre roll eftersom han var en uttalad antidemokrat, antihumanist, nihilist, en man besatt av "det asiatiska hotet". Han menade att om inte "de aktiva och kreativa som drivs av den destruktiva viljan", det vill säga krigiska dygder, i de vita populationerna världen över vaknade upp - inte minst i Tyskland och USA - skulle "de färgade" (asiaterna) ta över tillsammans med en klick "vita äventyrare och erövrare".

I de böcker och artiklar Spengler producerade från 1931 till sin död i en hjärtattack vid 56 års ålder 1936 (Nietzsche avled vid samma ålder, 1900, efter att levt i totalt själsligt mörker i tio år) var den hätska, militaristiska febern under en diktator ett stående tema. Men efter att han 1933 - strax efter nazisternas maktövertagande - träffat Hitler vid en privat audiens insåg han genast att führern saknade de nödvändiga kvaliteterna som folkledare och världserövrare. Han fann honom bara "tom och vulgär".

Med tiden övergav Spengler Nietzschearkivet i Weimar som drevs av N:s syster Elisabeth - broderns litterära förvaltare - som var en Hitlerdyrkare av stora mått. Spenglers kritik av nazisternas biologisk-germanska arierkult - som han ansåg för exklusiv  - utgick från teorin att det fanns eller skulle framspringa förädlade själar och kroppar för krigiska uppgifter inom alla jordens "livskraftiga folk". Och i likhet med Nietzsche (men definitivt inte systern Elisabeth) kunde han inte fördra någon antisemitism; ett judehat som legat latent i de tysketniska folken och bara väntat på sin hitler. Spenglers kritik av nationalsocialismen medan han ännu levde i Tyskland var dödsdömd. Han landsförvisades och hans skrifter förbjöds.

Även om Spenglers litterära legat formellt var ickeexisterande så var det - liksom de "auktoriserade", av Elisabeth selekterade och censurerade utgåvorna av Nietzscheverk - ett generöst smörgåsbord, som i deformerat skick och utan ringaste hänsyn till upphovsmännen tycktes nära det nazistiska vansinnet ända fram till gaskamrarna och krematorierna. I de mystiktäta och esoteriska ordskogar som uppblandats med aforistiska källsprång, såväl i Spenglers som Nietzsches produktion, kunde nazisterna onda uppsåt löpa amok under sken av "vetenskaplig korrekthet".

I samtiden kritiserades Spengler från höger till vänster: Man vände sig föraktfullt mot den "kulturpessimism" han levererat i sitt huvudverk 1918/22. Spengler svarade med att brännmärka "de naiva, idealistiska, materialistiska och penningstinna demokraterna". Den okritiska framstegsoptimism som industrialismen och vetenskapen i skön förening odlat sen slutet av 1800-talet förkastade Spengler som infantil. Sak samma med den växande fredsrörelsens tro på att krig efter 1:a världskriget inte längre var tänkbara. 

Spengler visste bättre. Tvärtom hade ju maskinkulten, rasismen, eugeniken, de rekonstruerade ekonomierna, det moraliska vakuumet efter kristendomen, de fallna europeiska dynastierna, segrarmakters egenmäktiga omstuvning av Europas karta, det tyska krigsskadeståndet, revanschhungern, vapenutvecklingen, flygplanet, ubåtsflockarna, de centralistiska byråkratierna, de autokratiska tendenserna, klasshatet, NF:s maktlöshet, västeliternas jakt på råvaror och energi i oligarkiska fattigländer, de politiska ideologiernas tilltagande kraftmätningar och USA:s imperialistiska expansion i Stilla Havet, Sydamerika och Karibien redan lagt grunden för nya och än fasansfullare krig med vetenskapens oreserverade välsignelse.

Oswald Spenglers profetior är pessimistiska, inte för att de är orimliga, men för att de i vissa stunder överlagrats med vidriga förhoppningar som släcker ljuset i mänsklighetens ögon. Paradoxalt nog var och är det filosofens framstegsoptimistiska belackare som om och om igen störtat stora delar av mänskligheten i fördärvet. Självkännedom och självkritik är inte civilisationens starkaste gren, och nihilismen ges fria tyglar: "Om gud inte existerar är allt tillåtet." (Dostojevskij i "Bröderna Karamazov") Där det blodfulla hjärtat ersatts med teknokratisk hybris och materiell cynism finns ingen plats för en alltomslutande samhälls- och privatmoral baserad på humanistiska ideal.

Till skillnad från Spengler var Lewis Mumford humanist ut i fingerspetsarna. Därför får The Pentagon of Power närmast karakteriseras som en civilisatorisk dystopi med en strimma hopp; ett verk av 75-årig livsvisdom, smärtsamma insikter och ödesmättade förutsägelser. För ett öppet, ogrumlat öga måste det fortfarande te sig förbluffande skarpsint och väsentligen relevant. De fabulösa fantasivärldar 1800-talets utopister ofta skönmålade, stämplade av tidsandans framstegsoptimism - framåtskridandets oavbrutna stegring - som de var, förbyttes under 1900-talets första hälft i gränslös - men knappast ovederhäftig - svartsyn. Klassiker som HG Wells’ "The Time Machine", Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World", och i all synnerhet, George Orwell’s "1984" bär syn för sägen. Mumford kände dem väl.

Han var på jakt efter den humanistiska kärnan i den västerländska människans evolution som kulturvarelse. Därför var han tvungen att nagelfara de historiska grundvalarna för det han plägar kalla "den moderna megamaskinen", "the Power System". I sina försök att återupprätta det signifikativt mänskliga väjde han aldrig för de kritiska slutledningarna. För en sådan uppgift, vad passade bättre än att ha bopålarna nerstuckna mitt i den finansiella malströmmens och de himmelssträvande maktmetaforernas stad - New York. Lika välfunnen och faktiskt relevantare idag än 1970 är boktiteln The Pentagon of Power. Pentagon, "försvarshögkvarteret" - som det med en ironisk omskrivning benämns -  är spindeln i nätet; den ekonomiska, politiska och militära robothjärnan i "den nya världsordning" som inte känner några som helst gränser, i några som helst avseenden.

I likhet med vår tids ultrakände civilisationskritiker, Noam Chomsky, såg inte Lewis Mumford världens gång som en exklusiv angelägenhet för elitistiska, totalitärt färgade och slutna amerikanska "think tanks", utan som en allmänmänsklig prövosten som skulle härdas i fri, öppen demokratisk debatt, underkastad "det sunda förnuftet". Och åtminstone vad gäller den amerikanska scenen kunde han liksom Chomsky (i ett otal böcker) skriva under på Oswald Spenglers oförblommerade syn på massmedierna: "Läsaren varken känner till eller ska känna till vilket syfte han används för och den roll han spelar." 

Elitistiskt manipulerade pressmonopol, som ställföreträdande vantolkare av verkligheten, var ett påtagligt demokratiskt frihetsproblem i 1920-talets Tyskland, som fick en "definitiv" lösning med nazifieringsprocessen från 1933. Den mediala premissen pressfrihet på lika villkor och hyfsat jämbördiga megafoner hade förstås inte heller tidigare existerat, men nu förvandlades "det fria ordet" (tidningar, journalfilmer, spelfilm, upplysningsfilm, radio) till illa dold men välkoordinerad propaganda för att vaccinera folket med naziideologins weltanschaung; målet var: lyssna rätt, tänk rätt, agera rätt, känn rätt. 

Man ljög med ord och ljög med bild, och vädjade till det tyska folkets lägsta instinkter under eldande patriotiska paroller. Den goebellska likriktningsmaskinen tufffade oavbrutet på till vintern 1942/43 då man bildligt talat satte murresterna av nekropolen Stalingrad i vrångstrupen. Sen gick allt bokstavligen bakåt - reträtt på alla fronter, men i journalfilmerna gick soldaterna framåt. Här finns onekligen analogier med den amerikanska verklighet dagens intellektuella dissidenter och etniska minoriteter försökt beskriva.

I The Pentagon of Power utvecklar Mumford sina teorier runt det centrala begreppet megamaskin, ett samhällssystem vars arkaiska manuella första version spåras till de faraonska, egyptiska högkulturerna, för att falla sönder och återuppstå i sin hittills oförsonligaste gestalt, som västerländsk vetenskap, maskinkult och teknokratisk patologi; en patologi som diskvalificerar det mänskliga i människan som människans och kulturens måttstock. Och en vetenskap som slaviskt hyllar den simpla devisen: går det att göra, ska det göras. (De amerikanska uran- och plutoniumbomberna, som under absolut sekretess, utan folklig insyn togs fram i Los Alamos 1945 för att begå folkmord, är kanske det yttersta beviset på den satsen.) - En kort levnadsskiss över mannen för dagen kan vara på sin plats:

Lewis Mumford - resultatet av en amorös eskapad mellan den judiske advokaten Jacob Mack och husjungfrun, den tyskprotestantiska Elvina Mumford - föddes i Flushing, Queens, New York, 19 okt 1895. LM såg aldrig sin far. Modern slog sig på en blygsam pensionatsrörelse utan framgång. Frivol till sin läggning spelade hon bort det mesta på hästar. Lewis var ändå ljuspunkten i hennes liv: "She spoiled me. I was the center of her life.", skrev han i sina memoarer. 

Med tiden skulle Elvinas reservationslösa stolthet över sonens litterära framgångar återspeglas i hennes testamentariska föreskrifter. Gravstenen skulle bära följande inskription: "ELVINA - 1865-1950 - MOTHER OF LEWIS MUMFORD". LM var ett sjukligt barn, plågad av andningsbesvär och ett överaktivt hjärta. Hans känsliga organism fick också kämpa med livslång hypokondri och periodvis djup melankoli. Lärarnas favorit isolerades av sina kamrater, men lärde sig att inte bara uppskatta, utan att prisa respiterna från omvärldens larm som han mest uppfattade som förflackning och tom materialism.

När Mumford i början av 1910-talet studerade vid New York’s City College skaffade han sig snabbt en filosofisk husgud som han gärna och troget citerade livet igenom - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emersons ordstäv, "Nothing is sacred but the integrity of your own mind", gjorde han till sitt, med tillägget, "Your main need is to have a firm inner center, based on your own identity and your own work: an affirmative selfrespect that no institution, no outward circumstance can violate".

