node created 2019/10/20
Everything is calculation! Thinking is calculation. [..] Humans only think that they think, but all they do is compute, using algorithms programmed into them by biological evolution, and learned by social evolution. But just like machines surpassed humans in physical activity, like running and jumping, they are already starting to surpass humans in so-called intellectual activities.
Es ist typisch für die entmutigende Oberflächlichkeit des heutigen Denkens, daß das Wort "Größe", das eine Quantität und nicht eine Qualität bezeichnet, als ein Ausdruck der Anerkennung, wie zum Beispiel "Schönheit", "Güte", "Weisheit" verwendet wird. Was heute groß ist, wird also fast automatisch als schön und gut angesehen.
"Germany: Jekyll & Hyde (1939 - Deutschland von innen betrachtet)" (1940), S. 20
The danger of computers becoming like humans is not as great as the danger of humans becoming like computers.
The greatest evil perpetrated is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons.
"On Evil"
Humans, in so far as they are more than a completion of functions able to react, whose lowest and therefore most central are the purely animal like reactions, are simply superfluous for totalitarian systems. Their goal is not to erect a despotic regime over humans, but a system by which humans are made superfluous. Total power can only be achieved and guaranteed when nothing else matters except the absolutely controllable willingness to react, marionettes robbed of all spontaneity. Humans, precisely because they are so powerful, can only be completely controlled when they have become examples of the animal like species human.
"Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft" p. 667
We don't know a perfected totalitarian power structure, because it would require the control of the whole planet. But we know enough about the the still preliminary experiments of total organization to realize that the very well possible perfection of this apparatus would get rid of human agency in the sense as we know it. To act would turn out to be superfluous for people living together, when all people have become an example of their species, when all doing has become an acceleration of the movement mechanism of history or nature following a set pattern, and all deeds have become the execution of death sentences which history and nature have given anyway.
"Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft" p. 683
These definitions coincide with the terms which, since Greek antiquity, have been used to define the forms of government as the rule of man over man—of one or the few in monarchy and oligarchy, of the best or the many in aristocracy and democracy, to which today we ought to add the latest and perhaps most formidable form of such dominion, bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done. It is this state of affairs which is among the most potent causes for the current world-wide rebellious unrest.
"On Violence"