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Ellul and Nietzsche: The Efficiency Paradox

We have all somewhat crossed paths with the infamous and quite controversial quote that Nietzsche goes on to eloquently reverberate that goes somewhere along the lines of: “God is dead and he remains dead and we have killed him”. For years and years this quote has been interpreted in numerous ways in hopes of getting closer to the true meaning of what it earnestly entails. A consensus has somewhat been reached that the overarching theme of this truncated version is that the world has come a long way since the scientific revolution, and that science has paved the way for, arguably, life changing inventions. But we have to stop and ask ourselves, at what cost does the 'life changing' journey come with?

We as citizens of the world have somewhat joined in, implicitly, on a mission that maneuvers us closer to the 'truth' by using the means of science and technology while elbowing out all other options that aren’t efficient, so to speak. Every agent we embark upon holds the same mantra that is essentially one across the board. Think about it, what is the goal of education houses? To somewhat dissect concepts and ideas efficiently, to an adjacently definite answer, with little to no wiggle room. Same goes for occupations, where doing things efficiently and effectively are praised, while any other way is condemned. We are so infatuated by finding the fasted and most efficient means of achieving a goal, that along they way, we end up loosing ourselves, our freedom, and our autonomy.

Ellul feeds into this idea of infatuation and takes it one step further by saying that we as institutions are obsessed with measuring things whilst quantitatively assessing ever nook and cranny. With that being said, because we are so in over our heads in regards to potent ideologies like technology, speed, and innovation, we end up utterly neglecting the fact that the most meaningful and sublime aspects in life cannot be measured. Using quantitative means to ascertain fragile and intrinsic aspects like feelings, emotions, and happiness, which are are human characteristics, would be unjust and quite misleading. With this ill mindset, one will verbatim use the same method of eradicate widgets from a factory to dealing with people in a society. Because after all, quantitative methods prevail and are one across the board for all problems, negligent of their very nature. And alas, people and widgets become congruent on the same wavelength and essentially, become one.

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