Redan från sina formativa år hade han bestämt sig för att leva "a life of material simplicity and balanced selfdevelopment". Och han tog sin morfaders måtto till hjärtat - "enough is plenty". Den höga etiska standard han satt upp för sitt liv skulle ställa honom på åtskilliga moraliska barrikader: han polemiserade häftigt mot den amerikanska eftergiftspolitiken till Hitler på 1930-talet, mot användandet och den fortsatta utvecklingen av kärnvapen på 1940-talet, mot senator Joseph McCarthys kommunistiska häxjakt på 1950-talet och mot USA:s folkmord i Vietnam på 1960- och 70-talen.

Under studietiden 1912 bestämde sig Lewis för att viga sitt liv åt skrivandet, författandet. Vid den tiden hade han nämligen i collegebiblioteket gjort en livsavgörande upptäckt - biologen och skotten Patrick Geddes. Geddes blev en livslång influens och intellektuell läromästare. Hans enorma beläsenhet inom exceptionellt - skenbart - disparata fält som sociologi, stads- och regionplanering, religion, demografisk analys, antropologi, ekonomi, botanik, paleontologi och österlandskulturer visade Lewis vad som var möjligt. 

Från Geddes snappade han upp pionjäridéer om ekologiskt tänkande och stadens roll i den kulturella evolutionen. Omsatt i Lewis medvetande blev den urbana miljön (speciellt hemstaden New York) sedermera en metafor eller mikropendang för den civilisatoriska utvecklingsprocessen på makroplanet.

Lewis Mumfords skrivarbana satte fart 1919 då han blev medredaktör för det litterära modernistbladet "The Dial"; i "The New Yorker" skrev han arkitektonisk kritik och kommenterade urbana utvecklingstrender. 1921 äktade han Sophia Wittenberg, dottern till en ryskjudisk socialist. Året efter - medan han levde i Greenwich Village - publicerades debutboken, The Story of Utopias, som utmålade mänsklighetens framtid i ljusa färger. Men i takt med att hans erfarenhetssfärer vidgades och omvärldsutvecklingen antog ett bistrare utseende mörknade också klangbotten i hans böcker. Sonen Geddes (efter Lewis mentor) föddes 1925, men dödades i strid i Italien 13 september 1944. Det kastade Lewis in i en svår livskris. Under tiden, 1935, hade dottern Allison fötts.

1924 utkom Lewis Mumfords första arkitekturbok - Sticks and Stones. 1934-51 följde så en kvartett böcker under svittiteln The Renewal of Life, där jag personligen funnit The Culture of Cities (1938; sv Stadskultur 1942; 549 sid) mest inspirerande. En signifikant passus (sid 308): "Vi inser att den sociala processens mål inte är att göra människorna mäktigare, utan att den skall göra dem mera fullständigt utvecklade, mera mänskliga, bättre i stånd att bära upp kulturens specifikt mänskliga attribut - varken morrande rovdjur eller känslolösa robotar." Den mänskliga dimensionen, skalan, utgör ett pulserande hjärta som aldrig vill stanna i hans fortsatta skrivande.

1951 antog han erbjudandet om en gästprofessur vid University of Pennsylvania. Dessa sporadiska gästspel fotsatte under ett tiotal år. 1958 ledde han en framgångsrik kampanj mot ett motorvägsbygge rätt genom Washington Square. Flera tunga volymer följde, och 1961 belönades han med National Book Award för The City in History. 1964 skapade han en cityplan för Oxford, England. Tre år senare, 1967, utkom första delen av storverket The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development. Så, 1982, vid 87 års ålder, lämnade hans sista bok trycket, självbiografin Sketches from Life. Efter en boklig bana som omspann hela 65 år lämnade han det timliga 94 år gammal. Han avled i sitt hem i Amenia, New York, 26 januari 1990. (se Donald L Millers Lewis Mumford. A Life, Grove Press, NY, 1989, 628 sid)

Vi återknyter till inledningen och andra delen av The Myth of the Machine. The Pentagon of Power: Världen förändras i ett rasande tempo och "fi" har bytt skepnad: Sovjetmakten har fallit,  istället för kommunister jagas terrorister av en paranoid USA-regim, amerikanska spion- och kommunikationssatelliter korsar den världsrymd USA ensamt gör anspråk på, taktiska kärnvapen utvecklas av samma makt, statsterrorn breder ut sig med USA:s goda minne, frihetsrummet i väststaterna beskärs alltmer genom stärkta befogenheter för polis- och militärmakt, juridiska åtgärder, övervakningskameror och avlyssning,  och i amerikanska koncentrationsläger förgriper man sig på människor. Kontrollapparaten med hjälp av datorteknik och genmanipulation är bara snäppet från de ruskiga inhumana framtidsvisioner som för mer än ett halvsekel sen spåddes som fullt realiserbara av Huxley och Orwell.

Ursprungskulturer utanför och inom USA utplånas/nivelleras och likriktas enligt amerikansk konsumistmodell. Megaföretagen spelar roulett med nationella ekonomier och människor, och "den enda vägens politik" maskers som demokrati. Miljöföraktet, genom naturfientlig teknologi, framkallar allt frekventare och intensivare naturkatastrofer, vilket sent omsider medfört en (partiell) "anpassning" under galgen. Samhällsmoralens försumpning, kriminaliteten (på alla nivåer) och solidaritetens tvinsot är fenomen som tilltagit i styrka. Reklam för allt och ingenting tränger genom samhällsporerna som vämjelig hästhandlarsvett (ett munchskt ångestskri kan utstötas för mindre). 

Den reflexion siouxhövdingen Sitting Bull undslapp sig på 1880-talet, när han bestört bevittnade trashanksmisären i städer som New York och Boston, håller streck än idag: "Den vite mannen vet hur man samlar rikedomar, men inte hur man fördelar dom." Ett materiellt överflöd som stryper medkänslan. Enbart USA har idag 40 milj utfattiga; en konsekvens av eliternas legaliserade och systematiska våld mot människor som saknar värde för maktsystemet.

Och varför denna obalans mellan människa och maskinteknik? Är det inte så att vi i barnslig förtjusning - eller likgiltighet - över teknikens under spänt vagnen framför dragaren; och att vi snarare kontrolleras av än kontrollerar teknikens rasande utveckling och ändlösa manifestationer? Tekniken/profitintresset/den för eliterna saliggörande materiella tillväxten lever sitt symbiotiska liv och skapar konstlade behov, inte genomsnittsindividen. 

Genom seklerna har tekniska innovationer ofta införts innan deras skadeverkningar uppdagats - ett lärorikt exempel utgör rasisten Henry Fords löpandebandproduktion och popularisering av bensinmotorn. Hur många hundratusen offer har inte bara vägarna skördat och invalidiserat sen 1910-talet?! Miljö- och människoförstöringen i övrigt obeaktad. (Bensinmotorn hade konkurrenter, men Ford krossade motståndet med kapital, reklam och ett förbilligande koncept.) 

På område efter område kan man ända fram till idag speca produkter i allmänt bruk som långt efter att de släppts på marknaden visat sig gravt livsfientliga. Tekniken svarar inte mot de biologiska förutsättningarna, men hastas ut för att generera vinst. Det som i ett humaniserat samhälle skulle vara ett maratonlopp av tester har alltför ofta blivit ett sprinterdito med blodsmak i munnen - och experimentdjuren homo sapiens.

I början av 1930-talet föreslog en amerikansk politiker ett längre moratorium för att stoppa den överhettade innovationshysterin. Han ansåg att den mänskliga organismen inte orkade med det teknologiska evolutionstempot. Och röstades förstås ner. Och så har det fortsatt, utan all rim och reson. Det senaste kvartsseklet har vi levt i uppdateringarnas tidsålder. Datorn, hemelektroniken, bilen, livspartnern, ja, till och med den mänskliga kroppen ska uppdateras/bytas ut genom plastikoperationer. 

Harmoni, balans, lugn, jämvikt, måttfullhet, vishet, begrundan, gemenskap, solidaritet etc förväxlas i ett artificiellt frambesvuret kollektivt undermedvetet med svaghet, stagnation, ålderdom, förgänglighet och död. Och profitlöshet. Vad det egentligen tycks handla om är maskinteknikens gräns- och hänsynslösa kommando över de komplexa mänskliga processer som är byggstenar i en humaniserad kultur. Förenklat - en slags negativ betingning av pavlovsk modell.

Det ligger en ironisk paradox och bitter ironi i detta att vårt rastlösa besvärjande av ett obevekligt sönderfall - biologiskt som materiellt - samtidigt sker i "en marknadsanpassad civilisation" som oftast vägrar fabricera kvalitet och hållbarhet! Politikerslogans om det "uthålliga resurssamhället", drömmen om en rättvis och humanekologisk värld kan förmodligen aldrig fullt ut realiseras utan en total omkastning av värdegrunderna - "en omvärdering av alla värden", för att citera Nietzsche. 

En deflation av teknokratins och maskinkultens orimligt uppblåsta egon parat med en sordinerad men materiell utjämning och humanteknologi parallelliserat med ett överordnande av människors fria skaparkraft, fantasi och val av livsmönster etc skulle kunna gjuta nytt, hälsobringande vin i kulturens förgiftade läglar.

Utopi eller inte, det är naturligtvis en översimplifierad skiss, men något av "andens absoluta kontroll över tekniken ", för att parafrasera bibliska ordvändningar, är nog vad som tarvas. Det tog århundraden för den västerländska civilisationen att landa oss på den ödesmättade punkt där vi nu befinner oss. Frågan är, ska det ta lika lång tid att återupprätta människans supremati över sin egen skapelse,  sina händers och tankars verk? Får mänskligheten ens chansen?

En överhängande fara av utomordentlig dignitet utgör den accelererande amerikanska militariseringen av planeten. Astronomiska belopp plöjs ner i krigsproduktion som smörjmedel för den totala megamaskinen. Vapen är till för att användas. Därför kan vi för oöverskådlig tid räkna med nya och periodiskt uppflammande orättfärdiga krigshärdar. Med vilken historisk-moralisk rätt kan USA kräva att Nordkorea och Iran inte skaffar sig/ innehar kärnvapen? 

