Jacques Ellul: A Prophet for Our Tech-Saturated Times

By now you have probably read about the so-called “tech backlash.” Facebook and other social media have undermined what’s left of the illusion of democracy, while smartphones damage young brains and erode the nature of discourse in the family. Meanwhile computers and other gadgets have diminished our attention spans along with our ever-failing connection to reality. The … Read more

‘Enlightenment Now’ Rationalizes the Violence of Empire

I believe Pinker’s mechanical understanding of environmental problems in the age of climate change and massive species loss to be irresponsible. We need to counter Pinker’s view with a broader understanding of what our relationship to nature and to each other has been within the context of Western “progress.”

The Cult of Innovation: Its Colorful Myths and Rituals

The god term I have in mind is, of course, “innovation.” The word derives from the Latin innovare, which means “to renew” or “to restore.” In everyday speech the word has come to mean something like: the activity of bringing new things into being that will generate sweeping renewal throughout the world.

The Illusion of Invincibility

One of the wry amusements to be had from writing a blog that routinely contradicts the conventional wisdom of our time is the way that defenders of that same conventional wisdom tend to react. You might think that those who are repeating what most people believe would take advantage of that fact, and present themselves as the voice of the majority, speaking for the collective consensus of our time. In the nearly seven years since I started this blog, though, the number of times that’s happened can be counted neatly on the fingers of one foot.