Technology Copies Itself Through Us


What I find unrelentingly entertaining about the technologically-mediated collective and aspirationally-individuated self-definitions of our historical moment is not that we (all, and each in our own ways) seek to create and sustain these distributed and functionally differential or dissociative Others of self-representation that we endlessly cultivate.

What is more interesting is that we rarely notice, much as with the fictional Keyser Söze’s ontological twist of proving self-existence by doubly-negative narrative exception, that it is not ourselves who persist and culturally or cognitively self-replicate through this technology anywhere near so much as it is this technology that persists and self-replicates and propagates through the transmission medium of ourselves. Technology is not hitching an existential ride any less than we are.

Questions might be asked of who (or what) is actually piloting this vessel and in discovering that there is in fact no central authority or control, that is that this is an autonomous and blindly self-propagating referential space, the reflexive self-definitions of selfies and blogs acquire their own inadvertently mischievous double-negativity of ontological emptiness.

3 replies on “Technology Copies Itself Through Us”

This is a recurrent theme in your posts, that the patterns, algorithms, technologies, etc that we create use us to replicate and propagate themselves, such that it finally occurred to me that perhaps we are both “the medium and the message” (a reference to Marshall McLuhan and This ties together with my comment on another post of yours ( that perhaps we are both the wave and the particle.

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A recurring theme in reality, Mike. I am merely thinking it through to the logical conclusions that are there to be drawn by anyone with sufficient patience and perspicacity.

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Great post! I think the paradigm you describe is even apparent from an evolutionary perspective–our facilities for technological innovation and consequent thrift as a species have progressed in tandem (and continue to do so). An example of this is the ongoing question of whether our linguistic capabilities preceded cognitive complexity or vice versa. It seems as though–in the same way that technology evolves itself through our “needs”–the relationship between language and cognition is both prescriptive and descriptive. We are not the sole symptoms of progress in any aspect, but rather an entity whose vital existence parallels that of our “creations”. Very interesting to think about; thanks for sharing this!

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