Hur kan man mer eller mindre öppet hota att "taktikbomba" det senare landets processanläggningar - med efter Irakexemplet tusentals potentiellt döda civila - när man själv skapat damoklessvärdet (1945) till mänsklighetens förbannelse och spritt tekniken till egna "klientstater" (inklusive Israel), och till yttermera visso förvägrat det internationella samfundets oberoende inspektörer insyn i sina egna lager av kärnvapen och näppeligen mindre sataniska biologiska och kemiska stridsmedel?

"Without war the megatechnic system in its present spatially enlarged planetary and cosmic form would be choked by its own purposeless productivity... what is unthinkable is not totalitarian genocide... but any attempt to invest equivalent amounts of mindenergy and material resources toward creating a worldwide equilibrium favorable to justice and peace. To place any limits upon the expansion of the power system is what has become unthinkable." (The Pentagon of Power) - Hur tänka det otänkbara? Hur övervinns defaitism,  apati och resignation inför de krafter som aldrig haft något annat samhällsmål än att befästa den moraliska orättfärdigheten, den antihumana idealbildbildningen, den elitistiska arrogansen och girighetens status quo?

Somligt kunde Lewis Mumford givetvis inte förutse, men på det hela taget är hans observationer och analogier märkligt aktuella och träffsäkra. Det varnande finger han lyfte 1970 skulle kräva två händer idag. Det mänskliga andningshållet har krympt till ett sugrör. Bland alla falska marknadsprofeter är Mumford en frisk och oskämd källåder som väl tål att smakas på. Inte minst för de färska generationer som saknar vettiga historiska referenser för sitt tänkande och agerande i samtiden, och som förhoppningsvis inser att människor inte bara består av dresserade och måttanpassade fyrkanter; att det går att tänka kritiskt och självständigt,  att använda sitt eget omdöme och sunda förnuft utan att låta sig fjärrdirigeras av megamaskinens symboliska eller faktiska auktoriteter. 

De som vägrar att suggereras av maktmaskinens deformerande vanarter och bär en dröm om ett annorlunda samhälle, hur oartikulerad den än må vara, finner säkert själsfrändskap i Lewis Mumfords tankeväckande produktion.

Begreppen "megateknik" och "bioteknik" representerar två motsatta poler i Mumfords terminologi. Den alltjämt förhärskande megatekniken fordrar, hävdar han, kontinuerlig, oinskränkt expansion, produktion och ständig substituering; den går på tvärs mot kvaliteter som gedigenhet och hållbarhet och uppfyller sällan ett minimum av sociala och mänskliga fordringar. Den biotekniska modellen är däremot, i Mumfords tappning, garantin för organisk systemlösning, som kan återvinna människovärdet och människans naturliga plats i skapelsen.

Mumfords nyckeltes går i all korthet ut på att en arkaisk megamaskin skapades i Egypten under faraoisk tid. Den förmodligen första i sitt slag. Den var manuell och bestod av oräkneliga legioner rigoröst kontrollerade slavar. Faraos makt över dessa kroppar var absolut och utgick från solguden Ra. Pyramiderna och den egyptiska mytologin vittnar om den ställföreträdande maktens gudomliga inspiration. 

Pyramiden som symbol är teoretisk fullkomning, geometrisk perfektion, en klinisk maktprojektion som nuddar himlen - och samtidigt ett fulländat uttryck för död; länken mellan ett förgudligat kosmos och gruskornet, slaven, vid dess fot. Samhället styrdes av en hierarkisk elitkast präster, byråkrater, skrivare, skattmästare, stjärnskådare, köpmän etc - efter en orubblig teologisk karta som förhärligade makten och hyllade och tillbad förintelsen. Allt var predestinerat, förutsägbart, genomsyrat av ordning, disciplin och precision. Ett fruset dödsrike befolkat av miljontals andedräkter som aldrig rört eller berört solgudsmaktens världsliga principal.

Även om megamaskinens - den statsbärande ideologins - allt omslutande idé, mål och mening, var en folkstams undergång för en autokrats metamorfos i kryptans mörker, var det alls inget statiskt samhälle. Innanför de hermetiska murar som teokratin internaliserat i varje medvetande genom en oupphörligt hamrande indoktrinering levdes ovanför bas/slavnivån - med alla givna yttre och inre begränsningar - ett dynamiskt och energirikt liv som utvecklade faraonismen och den teologiska kosmologin. Alla samhällsaktiviteter, institutioner, seder, juridik, handel, krigiska manifestationer och ständiga maktprocessioner formfulländades och smältes samman i en homogent likriktad monolit. Som fogmassa förbrukades mänskligt kött i det oändliga.

Livet levdes ritualiserat, mekaniskt, robotiserat. Slaven visste inte av något annat. Hans lidande ställde sällan några obehagliga frågor. Fogdar och uppsyningsmän piskade fram de "sanningar" som den gudomliga maktens världsbild legitimerat. Livet snöptes vid roten: känslor, tankar, längtan, drömmar, planer, vilja, förstånd, förnuft; alla av födelsen givna processer som bär individuationens, artrikedomens och kulturens mångfald som en möjlighet kvävdes under tyngden av megamaskinens dödsdrift och patologiska maktrus. Alla intellektets och senteringens flyktvägar var avskurna, belagda med ständig spärreld. 

Hopplöshet och vanmakt, ett irrande i öknen till en lika säker död som vid pyramidens fot väntade dissidenten. Slavuppror krossades i blod. Megamaskinen krävde - och fick - blind lydnad, mentala processer efter utstakade rutter, därför var resignation inför det dödsbejakande ödet också normen.

En långt mera avancerad megamaskin skulle, menar Lewis Mumford, resa sig ur spillrorna av alla halvgångna försök efter faraonernas fall. Vägen dit gick via uret, tidsräknaren, penningen, kapitalismen, teleskopet, mikroskopet, ångmaskinen, den industriella revolutionen, fabriken (löpande bandet), vetenskapen, de stående arméerna, den sekulära kungamaktens och den centraliserade byråkratins usurpering av teokratin o s v - för att så gott som fullbordas i den västerländska civilisationens 1900-talsgestalt.

De efterföljande excerpterna är hämtade från The Myth of the Machine. The Pentagon of Power (Harvest/HBJ Books, NY, 1974, 496 sid) och återges i amerikansk originaltext. För att undvika alla missförstånd rekommenderas givetvis läsaren att studera boken i sin helhet och inte enbart dessa fragmentariska nedslag:

...man’s central historic task, more imperative today than ever - is the task of becoming human. The failure to perform that task for a single generation might set the erring community back a whole geological epoch...

These New World practices (enslavement and genocide) formed another secret link with the antihuman animus of mechanical industry after the sixteenth century, when the workers were no longer protected either by feudal custom or by the selfgoverning guild. The degradation undergone by child laborers or women during the early 19th century in England’s ’satanic mills’ and mines only reflected those that took place during the territorial expansion of Western man. (---) 

As a result Western man not merely blighted in som degree every culture that he touched, whether ’primitive’ or advanced, but he also robbed his own descendants of countless gifts of art and craftmanship, as well as precious knowledge passed on only by word to mouth that disappeared with the dying languages of dying peoples. (---) For the better part of four centuries the cultural riches of the entire world lay at the feet of Western man; and to his shame, and likewise to his gross selfdeprivation and impoverishment, his main concern was to appropriate only the gold and silver and diamonds, the lumber and pelts, and such new foods (maize and potatoes) as would enable him to feed larger populations. (---)

Western man...would probably have been far more successful had he paid closer attention to the cultures he disrupted and destroyed; for in wrecking them he was reducing his own intellectual working capital. (---)

This New World utopia, this promised land, was soon buried under ashes and cinders that erupted over the Western World in the 19th century, thanks to the resurrection and intensification of all the forces that had originally brought ’civilization’ itself into existence. The rise of the centralized state, the expansion of the bureaucracy and the conscript army, the regimentation of the factory system, the depredations of speculative finance, the spread of imperialism... and the continued encroachment of slavery - all these negative movements not only sullied the New World dream but brought back on a larger scale than ever the Old World nightmares that the immigrants to America had risked their lives and forfeited their cultural treasures to escape.

As a result of this setback, the mechanical New World displaced the ’romantic’ New World in men’s minds: the latter became a mere escapist dream, not a serious alternative to the existing order. For in the meanwhile a new God had appeared and a new religion had taken possession of the mind: and out of this conjunction arose the new mechanical world picture which, with every fresh scientific discovery, every successful new invention, displaced both the natural world and the diverse symbols of human culture with an environment cut solely to the measure of the machine. This ideology gave primacy to the denatured and dehumanized environment in which the new technological complex could flourish without being limited by any human interests and values other than those of technology itself. All to soon a large portion of the human race would virtually forget that there had ever existed...any alternative mode of life. (---)

The real world, for the medievel mind, was the invisble one; that toward which all earthly life was only a preparation. (---)

By resuming its ancient central position (during the 16th century) in the minds of the ruling classes, the sun actually became God once more...because the sun was the central point of reference in the motions of the planets; the mechanical regularity already achieved in machines, above all, in the clockwork, provided the miniature replicas of the absolute cosmic order. (---) The Greatest Western monarch of the 17th century, Louis XIV...dramatized his absolute authority by calling himself Le Roi Soleil, the Sun King. (---) But four centuries were needed before the great pharaonic invention of the Pyramid Age, the megamachine, could be assembled again. (---)

Ett kliv framåt...

So far I have attempted to expose the interplay of human interests and technological pressures that conspired after the 16th century to dominate Western civilization. In time these forces coalesced in the unconscious as a replenished Myth of the Machine...this social and technological transformation might be duly rationalized as a massive practical effort to fullfill human needs and increase material wealth: but beneath it was a deeply subjective and more obsessive drive toward the ’conquest’ of nature and the control of life to the ’effecting of all things possible’.

