Discourses on technology are capable of generating far more delusional metaphors than the field of science. These metaphors have fostered the creation of identity groupings, “communities of jouissance”, which make the fetishization of technology into the foundation of a mystical preaching.

Part of the explanation is that technologies reach much more extended spheres of human life (and those closer to imaginary identifications) than those with which science is concerned. Regardless of their indisputable importance, scientific discoveries do not achieve the same public impact as do the technologies. Science is a more restricted territory, with rigorous protocols and methods that require innumerable trials, while technologies, because of their more empirical nature and their capacity to become an exponential source of economic performance, have an infinitely greater public repercussion.

But it is likely that the fact that the movements that idolize “Technology” emerge in the wake of the decomposition and fading of the traditional narrative categories also plays a part. Thus, trans-humanism and its implausible varieties and trends have as a common principle the idea of a Technological Advent that will give birth to a new era in which we will be liberated from the restrictions and weaknesses of the human condition.

In this regard, the conviction of Peter Sloterdijk[1] is particularly important. In view of the failure of enlightened humanism in its conception of man, he proposes the use of modern biotechnology to the end of improving the moral conditions of human beings. It is surprising that someone like Sloterdijk advocates the idea that technological intervention in the upgrade[2] of humanity could allow the conquest of the civilizing ideals that were promised by enlightened reason and whose failure has been fully demonstrated.

Faced with the profound postmodern existential helplessness, a flood of utopianisms propose to use technologies and their metaphors to promote a belief in the possibility that the sexual relation will finally manage to be written. The most perfect example, in that sense, is the delusional conviction of post-genderism, which advocates the eradication of gender through genetic manipulation and the replacement of natural reproduction by exclusively artificial methods. What better way to make the sexual relation exist than to promote its absolute elimination?

It is worth mentioning here Dale Carrico’s brilliant remark: “Technology is not intrinsically liberatory – it is not intrinsically anything. Techniques and artefacts become liberatory only when they are adopted by people who organize themselves to ensure emancipatory results. The same gender reassignment techniques that empower an informed transsexual person who has consented, can serve to catastrophically coerce an intersex child.”[3]

To this we must add that the emancipatory results are difficult to ensure, and the history of libertarian experiments throws up with unpleasant frequency a balance quite different from the principles that set them in motion. Sloterdijk’s mistake, like that of other thinkers, is to believe that the failure of the Enlightenment ideals can be solved by means of “patches” that would resolve the “failures” of the condition of the speaking being. Using the resources of nanotechnology and genetic engineering, a better connected brain could eradicate Thanatical tendencies, aggressiveness, and all those behaviors that lead us away from the Good.

Psychoanalysis is in this respect much less naive. Without ignoring the need to intervene in the field of jouissance, it does not propose to heal the wound of the subject’s division, but on the contrary to demonstrate its incurability, giving the analysand the opportunity to find a less idiotic symptom with which to confront their existence.


Translated by Florencia F.C. Shanahan


[1] See Peter Sloterdijk, You Must Change Your Life, Polity, 2013.

[2] [TN] In English in the original.

[3] Cf. for instance https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/dale-carrico-responds-to-cory-doctorow-technology-is-not-a-force-for-either-liberation-or-oppression/2012/05/09