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Apple’s ‘Crushing’ Of The Good And Beautiful Is Step One In Demanding Our Compliance

arts and humanities being crush by giant machine
Image CreditApple/Youtube

Those who insist on progress decoupled from human mediation destroy all that is good, true, and beautiful.

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I recently was back in the basement of my parents’ home, digging through old yearbooks and photo albums. My brother nagged me to find the old stereo with the turntable and vinyl records. In an age of modernity, it seems we can’t help but long for the things that have been indeed “crushed,” as recently illustrated by Apple’s new iPad ad.

Last week, Apple faced so much backlash to its new commercial bragging about the destruction of humanity, that the company quickly apologized and admitted it “missed the mark.” Particularly for those of us who are old enough to remember all of the musical, gaming, and artistic icons crushed by the huge hunk of metal’s descent to generate the “thinnest iPad ever,” the ad justified every fear we have of technology overtaking our lives. It also goes to show how out of touch the technocratic elites are with not only the experience of everyday Americans but humanity.

British actor Hugh Grant said it best in his caustic criticism of the ad: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

Many of us long for the days when we had more contact with the material world and a reality that forced us to interact with the tangible. We turned pages of books and magazines. We made our own brownies and cookies, even if they were from a box or tube. Despite more convenient packaging, many still made food from scratch. We ran or biked out on roads rather than in place with digitized scenery and climatized rooms. We felt a stronger connection to the environment around us and our interplay in it.

While technology makes life more convenient, it doesn’t alter the fundamental reality of human nature. To thrive, humans need connection with the physical world, including other humans. We see the devastating effects technology has had on physical and mental health, particularly in younger children during the years when establishing healthy relationships and habits is crucial for proper development, maturity, and happiness.

The Effects of a Disembodied Culture

When we disengage from the reality of the world around us, with all its challenges and obstacles, we become fragmented and disembodied. The mind disconnects from the biological signals the body uses to communicate with us, losing our ability to discern truth at the deepest level. The very idea of truth becomes malleable, as evident in the oft-used phrase among the left, “my truth.” In this state, humans are highly susceptible to groupthink and even the most egregious of lies.

This kind of schism can be highly destabilizing, its effects evident in everything from the protests rampant on college campuses to transgender confusion to babies being torn from their mothers at the moment of birth to be placed on a stranger’s hairy chest. Chaos seems to be the order of the day. Younger people in particular seem to have no understanding of the reality of conflict or war and the complex calculus that needs to be done when making moral judgments about competing cultural traditions. 

Yet the ruling-class elites insist this is the new way and that any rebellion against it is some form of phobia, a literal fear of another religion, sex, or culture.

Those of us who wish to preserve human nature and a teleological perspective on the world are not afraid of anything. We simply wish to protect the goodness, beauty, and truth of God’s creation and man’s ability to express that through art, music, and creativity. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” We should care for nothing more than the thing that connects us to God — our souls.

Those who insist on progress decoupled from human mediation destroy all that is good, true, and beautiful not only in the world but also in ourselves. They believe they can erase the sin of man in pursuit of a perfect utopia because they mistake themselves for the one who already did that. History tells us what happens to men such as these. Because of that, we should have hope even amidst the destructive consequences of their false idolatry.

How to Live a Life of Quiet Disobedience

While the ruling class insists on our compliance, those of us who still believe in a soul and the ability of man to express its highest good must not only continue to express our discontent in the public square but also ensure our everyday choices and actions are aligned with our beliefs. We must, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn prescribes, “live not by lies.”

“Even the most timid can take this least demanding step toward spiritual independence,” scholars Edward Ericson and Daniel Mahoney write in their Solzhenitsyn Reader. “If many march together on this path of passive resistance, the whole inhuman system will totter and collapse.”

As I filed through memorabilia in my parents’ basement, I realized that relics of the past — a turntable, a mixing bowl and whisk, a lawnmower, even my own two feet — can be used for small acts of “passive resistance” to reengage with the reality of life around us. They are the small but not insignificant tools of defiance against those who believe they can fashion the world in their image rather than the One who created us and make us less resistant against their tyrannical power. Or, we can simply not buy another iPad, no matter how thin it is.


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