by Robert Anton Wilson
For instance, a modern computer does more (handles more bits of information) with less hardware than the proto-computers of the late ’40’s and ’50’s.
One worker with a modern teletype machine does more in an hour than a thousand medieval monks painstakingly copying scrolls for a century.
Atomic fission does more with a cubic centimeter of matter than all the engineers of the 19th Century could do with a million tons, and fusion does even more.
- The increment-of-association, a term coined by engineer C.H. Douglas, a meaning simply that when we combine our efforts we can do more than the sum of what each of us could do seperately. Five people acting synergetically together can lift a small modern car, but if each of the five tries separately, the car will not budge. As society evolved from tiny bands, to larger tribes, to federations of tribes, to city-states, to nations, to multinational alliances, the increment-of-association increased exponentially. A stone-age hunting band could not build the Parthenon; a Renaissance city-state could not put Neil Armstrong on the Moon. When the increment-of-association increases, through larger social units, doing-more-with-less becomes increasingly possible.
- Knowledge itself is inherently self-augmenting. Every discovery “suggests” further discoveries; every innovation provokes further innovations. This can be seen concretely, in the records of the U.S. Patent Office, where you will find more patents granted every year than were granted the year before, in a rising curve that seems to be headed toward infinity. If Inventor A can make a Whatsit out of 20 moving parts, Inventor B will come along and build a Whatsit out of 10 moving parts. If the technology of 1900 can get 100 ergs out of a Whatchamacallum, the technology of 1950 can get 1,000 ergs. Again, the tendency is always toward doing-more-with-less.
Thousands of monks were technologically unemployed by Gutenberg.
Thousands of blacksmiths were technologically unemployed by Ford’s Model T.
Each device that does-more-with-less makes human labor that much less necessary.
Working for wages, the modern equivalent of slavery — very accurately called “wage slavery” by social critics — is in the process of being abolished by just such self-programming machines. In fact, Norbert Wiener, one of the creators of cybernetics, foresaw this as early as 1947 and warned that we would have massive unemployment once the computer revolution really got moving.
Critical theory is a school of thought that stresses the reflective assessments and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities. As a term, critical theory has two meanings with different origins and histories: the first originated in sociology and the second originated in literary criticism, whereby it is used and applied as an umbrella term that can describe a theory founded uponcritique; thus, the theorist Max Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”
In sociology and political philosophy, the term critical theory describes the neo-Marxist philosophy of the Frankfurt School, which was developed in Germany in the 1930s. Frankfurt theorists drew on the critical methods of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Critical theory maintains that ideology is the principal obstacle to human liberation.
J. K. Galbraith was a great economist who documented how society would improve it’s GDP with fewer man hours of wasted work, The Club of Rome experts and Bucky Fuller knew these things our new technologies will allow – long ago.