I have now to show how the new ideas of order and power and predictability that dominated the new mechanical world picture made their way into every human activity. Within the last four centuries the older  tradition of polytechnics (ett mångdimensionellt fält av teknologier för att lösa mänskliga problem, i motsats till monotechnics, som är teknologi för dess egen skull; teknologi som förtrycker mänskligheten och följer sin egen inneboende kurs/Mumford/TE) was replaced by a system that gave primacy to the machine, with its repetitive motion, its depersonalized processes, its abstract quantative goals. The later enlargement of these technical possibilities through electronics has only increased the scope and coercive absolutism of the system. (---)

...the basic model of regimentation, military, monastic, and bureaucratic, was introduced into largescale industry by the factory system. It was this cumulative mechanical organization, not the steam engine, that accounts for the upsurge of industrial energy after 1750. Though a considerable part of this transformation can be read in purely technical terms, one must not overlook the shift in human motives through the increasing translation of both political and economic power into purely abstract quantative terms: mainly, terms of money. (---) 

...when human functions are converted into abstract, uniform units, ultimately units of energy or money, there are no limits to the amount of power that can be seized, converted and stored. The peculiarity of money is that it knows no biological limits or ecological restrictions. (---) Thus the transfomation of traditional polytechnics, into a uniform allembracing monotechnics marked likewise the translation of a limited goods economy, based on diversity of natural functions and vital human needs, to a power economy, symbolized by and concentrated on money. (---)

Coined money, a great step toward quantitative abstraction, was a relatively late invention (7th century B.C.) and standard interchangeable monetary units came far later. (---) This historic process may be condensed in a brief formula: manual work into machine work; machine work into paper work; paper work into electronic simulation of work, divorced progressively from any organic functions or human purposes, except those that further the power system. (---)

...I now propose to define more closely the Power Complex: a new constellation of forces, interests, and motives, which eventually resurrected the ancient megamachine, and gave it a more perfect technological structure, capable of planetary and even interplanetary extension...one may call it - all the more accurately because of contemporary American overtones - the Pentagon of Power...beginning in the Pyramid Age with such an assemblage of manpower as no earlier group had been capable of bringing into existence. Over the ages, this has been augmented by horse power, water power, wind power, wood power, coal power, electric power, oil power, and climactically...by nuclear power. (---) 

Finally, no less an integral part of the power system is publicity (prestige, panache), through which the merely human directors of the power complex - the military, bureaucratic, industrial, and scientific elite - are inflated to more than human dimensions in order to maintain authority. (---)

In terms of the power system, progress means simply more power, more profit, more productivity, more paper property, more publicity - all convertible into quantitative units. (---) Each new achievement of the power system, whether in scientific research, in education or medicine, in antibiotics, or in space exploration, will be expressed through the same media for institutional magnification and egoinflation. The school, the church, the factory, the art museum - each currently play the same power theme, marching to the same beat, saluting the same flags... (---) 

Though the constellation that has formed the power system was not deliberately assembled at any single moment, many of its active components, created in earlier civilizations, had never in fact passed out of existence. Once the restraining codes and ideals of a more humanly conditioned ideology were destroyed, the power system, freed from such institutional competition, swiftly burgeoned. (---)

What has always been true of money, among those susceptible to its influence, applies equally to the other components of the power complex: the abstraction replaces the concrete reality, and therefore those who seek to increase it never know when they have had enough. Each of these drives, for power, for goods, for fame, for pleasure, may - it goes without saying - have as useful a part to play in the normal economy of a community as in the human body itself. It is by their detachment, their isolation, their quantitative overconcentration, and their mutual reenforcement that they become perverse and lifecorroding. (---) 

To discuss the proliferation of inventions during the last two centuries, the mass production of commodities,  and the spread of all the technological factors that are polluting and destroying the living environment, without reference to this immense pecuniary pressure constantly exerted in every technological area, is to ignore the most essential clue to the seemingly automatic and uncontrollable dynamism of the whole system. In order to ’turn on’ this insensate pleasure center ’technological man’ now threatens to ’turn of’ his life. Money has proved the most dangerous of modern man’s hallucinogens. (---)

If the so called Industrial Revolution, in the oldfashioned sense, could be said to have begun at any single point, it was in the mass production of printed words and pictures. (---) The entire process of mechanization, as it went from country to country; ...this transformation produced enormous increases of income for the ruling minorities, never more then five per cent of the total population; measurable improvements for the so-called middle classes, possibly the upper third of the population; and finally very spotty benefits, often attached to severe handicaps and sacrifices to the lower income groups, while leaving the...bottom quarter, near destitution and starvation. (---)

Every earlier system of production...developed in response to human needs, ...was dependent upon the energy derived mainly from plant growth, supplemented by animal, wind, and water power. This productivity was restricted, not merely by available natural resources and human capacity, but by the variety of nonutilitarian demands that accompanied it. Estehtic design and qualitative excellence took precedence over mere quantitative output, and kept quantification within tolerable human limits.(---) This new industrial complex is based upon a group of postulates so selfevident to those who have produced the system that they are rarely criticized or challenged - indeed almost never examined - for they are completely identified with the new way of life. (---) 

First: man has only one allimportant mission in life: to conquer nature. By conquering nature the tecnocrat means, in abstract terms, speeding up every natural process, hastening growth, quickening the pace of transportation, and breaking down communication distances by either mechanical or electronic means. To conquer nature is in effect to remove all natural barriers and human norms and to substitute artificial, fabricated equivalents for natural processes: to replace the immense variety of resources offered by nature by more uniform, constantly available products spewed forth by the machine.

From these general postulates a series of subsidiary ones are derived: there is only one efficient speed, faster; only one attractive destination, farther away; only one desirable size, bigger; only one rational quantitative goal, more. On these assumptions the object of human life, and therefore of the entire productive mechanism, is to remove limits, to hasten the pace of change...to promote mechanical novelty and destroy organic continuity. Cultural accumulation and stability thus become stigmatized as signs of human backwardness and insufficiency. (---)

As for the eventual assemblage of a completely automated world society, only innocents could contemplate such a goal as the highest possible culmination of human evolution. It would be a final solution to the problems of mankind, only in the sense that Hitler’s extermination program was the final solution för the ’Jewish problem’. (---) And as our knowledge of isolatable segments and fragments becomes infinitely refined and microscopic, our ability to interrelate the parts and to bring them to a focus in rational actvities continues to disappear. (---)

Even a generation ago there was still a large margin for free activity and independant thinking within higher education. But today most of our larger academic institutions are thoroughly automated...: the mass production of scholarly papers, discoveries, inventions, patents, students, Ph.D.’s, professors, and publicity... goes on at a comparable rate; and only those who identify themselves with the goals of the power system, however humanly absurd, are in the line for promotion, for big research grants, for the political power and the financial rewards allotted to those who go with the system. The voluminous flow of corporate capital into the Educational Establishment, with a corresponding rise in money incentives for research, has proved inte the US the final step in making the University an integral part of the new power system. 

Meanwhile, a vast amount of valuable knowledge becomes relegated, along with an even greater amount of triviality and trash... For lack of a method with builtin qualitative standards, fostering constant evaluation and selectivity, and with assimilative processes that, as in the digestive system, would control both appetite and feeding, the superficial order of the individual packet is offset by the nature of the end product: for to know more and more about less is in the end simply to know less and less. As a means for creating an orderly and intelligible world, the automation of knowledge has already come close to total bankruptcy... (---)

Though a trickle of fresh or unorthodox knowledge may still filter through to a miniscule minority...nothing will be transmitted further that does not conform to the current standards of the megamachine. (---) As the channels of instantaneous communication become more elaborate, the response must be officially staged, and this mean, in ordinary circumstances, externally controlled. (---) The more complex the apparatus of transmission, the more effectively does it filter out every message that challenges or attacks the Pentagon of Power. (----)

Today the increasing number of mass protests, sitdowns, and riots - physical acts rather then words - may be interpreted as an attempt to break through the automatic insulation of the megamachine, with its tendency to cover up its own errors, to refuse unwelcome messages, or to block transmission of information damaging to the system itself. (---) Once automatic control is installed one cannot refuse to accept its instructions, or insert new ones, for theoretically the machine cannot allow anyone to deviate from its own perfect standards. (---) 

The minds that are so conditioned are incapable of imagining any alternatives. Having opted for automation, they are committed to flouting any subjective reaction and to wiping out human autonomy - or indeed any organic process that does not accept the system’s peculiar limitations. (---) Its exponents, even if they are able to recognize its deficiencies, see no way of overcoming them except by further extension of automation and cybernation. (---) The fact is, however, that an automatic system as a whole, once established, can accept no human feedback that calls for a cutback (---) To question the value of mere quantitative increase in terms of its contribution to human wellbeing is to commit heresy and weaken the system.

What automation has done in every department where it has taken full command is to make difficult - in many cases impossible - the give- and- take that has existed hitherto between human beings and their environment; for the constant dialogue that is so necessary for selfknowledge, for social cooperation, and for moral evaluation and retification, has no place in an automated regimen.(---) 

But the suppression of personality is already so complete in an automated economy that the reputed heads of our great organizations are as incapable of changing its goals as the lowliest filing clerk. It is the system itself that, once set up, gives orders. As for anyone’s confronting the principals in person, our automatic agencies are as obscure and as bafflingly inaccesssible as the authorities that Franz Kafka pictured in his accurate prophetic nightmare, ’The Trial’. Humanly speaking, then, the proper name for automation is selfinflicted impotence. That is the other side of total control. (---) Automation has thus a qualitative defect that springs directly from its quantitative accomplishments: briefly it increases probability and decreases possibility.

Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological noveties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences. One may without exaggeration now speak of technological compulsiveness: a condition under which society meekly submits to every new technological demand...the fact that (a new) product is is the result of a new scientific discovery or a new technological process, or offers new opportunities for investment, constitutes the sole proof required of its value. (---)

We must ask ourselves: Why does every permission turn into a compulsion? Why is the secret motto of our poweroriented society not just "You can, therefore you may," but "You may, therefore you must." Is that the freedom science once promised? What one discovers beneath the surface of this scientific determinism is an even more sinister trait: a primitive fatalism, subjectively conditioned. (---) By now it should be obvious that this methodology which professed to eliminate subjectivity from its world picture provided no way of recognizing its own subjective inflations, distorsions, and perversions. (---)

Big Brother did not wait for ’1984’ (Orwells bok) to establish his ascendancy: a host of Little Brothers, wearing the same badge, have crept into every department. (---) Technicians who themselves lack other purposes and values, memories and feelings, see no human deficiency in their seemingly superhuman machine, or in the kind of demands that they themselves make on it. (---) At alla events, the most serious threat of computer controlled automation comes, not so much from the displacement of the worker in the process of manufacture, as in the displacement of the human mind and the insidious undermining of confidence in its ability to make individual judgements that run contrary to the system... (---)

The process of automation has produced imprisoned minds that have no capacity for appraising the results of their process , except by the archaic criteria of power and prestige, property, productivity and profit, segregated from any more vital human goals. The Pentagon of Power. By its own logic automation is dedicated to the installation of a system of total control over every natural process, and ultimately over every organic function and human purpose. Not strangely, the one part of this civilization that escapes the principle of total control is - automation itself! The country in which this mode of collective servitude has been carried furthest has been taught by its information manipulators (public relations specialists) to call this system ’Free Enterprise’. (---)

For mark this: the automaton was not born alone. The automaton has been accompanied, we can now see, by a twin, a dark shadowself: defiant, not docile... The aim of this subversive superego is to destroy those higher attributes of man whose gifts of love, mutuality, rationality, imagination, and constructive aptitude have enlarged all the possibilities of life. It is in the light of these impending negations and destructions that the whole concept of subjugating nature and replacing man’s own functions with collectively fabricated, automatically operated, completely depersonalized equivalents must at last be reappraised. (---) 

There is a difference between using the machine to extend human capabilities, and using it to contract, eliminate, or replace human functions.

It was (1860-talssatirikern Samuel) Butler’s merit to see through this technological obsession: to point out that the beneficiary of total mechanization would not be man himself but the machines which had turned into Ersatz love objects, and would soon pass from being fetishes to being gods... In foreseeing the blank wall at the end of this blind alley, Butler was prescient: ’The power of custom is enormous, and so gradual will be the change tha man’s sense of what is due to himself will at no time be rudely shocked; our bondage will steal upon us noiselessly and by imperceptible approaches... (---)

If progress be considered a linear movement through time, it may be taken in two ways: getting closer to a desired goal, or getting further away from a starting point. Those (under 17- och 1800-talet) who favored progress simplemindedly believed that evils were the property of the past and that only moving away from the past as rapidly as possible could a better future be assured. (---) The exponents of progress were too committed to their doctrine to anticipate that the authoritarian institutions they sought to destroy forever might come back more oppressively than ever, fortified through the very science and technics that they valued as a means of emancipation from the past. (---) 

Each successful new invention only supported further this unquallified faith in a corresponding human improvement. (---) Since the idea of progress had no way of accounting for the new evils or regressions, it tended to sweep away the voluminous evidence, both historic and contemporary, of their existence. To count only the benefits and to take no notice of the losses proved the standard method of retaining the millenial assumptions on which the doctrine of progress had originally been built.

Doubtless it hurts the pride of modern man to realize that earlier cultures, with simpler technical facilities, may have been superior to his own in terms of human values, and that genuine progress involves continuity and conservation, above all, conscious anticipation and rational selection - the antithesis of our present kaleidoscopic multiplication of random novelties. (---) In vulgar usage, Progress has come to mean limitless movement in space and time, accompanied, necessarily, by an equally limitless command of energy... (---)

Take one of Buckminster Fuller’s favorite illustrations of the shrinkage of time and space, beginning with a sphere twenty feet in diameter, to represent transportation timedistance by walking. With the use of a horse, this sphere gets reduced in size to six feet, with the clipper ship, it becomes a basketball, with the railroad, a baseball, with the jet plane, a marble, and with the rocket, a pea. And if one could travel at the speed of light, one might add...the earth would become, from the standpoint of bodily velocity, a molecule, so that one would be back at the starting point without having even the briefest sensation of having left. (---)

Progress, as our machineoriented culture defined it, was simply a forward movement through time, and the ’going’, as one pragmatist philosopher defined it, ’becomes the goal’. (---) The notion that the macine by reason of its rationality of design and its austere perfection of performance was now a moral force, indeed the moral force, one that set new standards of achievement for man, made it easier to equate the new technology, even in its most sordid manifestations, with human improvement. Sinfulness no longer consisted in falling short of human potentialities: it now meant to fall short of the maximum utilization of the machine. (---)

As an Ersatz religion, the doctrine of an inevitable mechanical-cum-human progress gave the new world picture something that it lacked: an implicit goal; namely, the total demolition of the past, and the creation mainly by mecanical means, of a better future. Change itself became, in this complex of ideas, not merely a fact of nature - as it is - but an urgent human value; and to resist change or to retard it in any way was ’to go against nature’...(---) ...one fact should now be plain: change is not in itself a value, nor is it an automatic producer of values; neither is novelty a sufficient evidence of improvement. (---) 

As for the notion that technological innovations have been the main source of all human development, this is a disreputable anthropological fable, which does not, as I showed in Volume I of ’The Myth of the Machine,’ stand up under a more comprehensive analysis of man’s nature and culture. (---) Once modern man understands the need for continuity and selective modification, in terms of his own capacities and purposes, instead of blind conformity to either nature or his own technology, he will have many fresh choices before him. (---)

What the main utopias disclosed as an image of perfection was a totalitarian community, so organized that its rulers would, with the aid of the machine, assume control over all human activities, translating a large part of its functions into a mechanical or electronic form, and holding the workers themselves under the strictest possible discipline ’for their own good.’ (---) Mechanical uniformity and human conformity are embedded in the prefabricated utopias of the 19th century: but it remained for the World’s Fair at Chicago 1933 to proudly emblazon this utopian theme over its portals: ’Science explores: Technology executes: Man conforms.’ (---) 

Unfortunately neither the utopian writers nor our ’realistic’ political leaders had sufficient historic background to anticipate that this new assemblage would be accompanied by more savage wars and revolutions, by sadistic terrorisms and psychotic human disorders. Even now, with the record before them, they studiously turn their eyes away from the scene, as one historian of technology was honest enough to remark in a personal letter, lest they be forced to confess to a radical flaw in their own philosophy. - But if utopian writers did not anticipate any of the possible malfunctionings of their ideal system, or suspect that the megamachine most of them were describing was necessarily a minoritymanipulated majoritymanipulating device, they correctly delineated the most salient characteristics of the new technical and social complex itself.

To build up human autonomy, to control quantitative expansion, to encourage creativity, and above all, to overcome and finally eliminate the original traumas that accompanied the rise of civilization - of these fundamental needs there is no utopian hint. Almost to the end of his life (HG) Wells naively pinned his faith for radical collective improvements upon a dedicated dictatorship of technicians... (---)

Plainly, the ability to translate mathematical theorems and sub-atomic or molecular forces into new inventions, without encountering either technical delays or sobering human inhibitions, has turned our dominant technology itself into the equivalent of science fiction. Whatever appears in scientific fantasy the night before may appear next morning or next year in actual life. (---) 

Here is a situation without any parallel in human history. In the past, every invention passed through a long period of probation between its first appearance in fantasy...and its final materialization as a working apparatus or machine. The more audacious the conception, the slower the process... Against the abrupt, often cataclysmic introduction of an invention, society heretofore was secured by a heavy crust of habit, custom and traditional wisdom, supplemented by natural mental sluggishness...though even here we know, from the flagrant evils which once attended the factory system, that these barriers did not always offer sufficient social protection. Now we are faced with just the opposite situation. The obstacles to immediate acceptance have been broken down... (---)

Thus at the moment that the actual powers of technical invention have become unbridled, its compulsions remain untempered by reality, since the only reality this society fully accepts is that which embodies these materialized psychoses and fixed ideas. On those terms, technics becomes licensed irrationality.

Both the mechanical world picture and the visions of ever more rapid mechanical and material progress, yes, even the horror stories of a scientifically ordained future, under control of an officious bureaucratic elite, made it easier to accept the new megamachine as an inevitable and inescapable reality, perfect by definition, since all its dehumanized components conform to the requirements of the system. (---) 

Up to 1940 it was it was still possible to regard the continuation and acceleration of modern technology as, on the whole, favorable to human development; and so firmly has this conviction been implanted, so completly has the Myth of the Machine  taken hold of the modern mind, that these archaic beliefs are still widely regarded as wellfounded, scientifically accredited, indubitably ’progressive’ - in short, practically unchallengeable.

As with Egypt (under faraoisk tid),  the commands of this supersovereign could not be carried out without the training and disciplining anew of two ancient orders: the bureaucracy and the army. Up automatism: down autonomy. (---) The new absolute rulers, like Peter the Great of Russia, Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia, and Louis XIV of France, commanded permanent armies installed in permanent barracks, governed by a permanent bureaucracy... (---) 

This modern centralized mode of organization was incomparably more powerful than that of dispersed medieval communities... These transfomations only emphasize that there is no component of the modern megamachine that did not exist, in fact or in dream, in the orginial model. What is distinctly modern is the effective materialization of archaic dreams that had hitherto been technologically impracticable. With the coalition of political absolutism, military regimentation, and mechanical invention came the reintroduction of an ancient institution that had long been in abeyance: forced labor and compulsory national service for war... Thus the chief military innovation (compulsory military service) that made the Egyptian megamachine possible was reintroduced... (---)

Up to this point, forced labor, as for road building and fortifications, and compulsory military service, had been general, but local and sporadic: now they became systematic, regular, universal. The national army, became, in effect, an educational institution for conditioning its human units to the unthinking, obedient, automatic execution of orders...there is no doubt that this systematic regimentation of a whole population found its way back into the bureau and the factory, and in fact imposed machinelike docility on a scale never before conceivable: all the more because the appropriate ideological doctrines and emotional responses supplemented the pshysical drill.

