2) Anthropocene. Electracy dates from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, in the later eighteenth century, which is to say that one of its identifying features is the Anthropocene (the epoch in which human activity began to modify the world environment). James Watt’s steam engine (1775), The French Revolution (1789), and Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment (1790), are three threshold events introducing electracy. Literacy began in Classical Greece with the Presocratics experience of Nature (Phusis) as Being in itself, arising or upsurging out of itself, not caused by gods (hence shifting metaphysics out of orality into literacy, out of religion into science as accounting for reality). Electracy is responsible for inventing a new metaphysics through encountering Second Phusis (artefactual reality). In orality the cause of the destruction of the world was imagined to be God. Literacy gave humanity itself the power to destroy the world. A rationale for seeking an alternative to spiritual and materialist consulting is that both established apparati threaten world destruction. Electracy offers a third way, an alternative (without guarantee, since it is possible the propensity of any apparatus is toward catastrophe). Climate Change stands in for all hyperobjects created by and exceeding control of civilization, with posthuman consequences (in which human survival and thriving are not considered).
—General Accident. The apparatus of science (including literate schooling, individual selfhood and the democratic nation state) has reached a condition of failure, in the sense of heart failure in which the organs are consumed by their own energy. Paul Virilio testified through his Museum of Accidents (and many books) to the impasse created by digital speed, light-speed technologies creating real-time conditions collapsing all dimensions into Now, overwhelming the practices of critical thinking. Hopes for engineering solutions through technological progress are delusions, Virilio observes, since every invention includes its own accident: the invention of the car includes the car wreck. Virilio warns of the General Accident, that happens everywhere simultaneously, with disasters such as Chernobyl nuclear meltdown representing harbingers. Perhaps the Internet Accident has happened already, with the pollution of the public sphere by fake news, contributing significantly to the erosion of democracy everywhere it exists. Virilio most fears a Knowledge Accident, related to human intervention in the genome, genetic inventions.
—Apparatus Incommensurability. A further factor motivating invention of alternative learning is the opposition to science (evidence-based thinking), the fundamental incommensurability that exists among apparati. History could be read as a violent quarrel between religion and science (from the execution of Socrates for corrupting the youth to the assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai). The corporation is the core institution formation of electracy, which has its own reasons for opposing science. It is a sign of the times that the administration of Donald Trump is enacting policies hostile to science, including climate change “skepticism” as rationale for extensive deregulation of commercial activity. The motivation for much of this science denial appears to be the adverse impact on profits and business models that follows from acknowledging human responsibility for climate change.