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The third industrial revolution in progress does not solve the pollution and destruction caused by the two previous ones. On the contrary, it plunges us even more into a hierarchical social organization where the State guarantees the people the validity of the industrial system and permanently denies the reality of the catastrophe. 

All of our needs are taken care of by the technocratic machine and the Internet allows to accentuate even more the centralization of this management and its financial efficiency, to the detriment of the health of the people and the respect of the Earth. We are sick because we eat adulterated food, breathe polluted air, drink polluted water and live under the constant assault of electromagnetic waves. We are sick because our lives have no meaning anymore. The society of mass consumption has allowed the invasion, under the high authority of the State, of our daily life by polluting objects which succeed in the challenge of infesting our body and destroying our soul. It is not necessary to conduct an inventory of the diseases and illnesses that affect the inhabitants of our country as well as the rest of the world, nor the precociousness with which they spread among the youngest. Just turn on your radio or read your newspaper(1).

We cannot live in good health in a world where food is left in the hands of chemical and agribusiness multinationals, where work no longer has any meaning and where relationships with others are made through digital prostheses. We cannot live in a world where our relationship with the Earth and the organic elements has disappeared. We cannot live in a world where the speed of information and events has reached a hellish degree. So we no longer live, we survive. The scientific organization of work has given rise to the scientific domestication of our social organization and our lives. It is no longer possible today to be a farmer living from his work, simply by respecting himself and the land. The bureaucracy, boosted by the possibilities offered by the Internet, does not give him any chance, no respite. Worse, for more than a century now, zootechnics have scuttled the very foundations of this art of living in an environment that is appropriate for it.

The eradication of the peasants is about to be completed, and it is not not be surprised to see terminals, computers, and other devices appearing on the market. and robots in the new industrial agricultural world. They are the consequence of all the norms imposed by the State in the name of the productivity, hygiene and traceability. 

 » One hardly asks a farmer, even an organic farmer, to take an interest in earthworms or in the aeration of a manure pile. It is asked to manage « flows ». As we have said, the vocabulary required to define traceability confirms the extent to which the farmer is an actor in industrial production. (…) Traceability is one of the most central inventions of 20th century industry. It was developed to rationalize production and allow mass consumption of both manufactured and agricultural products. (…) All the producers have integrated traceability to the point of considering it as the most appropriate tool to generate recognition of their work. They have made it their own instrument of protection. And at the same time, they have adopted the rationalist arguments that accompany traceability. Little by little, they even become the promoters. In this, the organic producers join the consumers and other « consom’actors » eager for guarantees that only the industry is able to provide, since it is the industry that has forged the concepts. With the results that we know. Traceability has replaced the proximity that exists in a direct relationship between a producer and his customers. However, traceability differs from proximity as much by the debauchery of technology that its follow-up imposes as by the inflation of bureaucratization and the enormity of the control system that accompanies it.(2)  »

The medicine that is supposed to heal us, that is to say, to help us to to take care of us, has itself become industrialized and is now in the in the hands of pharmaceutical companies. Physicians follow protocols dictated by a scientific and Taylorized vision of the body. The industrial society has, since the beginning of the 19th century through the of Napoleon, sought to suppress all health practices that were based on transmission and organic knowledge. From 1810, the State organized the monopoly of care, entrusted to physicians and to pharmacies. Science and then chemistry will not leave any chance to a holistic vision of care and natural remedies that accompanied him. 

A very acute pain in my lower back recently forced me to call the medical emergency room in Paris. When the doctor arrived, I couldn’t finish my sentence to explain the pain I was feeling, the origins I thought I had detected. She examined me in thirty seconds (real time), asked me if I had pain when I urinated, then sat down at the table and began, without telling me, to write her prescription. She could have left within three minutes. Unfortunately, I interrupted the procedure she was performing like an automaton by telling her that I did not wish to take chemical medication. At that moment her face darkened and she said,  » Then why did you call me here?  » When I tried to provide an answer to her question, she interrupted me in the middle of my first sentence to tell me that she was in a hurry. She left a few moments later. This is a pretty good illustration of the practice of official medicine in France. At no time did it occur to this woman to ask me about the suffering I was having and the causes I might have detected. No questions about my diet, lifestyle, work, medical or family history(3). She was there to carry out a protocol she had been taught and to prescribe anti-inflammatories to help me heal. His position as holder of knowledge and representative of public order gave him absolute power. Only she, with her scientific knowledge, knew. I was the ignorant one, the pagan who had to obey. As a doctor, a person paid to treat me, she could have considered finding a solution adapted to my desire to take only medication made from natural products. No, that was impossible for him. She didn’t have the will and maybe not even the knowledge. I felt like I was dealing with a robot without any empathy or consideration for the human being I was or for the pain I was feeling. I was dealing with a machine and was treated like a stream. 

Precisely… In theJournal de la Vendée, a monthly newspaper of the department, the merits of « telemedicine » are praised in these terms:  » Telemedicine is undoubtedly one of the most valuable applications of the deployment of Very High Speed in the Vendée . » In this issue of August 2016, the headline, five columns on the front page, was:  » La Vendée builds the digital highway « .

Telemedicine consists of the remote examination of patients through the installation of screens and cameras and a connection to the Internet. It is a medicine without human contact and which prefigures the arrival of robot doctors. 