The New English Dictionary traces the definition of power as ’possession of control or command over others’ back to 1297; it then 1486 shifts to legal ability, capacity, or authority to act; but in 1727 power takes a technological role as ’any form of energy or force available for application to work.’ Finally, with the construction of the megamachine, all the modes of power became available for work - both construtive and destructive - on a colossal scale otherwise unattainable.The megamachine, accordingly, is not a mere adiminstrative organization: it is a machine in the orthodox technical sense, as a ’combination of resistant bodies’ so organized as to perform standardized motions and repititive work. But note: all these forms of power, one reenforcing the other, became essential to the new Pentagon of Power. (---) 

...the megamachine excercises more effective control over large populations than any merely political unit can profess. Nietzsche once described war as the "health of the state"; but more than this, it is the body and soul of the megamachine. (---)

All the properties of individual machines - high energy inputs, mechanization, automation, quantity output - are increased by their inclusion in the megamachine: but so likewise are the disadvantages of such machines - their rigidity, their irresponsiveness to new situations, their detachment from human purposes other than those embodied in the design of the machine. The chief of these embodied purposes is the excercise of power. Even before ’absolute’ weapons were invented, automatism and absolutism were firmly coupled together in the constitution of every military organization. 

Hence
war is the ideal condition for promoting the assemblage of the megamachine, and to keep the threat of war constantly in existence is the surest way of holding the otherwise autonomous or quasiautonomous components together as a functioning working unit. Once a megamachine has been brought into existence, any criticism of its program, any departure from its principles, any detachment from its routines, any modifications of its structure through demands from below constitute a threat to the whole system. (---)

I have left (to now) ...one institutional prerequisite of the megamachine which...did not exist in the ancient model; namely, a special kind of economic dynamism based on rapid capital accumulation, repeated turnovers, large profits, working toward the constant acceleration of technology itself. In short, the money economy. (---)

The fact is that paperprofits of war equally enrich every other part of the national economy... for war, with its unparalleled consumption of goods, and its unparalleled wastes, temporarily overcomes the chronic defect of an expanding technology - overproduction. War, by restoring scarcity, is necessary on classic capitalist terms to ensure profit. (---) Through war, actual and prospective, the megamachine increased its scope and expanded its power. (---) It was not through effecting major changes in the capitalist economy, which remained in a general state of semiparalysis in the 1930th, but through rearmament and war that an economic revival was effected; and it is by war alone that the system was temporarily saved from selfdestruction through its radical weakness: its failure to achieve distributive justice.
(---)

By the beginning of the 20th century, the main components of the new megamachine were already in existence, though some were still in halfformed state. - Only two things were lacking: a symbolic figure of absolute power, icarneted in a living ruler, a corporate group, or a supermachine; and a crisis...to bring about an implosion, of all the necessary components. (---)

The reinvention and expansion of the megamachine was in no sense an inevitable outcome of historic forces: indeed, until the end of the 19th century, it seemed to many able thinkers that the major changes in Western civilization...were favorable to freedom. (---) But the balance of in favor of...constructive development was shaken by the First World War, and the faith that had equated technological with human improvement was undermined, indeed, badly shattered by the realization that all potentialities for evil had been augmented by the very energies technics had released. (---) The shock was later to discover that the new barbarism was fortified... by the new technology.

1914-18: The collective power on a scale never achieved before heightened the pace of technical change in every department; and the control of information by the government, with feeding of officially selected and favorably colored information to its own people, as a means of ’maintaining morale’ (that is, queting disillusion and opposition), gave modern ’democratic’ governments their first taste of thought control... This provided the megamachine with a valuable supplement to physical and military discipline. (---)

Adolf Hitler was destined to become, even more effectively than Joseph Stalin, the chief agent in the modernization of the megamachine. (---) Albert Speer (riksarkitekt/ rustningsminister)... pointed out the singular merits of the Nazi megamachine in a speech made at the Nuremberg trials (1946): ’Hitler’s dictatorship,’ Speer noted, ’differed in one fundamental point from all its predessors in history... Through tecnical devices like the radio and the loudspeaker, eighty million people were deprived of independent thought... Earlier dictators needed highly qualified assistants, even at the lowest level - men who could think and act independently. The totalitarian system in the period of modern technical development can dispense with such men...it is possible to mechanize the lower leadership. As a result of this has arisen the new type of the uncritical recepient of orders.’ One can take exception to Speer’s analysis in only one respect: the uncritical acceptance began at the top as he himself demonstrated. (---) 

The leaders of the Third Reich regarded war as the natural state of human society... Only in the atmosphere of constant war could totalitarian leaders command the absolute obedience and unqualified loyalty necessary for the smooth operation of such a megamachine. (---) Far more effectively than Stalin, indeed, Hitler had secured the cooperation of the intellectual classes and the established Churches. (---)

To ensure undeviating uniformity, writers, artists, musicians, psychlogists were enrolled in official organizations and obliged to wear the same mental uniform. (---) In short, the Germans not merely enlarged the dimensions of the ancient megamachine, but made important innovations in the techniques of mass control: innovations that later corporate megamachines are now perfecting with the aid of spying devices, opinion polls, market research, and computerized dossiers on private life. - In the background, the torture chamber and the crematorium, if not planetary incineration, are still ready to complete the job. (---) ...every totalitarian system...(are) incapable of selfcriticism and selfcorrection.

The megamachine... was rebuilt by the Western allies on advanced scientific lines, with its defective human parts replaced by mechanical and electronic and chemical substitutes, and finally coupled to a source of power that made all previous modes of power production as obsolete as Bronze Age missiles. In short, in the very act of dying the Nazis transmitted the germs of their disease to the Americans: not only the methods of compulsive organization or physical destruction, but the moral corruption...

(Här delar jag definitivt inte Mumfords analys: dessa avarter av mänskligt beteende och agerande låg latent i det amerikanska samhällets institutioner, kollektiva psyke och lagstiftning och hade sin filosofiska överbyggnad i 1800-talets manifest destiny-filosofi som innebar imperialism, kolonisation och folkmord på indianer och andra ursprungsfolk. Tvärtom hade ju Hitler hämtat sin lebensraumpolitik och koncentrationslägeridé från USA:s genocida indianpolicy. Det amerikanska exemplet gick före, men Hitler kunde genom modern teknik och forskning utplåna alla moraliska och mänskliga hänsyn och omsätta ondskan i maskinell stordrift. Han återbefruktade det amerikanska systemet med idéer och teknologier, som i en högre potens omsatts i en amerikanskt dirigerad världsordning i våra dagar.)

The very conditions under which this weapon (atom bomb) was created brought the scattered components of the megamachine together. As with the first megamachine, the new model threw off hitherto firmly established limitations, scientific, technical, social, and moral; and like the ancient megamachine, it gave unqualified authority and power to those who, on the evidence of history, had never shown any capability for using even more limited power wisely and humanely. (---) 

The production of the atom bomb was in fact crucial to the building of the new megamachine. For it was the success of this project (in the US in the 1940th) that gave the scientists a central place in the new power complex and resulted eventually in the invention of many other instruments that have rounded out and universalized the system of control first established only to meet the exigencies of war. (---) Unfortunately, their training had conditioned the scientists (round the atom bomb) to the idea that the continued increase of scientific knowledge, and its speediest possible translation into practice, without regard to social consequences, was nothing less than a categorical imperative. (---) ...it is now plain that this (atom bomb) was made within a far too limited historical context...the consequences may disastrously undermine mankinds entire future.

Once the 1939 war enveloped the planet, the necessary components of the megamachine were not merely enlarged in scope but brought into close coordination and cooperation, so that in each country they functioned increasingly as a single unit. Every part the daily routine was placed directly or indirectly under governmental control - food rationing, fuel rationing, clothes production, building - all obeyed regulation laid down by the central agency: the system of conscription applied in effect, not only to the armed forces, but to the entire country. (---) 

...the president of the US was equipped with emergency powers written into the American constitution in direct imitation of the Roman precedent...no absolut monarch could have excercised greater power. (---) No small concentration of the power complex could have produced the critical transformation of the military-industrial-scientific establishment. Out of this union, between 1940 and 1961 the modernized megamachine, commanding ’absolute’ powers of destruction, emerged. (---)

Thereafter...the irreplaceable scientist-technician stood highest in the new hierarchy of power; and every part of the megamachine was made over in consonance with the peculiarly limited type of knowledge, deliberately sterilized of other human values and purposes, that their refined mathematical analysis and exact methods had been designed to further. (---)

Well before the first atom bomb was tested, the American Air Force had adopted the hitherto ’unthinkable’ practice of the wholesale, indiscriminate bombing of concentrated civilian populations: this paralleled, except the distance from the victims, the practices employed by Hitler’s submen in the extermination camps... By using napalm bombs the Air Force had rosted alive nearly 100.000 civilians in Tokyo in a single night. Thus the descent to total demoralization and extermination was neatly plotted well before the supposedly ’ultimate’ weapon, the atom bomb, was invented. (---)

For something worse than the invention of a deadly weapon had taken place: the act of making the bomb had hastened the assemblage of the new megamachine; for in order to keep that megamachine in effective operation once the immediate military emergency was over, a permanent state of war became the condition for its survival and further expansion (the ’cold war’, to begin with). (---)

There is no practice in these (simpler) cultures, neither headhunting nor cannibalism nor voodoo murder, that is comparable in superstitious savagery and mental corruption with the current plans of highly trained scientists, technologists, and military men to inflict collective death on the scale that modern technological agents have made possible. (---) ...this reveals the true nature of this culture and its chosen destiny. (---)

The key to exercising arbitrary power is to restrict the communications of individuals and groups by subdividing information, so that only a small portion of the whole truth will be known to any single person. This was an old trick of political conspirators, and it now (in the beginning of the 1940th) passed from the core agency, the so called ’Manhattan Project’ (on the atom bomb), to every part of the militarized national establishment... The difficulty of maintaining such sealedin knowledge might have proved greater but for the fact that each department of science had already become, in effect, a secret agency in its own right. 

The sciences are now so specialized in their vocabulary, so esoteric in their concepts, so refined in their techniques...that noncommunication has become almost a badge of vocational superiority among scientists. (---) Lord Acton’s famous dictum about power has been repeated too often to have retained its original force; but it still holds significance: ’Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ (---)

(After the Second World War) the militarized elite fortified themselves in an inner citadel - so beautifully symbolized by the architecturally archaic Pentagon - cut off from inspection or control by the rest of the community. With...aid of Congress, they extended their tentacles throughout the industrial and the academic world, through fat subsidies for ’research and development’, that is, for weapons expansion, wich made these once independent institutions willing accomplices in the whole totalitarian process. (---) By the simple expedient of creating new emergencies, formenting new fears, singling out new enemies or magnifying by free use of fantasy the evil intentions of the enemy, the megamachine...were elevated into permanent institution in what has now become a permanent war: the so called Cold War. 

