Re: Interview with the enemy

From: Emlyn (
Date: Wed Apr 18 2001 - 18:40:56 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:
> See:,3604,474332,00.html --
> Duncan Campbell talks to John Zerzan.

I liked this paragraph...

"But is it not the case that much of the protest movement now is fuelled by
communication on the internet in a way that would otherwise be impossible?
"That's another of the contradictions. It is true, for example, that many
more people have read my stuff [on the internet] than have bought the books,
and that's fine ... Many people I know do use it for instant communication,
for coordinating things. You can get anarchist news daily in 12 languages on
what is going on today in Greece or wherever and that is an obvious service.
I don't even have a computer, but I think you can use it without succumbing
to it." He does have a television set, and contributes to the underground
Radio Free Cascadia and cable access shows. "Everyone needs to veg out at
times and television's not as bad as hard drugs."

I'm dodgy about the last point about TV :-) .

If these guys win the day, and take us into neo-luddism, it's going to be
extraordinarily ironic. It seems that all the anti-tech movements, along
with the rest of the fringe interest groups out there (eg: us) are entirely
enabled by modern communications technology, specifically the internet (ok,
it's '70s communications technology, but let's not be picky).

I wonder if any of the anarchist groups are blowing up their local internet
backbone infrastructure?

Take this too... "As one would expect there is no car outside Zerzan's
home - he cycles. "

I fail to see the qualitative distinction between a car and a bicycle, in
technological terms. Ot between the internet and books! Books, the most
direct, in your face product of the Gutenberg printing press, and symbolic
of the massive technological revolution which it enabled. Astounding.

This "back to nature" stuff really pushes my buttons. We are already in
nature... we are utterly immersed in the natural right now. Humans and
technology are one; without our tools, we lose our primary distinction, that
which makes and defines us as human beings. To reject our tools is to reject
our essential nature.

"Natural" is implicitly or explicitly defined by anti-tech people as
"everything except humans and the stuff we make". It's such a hopeless point
of view, because it puts us outside of the rest of the universe, and defines
us as bad, while everything else is good.

I can't see how we can be anything other than natural, given that we have
emerged from the chaotic flux of the universe, the same as everything else.
The operation of our intelligence, and the products of that, are all born of
these same processes. In this light, natural ceases to have a useful meaning
at all, because it just means "everything".

Another possible interpretation is that "Natural" is everything that has
come about through "natural selection", the ebb and flow of the universe.
The only things outside of that are anything which is a product of
intelligent design, or intervention by intelligent beings. That keeps us
inside the definition of natural, but puts our tools out

Or does it? How many here would be alive without current technology? I
possibly might be, but my wife and children would not (both kids were
emergency cesareans). I posit that a great many people would be in that
position. Further, even the constantly healthy amongst us live on a planet
of 6 billion people!

Take the tech, and you kill most of us. All of us are now entirely dependant
on human technology to survive, whether we acknowledge it or not. It's just
that the life-support system is so transparent, at least to us in the west,
that many of us forget it is even in existence.

Confronted with this truth, many retreat into Malthusian rhetoric, implying
that we are overpopulated, and that our population needs to get back to
"acceptable" levels. I get the impression that people who talk about
population in that way, mean some other population, far away from them. Pick
9 from each 10 of your friends, family, loved ones. That's what it really

I think we need to get to acceptable levels, too. 6 billion is way too few.
Humans are, as far as am aware, the most fascinating elements of the
universe, and, assuming we are alone, humans are the owners of everything
else. Morally, the life and wellbeing of humans (and possibly much of the
animal kingdom) takes precedence over everything else. If the plants have a
problem with this, they can grow a brain, then maybe we can talk about it.

I've maintained for a while, although I don't mention it much here, that the
label "transhuman", while useful as something to hang a bunch of concepts
on, is fundamentally redundant. I feel that all the concepts represented by
Transhumanism are attributes of what it is to be truly human. To merge with
and become our tools, is a path that naturally flows from the dawn of

To resist that, to limit the investigation into and use of technology, to
stultify, stagnate at a particular level of technology and say "no more"...
that is to be less than human. *That* is unnatural.

Emlyn James O'Regan - Managing Director
Wizards of AU
"Australian IT Wizards - US Technology Leaders
Pure International Teleworking in the Global Economy"

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