Saturday, August 8, 2009

The idolatry of efficiency

Every few months my wife and I get together with several other couples for a discussion group where we discuss how Christianity relates to various issues. Topics we have covered include: caring for aging parents, money, parenting teenagers, private schools, politics, capitalism, ....
This week we will be looking at technology. In preparation, I recalled that Jacques Ellul had done significant work in this area. The Wikipedia entry on Ellul is fascinating (it is interesting that he was strongly influenced by Barth). There also a significant archive of his publications here. The one page piece on modern idolatry is particularly worth reading.

My understanding is that Ellul was a critic of not just technology but the de-humanizing effects of "la technique", a concern with maximising efficiency:
Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that sounds like a great group you have there! What a joy. Sadly here (in the U.S.) there are certain topics we (my husband and I) dare not broach in Christian circles lest we unleash ugly behavior. Politics is first on the list, followed by science, education of children and women, and then by women's roles in the church and in society at large.