(Efter Sovjets fall 1989 kan en del slutsatser dras: det stalinistiska regementet, nomenklaturan, korrumperade den socialistiska idén, vilket ett tyranniserat folk fick betala med svältkatastrofer och materiell nöd. "Kalla kriget" däremot var i hög grad en amerikansk Pentagonprodukt: det militärindustriella komplexets kroniska krigs- och expansionsmani som följer sin egen paranoida logik. En psykopati som ständigt projicerar sina egna hallucinationer på omvärlden. Sovjet skulle, som någon uttryckte det, "hetsas till döds genom teknologisk övermilitarisering". Det var en djupt antihuman policy som slagit hårt mot det sovjetiska folket. USA och Pentagon fick vänta till 1989 innan den sovjetiska ekonomin imploderade. 

När vi ändå är inne på Sovjet kan det vara värt att minnas att det var det sovjetiska folket som ytterst räddade västvärlden och Europa från att hitleriseras. De 22-24 miljoner ryssar som gav sina liv i skövlade byar, i arbets- och förintelseläger, som partisaner och soldater utgjorde nästan 50% av det totala antalet offer under 2:a världskriget, eller ca 52 milj människor.)

As it turned out, this form of war (att skapa en permanent fiende) is by far the most effective device invented for keeping this overproductive technology in full operation. (---) Paralyzed like a monkey in the coil of a python, the immediate post-Hiroshima generation, unable to utter a rational sound, shut its eyes and waited for the end. (---)

The new megamachine knows no limitations: it can command obedience and exert control through a vast battery of efficient machines, with fewer human intermediaries than ever before. To a degree hitherto impossible, the megamachine wears the magic cloak of invisibility. (---) This high degree of dehumanization increases the lethal automatism of the megamachine. (----) In plain words, the religion of the megamachine demands wholesale human sacrifice, to restore in negative form the missing dimension of life. Thus the cult of the Sun God turns out, in its final scientific celebration, to be no less savage and irritational than that of the Aztecs, though infinetly more deadly. (---) 

...the original military - industrial - scientific elite became the supreme Pentagon of Power, for it incorporated likewise both the bureaucratic and the educational establishments. (---) These misdirected absolute powers demand absolute immunity to independent investigation, and absolute conformity upon the part of those who operate the machine. (The life threatening strategies are not) subject to open public discussion, critical appraisal, democratic control. Those who possess sufficient knowledge to challenge the prevailing policies are therefore excluded or extruded from the totalitarian establishment. (---)

The nuclear reactor, the hydrogen bomb, the space rocket, television, chemical tranquillizers, and the computer have already provided the essential equipment for total control. (---) To ensure its own autonomy, and maintain the status of its manipulators, the megamachine must destroy all the alternatives, historical, traditional, or prospective. (---) 

...in the US, centralized governmental agencies, unchecked by public opinion, uncontrolled by elected bodies, have perfected the techniques of the permanent crisis in order to consolidate the powers that were originally designed solely to meet a passing threat. (---) Consistently the agents of the megamachine act as if their only responsebility were to the power system itself. The interests and demands of the populations subjected to the megamachine are not only unheeded but deliberately flouted. (---)

The illusions and magical hallucinations of these ruling groups, visible in their reckless acts, their incompetent forecasts...and their published statements, can have only one possible terminus. To conceal this eventual goal they have reached out in every direction to enlarge the number of accessories in their tacit conspiracy against mankind. (---)

Unfortunately, computer knowledge, because it must be processed and programmed, cannot remain constantly in touch, like the human brain, with the unceasing flow of reality; for only a small part of experience can be arrested for extraction and expression in abstract symbols. Changes that cannot be quantatively measured or objectively observed, such changes as take place constantly all the way from the atom to the living organism, are outside the scope of the computer. For all its components remain incapable of making qualitative responses to constant organic changes. (---) 

The computer turns out to be the Eye of the reinstated Sun God, that is, the Eye of the Megamachine, serving as its ’private eye’, as well as the omnipresent ’executive eye’, he who exacts absolute conformity to his commands, because no secret can be hidden from him, and no disobedience can go unpunished. (---) In the end, no action, no conversation, and possibly in time no dream or thought would escape the wakeful and relentless eye of this deity: every manifestation of life would be processed into the computer and brought under its allpervading system of control. This would mean, not just the invasion of privacy, but the total destruction of autonomy: indeed the dissolution of the human soul.

So the final purpose of life in terms of the megamachine at last becomes clear: it is to furnish and process an endless quantity of data, in order to expand the role and ensure the domination of the power system.

Organization Man
is the common link between the ancient and the modern type of megamachine: that is perhaps why the specialized functionaries, with their supporting layer of slaves, conscripts, and subjects - in short, the controllers and the controlled - have changed so little in the last five thousand years. (---) 

The degree of external pressure necessary to model Organization Man is probably no greater than that needed by any tribal society to secure conformity to ancient traditions and rituals: indeed, through compulsory elementary education, military conscript, and mass communication, the same stamp can be imprinted on millions of individuals in modern society quite as easily as upon a few hundred who meet face to face. What the sociologist Max Weber called the ’bureaucratic personality’ was destined, he thought, to be the ’ideal type’ prevailing in the modern world. (---)

The characteristic virtues of Organization Man correspond as nearly as possible to the machine that he serves: thus the part of his personality that was projected in mechanical instruments in turn reenforces that projection by eliminating any nonconforming organic or human functions. (---) Organizational Man flourishes as a virtual automaton within a collective system of automation. The model for the Organizational Man is the machine itself. As the mechanism grows more perfect, the residue of life needed to carry on the process becomes more minute and meaningless. (---) 

On those terms Adolph Eichmann, the obedient exterminator, who carried out Hitler’s policy and Himmler’s orders with unswerving fidelity, should be hailed the hero of our time. But unfortunately our time has produced many such heroes who has been willing to do at safe distance...what the exterminators at Belsen and Auschwitz did by oldfashioned handicraft methods. (---) And what makes this ’ideal type’ even more menacing is his successful use of the human disguise. His robot mechanism simulates flesh and bood; and exept for a few troglodyte specimens there is nothing to distinguish him outwardly from a reasonable human being, smoothmannered, lowkeyed, presumably amiable. Like Himmler, he may even be a ’good family man.’ (---)

Already these faithful servants of the megamachine have taken for granted that there is only one acceptable view of the world, that which they stand for: only one kind of knowledge, only one type of human enterprise has value - their own, or that which derives directly from their own. Ultimately they mean that only one kind of personality can be considered desirable - that established as such by the military- industrial- scientific elite which will operate the megamachine. (---) 

Up to now, no single poltical structure, no single ideology, no single type of personality has ever prevailed over the entire planet. Man has not yet been homogenized. (---) Just as no single region or culture can possibly offer fulfillment of all the potentialities for human development, so no single generation can embody these personalities. And in fact no generation before our own has ever been so fatuous as to imgaine it possible to live exclusively within its own narrow timeband, guided only by information recently discovered. (---)

The notion that the past, instead of being respected, must be liquidated is a peculiar mark of the megatechnic power system. On this matter the anthropologist Lord Raglan has spoken sobering words: ’...it is less often realized...that deacy of culture can be brought about even more rapidly by breaking away from the past.’ For a culture like the present one to cultivate its transience and ephemerality, as if dynamism were an absolute value and stability of any kind a handicap, is to ignore the plain facts not only of organic conti-nuity but of pshysical existence. (---) 

...we have already a sufficiently clear picture of both biological and social evolution to see that the factors making for variety, selectivity, and change must be counterpointed by those making for continuity, regularity, stability, and universality; and when either set is lacking, life and growth are threatened. (---) One part of our civilization - that dedicated to technology - has usurped authority over all the other components... 

Not merely does technology claim priority in human affairs: it places the demand for constant technological change above any considerations of its own efficency, its own continuity, or even, ironically enough, its own capacity to survive. To maintain such a system, whose postulates contradict those that underlie all living organisms, it requires for selprotection absolute confomity by the human community; and to achieve that conformity it proposes to institute a system of total control, starting with the human organism itself...

The business of creating a limited, docile, scientifically conditioned human animal, completely adjusted to a purely tecnological environment, has kept pace with the rapid transformation of that environment itself...by reenforcing conformity with tangible rewards, partly by denying any real opportunities for choices outside the range of the megatechnic system. American children...will be able only by heroic effort to disengage themselves from this system sufficiently to recover some measure of autonomy...and this state of submissive conformity has been hailed, by the more ominous prophets of this regime, as man’s ultimate ’liberation’. But ’liberation’ from what? (---) ...what is actually required is mechanical simplification and human amplification... (---)

Our contemporaries are already so conditioned to accept technological ’progress’ as absolute and irresistible, however painful, ugly, mentally cramping, or psychologically damaging its results, that they accept the latest technical offering...with smiling consent... (...) ...technology has produced a state of torrential dynamism, since the only form of control effectively excercised is that of making every part undergo still more rapid change... Man himself is thus losing hold on any personal life that can be called his own: he is now turned into a ’thing’ destined to be processed and reconstructed collectively... (---) 

Modern man’s readiness to accept this external control...has been facilitated by both external pressure and internal anxieties. (---) Science confidently proposes to alter (man’s) potentialities at the source through genetic intervention and through further programming his existence... (---) Those species of ants that have achieved firm control in breeding special types have remained fixed for some sixty million years. They foretell the ultimate fate of a human population... (---) Or as Melville’s mad captain in ’Moby Dick’ said of himself: ’All my means and methods are sane: but my purpose is mad!.’ (---)

Over the entire Pentagon of Power, thanks to the technocratic arrogance and automated intelligence of those who have built this citadel, hovers a nuclear Ragnarok, or Twilight of the Gods, long ago predicted in Norse mythology: a world consumed in flames... (---)

Man carrying rockets and space stations are not inevitable or unavoidable innovations: they are projection in concrete form of morbid military obsessions...the 30 billions spent by the US alone for the purpose of placing a man on the moon...could have been disbursed for more significant human objectives... (---)

Thus makind is now in the process of changing its quarters only by moving to a modern wing in the same aechaic prison whose foundations were laid in the Pyramid Age: better ventilated and more sanitary, with a pleasanter outlook - but still a prison... But whereas the earlier modes of achieving productivity and conformity were largely external...those now applied to consumption are becoming internalized... 

