In the last post, I talked about using a bank machine in a foreign country as an example of cooperation among strangers. Transactions like that happen a billion times a day, and all this activity seems to take place without anyone controlling it. To me, that’s a modern miracle. To people who believe somebody needs to be in charge, it’s a nightmare. “But what if … ? What if … ?” they say.
Back in 1980, I picked up a book that I have read five times over the past 30 years, called The Technological System by Jacques Ellul. In it, Professor Ellul describes how technology is a profoundly self-generating process in human affairs that impacts every aspect of daily life. By “technology,” he does not just mean machines and mechanical devices, but also systems of thinking, learning, and organizing. If you just compare your life today, from a technological standpoint, with what surrounded you 20 years ago, your own experience will support Jacques Ellul’s thesis.