24 December 2010

Wie Ernst Jünger erst das iPhone erfand - How Ernst Jünger invented the iPhone


Wer schon Heliopolis gelesen hat, dem wird dieser Vortrag keine Offenbarung darstellen. Der weißt schon, daß in diesem futuristichen 1949 Roman ein Gerät, das sogenannte Phonophore, das genau wie ein Smartphone funktioniert, als Accessoire jedes Bürger erscheint.

Nachdem der Sprecher Jüngers Vision bestätigt hat, sieht er sich leider dazu gezwungen - vielleicht weil es schliesslich der beliebte böse Ernst Jünger ist - die Lücken in dieser Vision heraus zu erfinden. Davonabgesehen daß jeder Voraussicht von 1948 auf 2010 natürlich nicht gänzlich von kleinen Fehlern geschont bleiben kann, bin ich überzeugt, daß Jüngers Vision einer zentralistischen Monopolisierung und Hierachie des Phonephore Netz, in kurzem das Internet, nicht falsch ist. Die Behauptung, es sei frei, demokratisch und dezentraliziert ist reine Naivität, Ignoranz der Machtgefüge und Konditionierung Mechanismen unserer heutigen Welt. Das Phonophore von Heliopolis bleibt eine bestechende Zeugnis der Einsicht Jüngers in unsere Technik.

(Siehe auch http://www.ernst-juenger.org/2011/02/iphone4-or-iphonophore.html)

Anyone who has read Heliopolis, Jünger´s first futuristic novel, should not be surprised by the title of this blog and the embedded lecture. These readers already know that an apparatus with almost identical functions to today's smart phones appeared in this novel way back in 1949.

A pity that the speaker, after so convincingly explaining the remarkable parallels between the phonophore and smart phone/internet, seems to feel obliged to discover some flaws in Jünger's vision - but then the speaker is after all German and the visionary is Ernst Jünger, their own beloved national scapegoat.

But ignoring for the moment that any vision of 2010 from 1949 is bound to contain some inaccuracies, I still do not agree that there is an essential difference between today´s reality and Jünger´s view of media in Heliopolis. That is, that a central monopolisation and hierarchy of address and response functions does implicitly exist in the phonophore network or internet, as it is called in our world.

Those who believe in the opposite, in real decentralization, freedom and democracy of the internet, live in ignorance of the underlying power structures of this world and their powerful social conditioning instruments. As with any tool, it is the chosen use which determines its value to man, not any intrinsic property of it. And of all its potential uses, the internet has become above all a principal vector of social conditioning in our world. And that is always hierarchical.

Which is not to say that the internet, like the phonophore network and the Luminar of Eumeswil, cannot be leveraged by individuals by their own genuine advantage. It all depends on the user, not the tool. Only an individual - and never a society - can ever hope to be free and "unruled from above" - that is to say literally, an an-arch.

4 comments:

beowulf1723 said...

One of the first things by Juenger that I translated into English was the scene in Heliopolis where Lucius explains the phonophore to Budar. The description is pretty spooky, after the fact.

Richard said...

That somewhat matches with another entry in EJ's diaries:

"Any progress of the media, in telephone messages for instance, does not take roots in technology alone. Its nature is magic at the same time.
The Primitives already possess this knowledge which then falls into oblivion, until a boundary has been reached, where technology in toto steps onto a magic level. This point should be reached in the next century, the titanic one; hopefully as an intermediate transition."

Simon Friedrich said...

Yes, one day I want to write a blog entry on how Ernst Jünger also invented the internet and WWW, with extracts from Heliopolis, Glass Bees and above all Eumeswil.

An underestimated visionary for sure. A pity, because certain books contain much that could have prognostic value for humanity, ie Glass Bees with respect to the direction of technology.

albina N muro said...

Wer schon Heliopolis gelesen hat, dem wird dieser Vortrag keine Offenbarung darstellen. Der weißt schon, daß in diesem futuristichen Roman aus 1949 ein Gerät, das sogenannte Phonophore, das genau wie ein Smartphone funktioniert, als Accessoire jedes Bürger erscheint. iphone