But what would become of mass production and its system of financial expansion if technical perfection, durability, social efficency, and human satisfaction were the guiding aims? The very condition for current financial success - constantly expanding production and replacement - works against these ends. (---) The aim of industry is not primarily to satisfy essential human needs...but to multiply the number of needs, factitious or fictitious, and accommodate them to the maximum mechanical capacity to produce profits. These are the sacred principles of the power complex. (---)

Those already conditioned from infancy by school training and television tutelage to regard megatechnics as the highest point in man’s ’conquest of nature’ will accept this totalitarian control of their own development not as a horrid sacrifice but as a highly desirable fulfillment... (---) The willing member of megatechnic society can have everything the system produces. (---) Only one proviso must be made, which the apologists for the power complex studiously have failed to recognize. All these goods remain valuable only if more important human concerns are not overlooked or eradicated. (---)

The mischiefs that have issued from megatechnics are not due to its failures and breakdowns but to its unqualified successes in overquantification. These defects were present in the very conception of the mechanical world picture, which turned its back on organic needs and organic processes...and overemphasized quantity and speed... (---) Since profitmaking expanison, not rational distribution and social justice, is the criterion of megatechnic success, the Establishment can present no appealing moral alternative. (---) 

...a predominantly megatechnic economy can be kept in profitable operation only by systematic and constant expansion. Instead of a balanced economy, dedicated to the enhancement of life, megatechnics demands limitless expansion on a colossal scale: a feat that only war or mockwar, rocket building and space exploration can supply. Now the more organized the power structure becomes, the fewer nonconforming factors can be admitted, and the more open the whole system is to breakdowns... (---) That callous public indifference to the results of our daily commitment to power and speed helps explain our tolerance of massive technological assaults in every other are of life. (---)

With this feeling of alienation goes the typical psychological problem of our time...the Identity Crisis. In a world of transitory family nurture, transitory human contacts, transitory jobs and places of residence, transitory sexual and family relations, the basic conditions for maintaining continuity and establishing personal equilibrium disappear. (---) ...a collective disintegration is first recorded...in deeper levels of the mind. 

Yet any attempt to make a quantitative estimate of the deterioration (in megamachine society) that has taken place here by compiling current statistics of crime, mental illness, drug addiction, homicide and suicide, can give but a partial and superficial account of what is actually happening... Only one fact is clear: the area of violence and irrationality, both privat and institutionalized, has steadily widened during the last half century. (---)

In a culture where only the machine embodies order and rationality, the ’liberation’ of man does not mean an increase of choice: it means only the liberation of his unconscious, and his submission to demonic impulses and drives. By funnelling all order into the machine, man has cut himself of from those very repetitive acts and rituals which so long proved useful in maintaining some degree of internal balance, some prospect of creativity. The order that was once embodied in the patterns of culture and the structure of the human personality, has been sacrificed to mere technological achievement. And by now it should be clear  that there is no technological solution for this perilous state.(---) 

A culture that boasts of its uncontrollable dynamism is in a state of nightmarish disintegration... (---) Never was the ecological balance of nature, and the integrity of cultures, so violently upset as during the last two centuries (---) Without a countermovement to slow down or reverse these automatic processes mankind comes closer...to what is in more than one sense a dead end. (---)

Until our own day human culture as a whole developed in an organic, subjectively modified environment, not in a sterile machine made enclosure. (---) There are no mechanical or electronic or chemical substitutes for whole living organisms... To be condemned for any length of time to devitalized megalopolitan habitat, in which human beings are isolated not merely from each other but from all other organisms...is to unlearn and discard all the lessons learned in cooperation by living organisms during some three billion years on earth, and by man, especially, during the last hundred thousand years. (---) 

For man to restrict his activities and his personal fulfillments solely to those that conform to external megatechnic requirements would be a form of collective suicide: and that suicide - or more accurately biocide - is in fact taking place before our eyes. (---) Let us not be deceived by surviving mechanistic illusions...only the destructive processes are swift: only entropy comes easy. (---)

All thinking worthy of name now must be ecological, in the sense of appreciating and utilizing organic complexity, and in adapting every kind of change to requirements not of man alone, or of any single generation, but of all his organic partners and every part of his habitat. (---) The more firmly we get attached to the power system, the more alienated we become from those vital sources that are essential to further human development. (---) 

The great revolution needed to save mankind from the projected assaults against life by the controllers of the megamachine demands first of all a displacement of the mechanical world picture with an organic world picture...for achieving wholeness, autonomy, and creativity. (---) If we are to prevent megatechnics from further controlling and deforming every aspect of human culture, we shall be able to do so only with the aid of a radically different model derived, not from machines, but from living organisms and organic complexes (ecosystems). (---) This new model will in time replace megatechnics with biotechnics; and that is the first step toward passing from power to plenitude. (---)

Under the power complex the purely quantitative concept of unlimited abundance...has served as the guiding principle. As opposed to this, an organic system directs itself to qualitative richness, amplitude, spaciousness, free from quantitative pressure and crowding, since selfregulation, selfcorrection, and selfpropulsion are as much an integral property of organisms as nutrition, reproduction, growth, and repair. 

Balance, wholeness, completeness, continuous interplay between the inner and the outer, the subjective and the objective aspects of existence are identifying characteristics of the organic model. (---) Plenitude indicated more than abundance: it was the condition for organic variety, diversification, selectivity, in a word, freedom, which reached its climax in man.

This benign transformation can happen only on one condition, and that a hard one: namely that the life-negating idelas and methods of the power system be renounced... So, long as the ideals of unqualified power remain prevalent...no organic transfomation is possible. (---) Reformers who would treat the campaign against environmental and human degredation solely in terms of improved technological facilities, like the reduction of gasoline exhaust in motor cars, see only a small part of the problem. Nothing less than a profound reorientation of our technological way of life will save this planet from becoming a lifeless desert. (---) 

For its effective salvation mankind will need to undergo something like a spontaneous religious conversion...and give to human personality...the precedence it now gives to machines and computers. The order of change is as hard for most people to conceive as was the change from the classic power complex of Imperial Rome to that of Christianity... But such changes have repeatedly occured all through history; and under catastrophic pressure they may occur again.

Det är en naivt att tro att den amerikanska makteliten någonsin avmobiliserat, nedrustat eller i någon mening haft för avsikt att upphöra med kriget som det effektivaste och mest destruktiva instrumentet för att hålla igång och expandera ett natur- och människofientligt system; ett system som förtär livsbetingelser och liv med osläcklig hunger. Kriget i alla tänkbara uppenbarelseformer - dit även förljugen propaganda och hjärntvätt av de egna medborgarna hör - är systemets rätta "natur". Så var det när presidenten hette Washington; så är det när det när han heter Bush. - Ett specifikt ögonblick i världshistorien har visat mänskligheten vad USA i ultimata fall är kapabelt till - och det finns absolut inga garantier för att det inte händer igen...

I slutskedet av det världskrig som varit "otänkbart" presenterades resultatet av forskarmödorna i Los Alamos, USA - "The    Manhattan Project". Den dagen, 6 augusti 1945, randades klarblå över Hiroshima. Högt däruppe, på ca 1800 m höjd, stävade bombplanet, en B29,  "Enola Gay" fram. Kommendanten, 30-årige Paul G Tibbet höll i en spak som skilde honom från att vara en helt vanlig amerikansk soldat - och folkmördare. President Truman hade gett ordern. Men Japan var redan militärt bankrutt, krigsmarinen utslagen, militarismen på reträtt, Tokyo (med 100.000 döda) och andra städer sönderbrända av amerikansk luftterror med brand- och napalmbomber och på öarna runt omkring stektes japaner och urbefolkning ihjäl med eldkastare medan granater rensade grottorna där kvinnor och barn sökt skydd.

Klockan var 9.15 när Tibbet utlöste mekanismen utan att darra på handen. På 550 m höjd detonerade världens första kärnvapen, en uranbomb, riktad mot människor. Planet skalv till och Tibbets team gjorde "en kontrollerad undanmanöver". Det vita svampmolnet svällde ut bakom maskinen, men långt därnere kunde Tibbet - som han själv berättade i en BBC-intervju 1970 - ana "en kokande svart tjärhög av människor". Gruset hade förvandlats till glas och byggnaderna jämnats med marken. 

Utan en skälvning på rösten beskrev Tibbet, 25 år senare, lugnt, sakligt och detaljerat folkmordets alla tekniska finesser. Han hade ju inte sett enskilda människor dö, inte nåtts av några skrin, aldrig återsett de groteskt vanställda och skinnflådda kropparna, eller mött de tiotusental som plågades ihjäl av radiakcancer de följande decennierna. Avståndet lämnade hans psyke i fred. Visst, han förstod "att det under molnet fanns riktiga människor", men han hade "bara gjort sin plikt som amerikansk patriot". Han hade volonterat och begått en "hedersam" handling, ansåg han. Där fanns inte skuggan av samvetsrörelse.

Som tusentals andra amerikanska soldater i krig efter krig - från Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, Korea, Vietnam till Irak - uppfattade han sig som fullt normal, "anständig" (en term SS-ledaren Himmler använde om sina människoslaktare); som en föredömlig amerikansk medborgare som bara följt systemets spelregler. Vinsten var nya gradtecken och sedvanliga materiella favörer. - Tre dagar senare, 9 augusti 1945, släpptes i "experimentsyfte" en amerikansk plutoniumbomb över Nagasaki. Tillsammans skördade de bägge kärnladdningarna över 120.000 människoliv direkt, skadade kanske 200.000 medan enbart i Hiroshima 70.000 skulle lida radiakdöden de följande åren.

Tommy Eriksson