Citation:Christodoulou, Marina. “Technopolis as the Technologised Kingdom of God. Fun as Technology, Technology as Religion in the 21st Century. God sive Fun.” Cahiers d'études germaniques N° 74, 2018. La religion au XXIe siècle - Perpectives et enjeux de la discussion autour d'une société post-séculière. Études reunites par Sébastian Hüsch et Max Marcuzzi, 119-132.
Neil Postman starts his book Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (1993)1 with a quote from Paul Goodman’s New Reformation: “Whether or not it draws on new scientific research, technology is a branch of moral philosophy, not of science.” (Postman 1993: motto; Goodman 2010: 40). I would extend Postman’s Technopoly to Technopolis, to give it more of a presence in time and space. Hence, I will use the term Technopoly when I am referring to Postman; the term Technopolis is my own.
In his book From Faith to Fun: The Secularisation of Humour, Russel Heddendorf argues that humour is a technology (Heddendorf 2009: 32-34), as it is understood and theorized by Neil Postman in Technopoly. Russel Heddendorf also argues that “Technopoly” is a term correlated with Wittgenstein’s use of the term “worldview” (Weltanschauung) (Heddendorf 2009: 11).
I would like to draw on these thoughts to propose that Technopoly (or Technopolis) could be the secularized Kingdom of God, namely that Technology is the Religion of the 21st century, and that Fun is a paradigm of such a Technology / Technique. God is yet another technique or Technology of and in Technopoly.
The godless individual in the 21st century, I will argue, is as much a believer as the faithful in the Sacred Religion (term used in opposition to Secular or rather Technological or Technologized Religion, which is Fun). He believes in Fun (as a post-modern form of pleasure), as much as the believer believes, or more accurately, believed in God. In the 21st century, the faithful in Sacred Religion believes in a fun God, as opposed to the serious God of the past. Fun is turning into the Technologized Religion for all; for the faithful in Godly / Sacred Religion, as well for as the unfaithful. Fun (pleasure, humour) is the definitive qualia of 21st century pleasure. The mechanics of Fun make it absolutely functional for controlling people; as Aldous Huxley wrote in Brave New World, people “are controlled by inflicting pleasure” (cited in Heddendorf 2009: 158). Now, indulging in pleasure is having Fun. In the 21st century, nobody is unfaithful, nobody disputes God, because God has been manufactured into Fun. We are living in the most religious century of all.
The commodity of God, now inextricably blended into work and leisure ethics and culture, is as unavoidable as survival. You don’t work, you don’t survive, you don’t exist. You work, you are entitled to leisure, or free time – the time (“busy-time”) when you are busy is work. The free time of leisure (“fun-time”) is a time for fun (pleasure). The time dedicated to Fun is culturally (capitalistically) pre-defined; no moment is actually free, each moment that is sold as free is to be bought with Work Time tokens –which is money. Believe is Enjoy. Happiness, achieved through pleasure, and pleasure through Fun, and Life as Play, is the recipe for Teleology in the 21st century.
The Technological God (Fun), as the Sacred God before him, is sovereignty’s technique or a social “mode of release”: demonstrations, marches, petitions, freedom of speech, citizen and human rights vindications, are “modes of release”, so that the next day, feeling relieved and released that you are working for a better life and a better world, you can wake up cheerfully to walk to your workplace, feeling it will change because of your marching, or your petition, or your speech, or the mass you attended, or the prayer you said yesterday. Thus life continues unchanging, through postponing hope; the tension of the tragedy is always released (lysis) in catharsis: refreshment for the next day of work. Art, especially cinema, (namely, simulated life) follows the same cathartic principles as real life. Thus, you can keep coping, and hoping in the meantime is of much help. Religion, Art, Science, Therapy, and Technology are all technologies used to market life, sell it or lend it, and humans are buying it back. Fun is free to produce, and expensive to buy.