Home > Uncategorized > Jacques Ellul: The Betrayal by Technology « Cathedral Bells

Jacques Ellul: The Betrayal by Technology « Cathedral Bells

Here an excellent video of the French theologian/philosopher/sociologist Jacques Ellul and his critique ofTechnique. Its a great introduction to his thought:

[Abridged transcript below by JR]

“In a society such as ours, it is almost impossible for a person to be responsible.  A simple example:  A dam has been built somewhere, and it bursts.  Who is responsible for that?  Geologists worked on it.  They examined the terrain.  Engineers drew up the construction plans.  Workmen constructed it.  And politicians decided that the dam had to be in that spot.  Who is responsible?  No one…

“But no one is free either…  Just consider, for example, that atrocious excuse.  It was one of the most horrible things I have ever heard.  The person in charge of the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen was asked during the Auschwitz trial the Nuremburg trials regarding Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen:  But didn’t you find it horrible?  All those corpses?  He replied:  What could I do?  The capacity of the ovens was too small.  I couldn’t process all those corpses.  It caused me many problems.  I had no time to think about those people.  I was too busy with that technical problem of my ovens.

“That was the classic example of an irresponsible person.  He carries out his technical task and he’s not interested in anything else.”

via Jacques Ellul: The Betrayal by Technology « Cathedral Bells.

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