Zeitgeist Trends: February 11, 2021
Today's Aquarian New Moon and the arrival of Adam Curtis' Can't Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World
I DISCOVERED DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER Adam Curtis a couple of years ago when my friend, the writer John Calendo, forwarded me a link to Curtis’ 2011 film All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace with a small footnote: “This is really weird, so you’ll like it.”
On the surface (not a good place to go for a description of Curtis’ work) this looked to be a documentary about how computers and people have come to co-exist. But no. The film was a striking salvo that cracked open the notion of how computers have colonized the world by playing off of humankind’s inability to tolerate uncertainty and the unknown. Computers promise systems and control—people like control.
There’s a classic scene in Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001 that’s always good for a chill. The one where HAL, the monocratic computer that oversees an entire spacecraft is being disassembled by the astronaut Dave Bowman. As Dave strips power away from the processor, you can hear HAL begging: “Stop. Don’t do that Dave. I can feel myself f…