Si può dissentire con Jonathan Franzen e le sue opinioni sempre piuttosto negative — e difficili da accettare, perché un po’ ci da fastidio mettere in discussione la scontata bontà del progresso — riguardo all’uso che facciamo della rete, ma restano comunque interessanti da leggere perché mai scontate e sempre supportate da riflessioni che solo ad essere riduttivi possono essere liquidate dando del luddista all’autore[1. “Not only am I not a Luddite, I’m not even sure the original Luddites were Luddites: it simply seemed practical to them to smash the steam-powered looms that were putting them out of work”]. L’ultimo articolo sul Guardian — dovuto all’uscita imminente di un suo saggio su Kraus — ne è un esempio:
“Culture can’t catch its breath, and in the end a dead humanity lies next to its works, whose invention cost us so much of our intellect that we had none left to put them to use. We were complicated enough to build machines and too primitive to make them serve us.” To me the most impressive thing about Kraus as a thinker may be how early and clearly he recognised the divergence of technological progress from moral and spiritual progress. A succeeding century of the former, involving scientific advances that would have seemed miraculous not long ago, has resulted in high-resolution smartphone videos of dudes dropping Mentos into litre bottles of Diet Pepsi and shouting “Whoa!” Technovisionaries of the 1990s promised that the internet would usher in a new world of peace, love, and understanding, and Twitter executives are still banging the utopianist drum, claiming foundational credit for the Arab spring. To listen to them, you’d think it was inconceivable that eastern Europe could liberate itself from the Soviets without the benefit of cellphones, or that a bunch of Americans revolted against the British and produced the US constitution without 4G capability. […]
With technoconsumerism, a humanist rhetoric of “empowerment” and “creativity” and “freedom” and “connection” and “democracy” abets the frank monopolism of the techno-titans; the new infernal machine seems increasingly to obey nothing but its own developmental logic.