The industrial society has manufactured pathologies and sick people, it piles up the old ones in specialized and dedicated centers and it has discouraged vocations as physicians. The WHO has stated that Alzheimer’s disease, a pure product of modern nuisances, was going to reach the vast majority of the population. No matter what. Technoscience always has a new answer to problems that it generates. Telemedicine and robots for the elderly and brain implants for all those who can no longer live in this intimate and violent suffering and which go out of the frame. It is the same goes for climate change and the great masses that accompany it. It is the research that will provide the answers. For example, sending spacecraft to suck up carbon in the atmosphere. Never question the progress and the of history. Never attack the roots. 

When progress is questioned, it must be specified that it is only technological and scientific progress and that it has nothing to do with social and human progress. And that in this case it is of social regression that we should speak to evoke the industrial society based on mass consumption. Then comes almost inexorably the massive argument, the indisputable justification, a bit like the neutrality of the tool: life expectancy. This is one of the most beautiful fables of the technicist civilization: we live longer, so these two centuries of intensive industrialization, of planetary destruction and this degeneration of humanity that I observe among my contemporaries are « acceptable ». That’s the price we pay. Life expectancy is a concept that allows people to be alienated from the standardized mass consumer society. It allows the unacceptable to be accepted. It is an invention of the technical system, rational, mathematical and therefore irrefutable. 

However, this life expectancy, which, according to scientists, after having increased, has been decreasing for seven years(4), says nothing about what this life is. It does not say if we find ourselves fulfilled, free, fraternal, emancipated. It doesn’t say whether the food tastes good and whether we live in a pleasant space. It does not say if we are obliged to fill ourselves with anti-depressants to support the infamy of our lives and our incapacity to oppose the bureaucratic confinement and the tyranny of the screens. It does not say that there is only one world and that we can no longer refuse it to live in other ways. It does not say that the poor, the disenfranchised, live much less long than the more fortunate. It says nothing about the noise that in the big cities and even now in the countryside nibbles at our brains. It does not say that it is a technical device that allows science to keep us alive against our will and in intolerable conditions. Life expectancy is the product of a society of statistics and numbers. It says nothing about our existence, about our degree of sociability, about work as it has become. It affirms a data that has no link, no implication with the sensitive, the touch, in our body and in our daily life. It is number and as such does not admit any contradiction. 

Here is the definition I propose to replace this life expectancy to which experts have had to add for some time  » without disability  » and then  » without activity restrictions « : we don’t live longer, we die slower:  » In recent years, trends for life expectancy without activity restrictions are less favorable than previously observed, particularly for those aged 50–65 . »(5)

A number of early childhood specialists have just issued a newspaper alert on the seriousness of the disorders they have been observing in very young children for several years. The proliferation of screens in family life is causing, according to them, very worrying behaviors that threaten the development of children. Doctors speak of  » massive and early exposure of babies and young children to all types of screens: smartphone, tablet, computer, console, television(6). « The damage does not only affect children who actually spend hours in front of a screen, but also the parents, who have broken the dialogue with their offspring. They no longer listen to their children and are no longer available for exchange because of their own inability to do without a screen; their addiction makes them lose their mind and jeopardizes the development of their children. No need to be an expert, it is enough to observe the world around you, whether you are in Paris or in a small village, to measure the extent of a disaster announced. Diseases due to  » massive overexposure  » to screens are legion and do not augur well, in the age of digital diving, except for pharmaceutical laboratories and all the hordes of medical specialists supervised by ethics committees. 

By the way, speaking of the high authority of medicine, the fraud of life expectancy in this technicist, chemical and industrialized society has its equivalent in the computer world, it is the CNIL (Commission nationale informatique & libertés). It was created after the outcry caused by the SAFARI project (Automated System for Administrative Files and the Directory of Individuals), during the presidency of Giscard d’Estaing in 1974. This project consisted of consolidating the files of the various administrations(7). Today, thanks to the CNIL, it is done and all the possibilities of surveillance, control and commercial use offered by the digital technology have been accepted under the cover of a defense of our liberties absolutely impossible to achieve and completely out of the state will. Everyone can see that no moment of his or her life escapes economic exploitation and computer surveillance. 

Hervé Krief

This article is excerpted from a chapter in Hervé Krief’s book,Internet or the Return to Candlelight, Quartz, 2018. 

Notes et références
  1. Le journal de 13 heures sur France Inter, le 20 octobre 2017, ouvre sur 9 millions de morts dans le monde par an dus à la pollution atmosphérique et se ferme sur la recrudescence des morts sur la route dus aux téléphones portables (qui s’ajoutent à ceux dus à l’alcool).
  2. Xavier Noulhianne, Le Ménage des champs, Les éditions du bout de la ville, Le Mas‑d’Azil, 2017.
  3. La philosophie du soin chinois a cette jolie expression pour définir la prise en compte de tous les aspects de notre vie : « entre ciel et terre ».
  4. Science & Vie, Paris, juin 2013.
  5. Cambois, J.-M. Robine, A. Sceurin, « Espérance de vie sans incapacité (EVSI) en France 2011 », Institut national d’études démographiques (INED) n° 170, Documents de travail.
  6. Tribune parue dans Le Monde du 31 mai 2017 intitulée « La surexposition des enfants aux écrans est un enjeu majeur de santé publique ».
  7. Lire La Liberté dans le coma du groupe Marcuse, op. cité.

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