For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Ethics, Automation, and the Ear Capitalism, Technology, and the Suspension of Animation in Ernst Junger's The Glass Bees"

by Kochhar-Lindgren, Gray (1998)


On the occasion of his 100th birthday, Ernst Junger briefly commented on the century in which he has lived. Concerning the year of his birth, 1895, Junger recalled the Dreyfus affair in France and Roentgen's discovery of X-rays, which "finally made the invisible visible and made possible new measurements of the organic and the inorganic world." This is where we today exist: on the line between the two domains, the organic and its other, as the ontological lines that demarcate values shift into new and unpredictable alignments. Ours is the time of cybernetics, when machines wait on the threshold of thought and human beings are treated as components of the machine-world which can be cast aside when they are no longer needed. In such a period, what of ethics? Can there be an ear that listens to the call of conscience if the ear is severed from a body, itself artificial, and the system of the automaton governs the possibility of the knowledge of the invisible world, the distinction between the right and the wrong, and the image of what it means to be a human being?


Junger, Technology, Animation, Cybernetics, Machination


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