In his article for the Operation Werewolf War Journal entitled “Yes, This Is Happening,” Craig Williams talks about the modern tendency to spend vast amounts of our valuable time staring into the screens of our computers and smartphones, often to the detriment of the genuine personal relationships which would be a better investment.
“One of the most common traits of modern times is the obsession with virtual “reality.” It’s not uncommon to see individuals grouped together ignoring one another, gazing into their phones or laptops in a somnambulistic state blindly ignoring their surroundings, or one can even see individuals walking or driving while gazing into their phones in literal technological possession. What is it about the modern mindset which seems obsessed with worshipping the Techno-God and ignoring vital human interaction? Humans are literally willing to risk losing their lives as well as take the lives of others in order to gaze into a screen of virtual “reality.” Is it any wonder that the harsh often brutal truths of life are feared, hidden or ignored?”
That phrase, “the Techno-God,” struck me as being a perfectly succinct description of our relationship to modern technology.
The modern culture has replaced conventional religion with a new religion in which people worship technology and the convenience it provides above all else. Modern humans will spend an hour or more texting or scrolling through stupid videos on the latest social media platform, but they often won’t walk or drive twenty minutes down the road to meet another person face to face. People eagerly await the newest edition of the iPhone, knowing full well that it’s the same as the last edition with just a couple of extra features, most of which the average user won’t need. Young, vital people in life’s prime gorge ourselves on box-sets and Netflix marathons, watching TV shows on their asses getting fat and stupid while their youth passes by.
When I walk through any city or large town, I often see gangs of young people with their heads hung low and their necks distorted into unnatural positions as they stare empty-eyed into the screens of their smartphones. When a new release of Call of Duty comes out, people wait up all night to get into stores early to buy it. Then they lock themselves away in their houses and pretend to be some kind of badass by diving into virtual reality. A false reality, which detracts from their participation in actual reality.
The funny thing is; this is the new norm. What I’ve described is now so commonplace that even when I read it back to myself I’m reminded of times where I’ve been sucked into the wasting rituals of techno-worship. The Cult of the Computer is now so prevalent that it transcends culture, nationality, race, religion, and age. You can walk through New York on a busy Saturday afternoon or stroll through some shithole village in a supposedly impoverished Third World nation, and somebody there will be Instagramming. Old, young, brown, white, Jew, Gentile.
Everyone is caught on The Web.
And that’s the perfect way to describe it, a web. Like any web, the internet traps its prey, while some spindly predator waits in the shadows for a feast. The internet, like any Web, is a tool. It connects, but it also binds. When you underestimate its power, it binds you to itself and refuses to set you free. It is so addictive that even a brief exposure can be enough to get you hooked.
I’m not old, but I remember when nobody my own age had access to the internet. I think I was twenty years old when I bought my first smartphone, and I, like everyone else, was amazed at its power. Suddenly the collective knowledge of the entire human race was available to me through this tiny window that I could carry in my pocket. At twenty, I wielded a power that would have struck scholars of ages past dumbfounded with awe. In the few years between then and now, I’ve definitely noticed an increasing dependency on technology in my thinking and my life.
And I don’t like it.
Smartphone Addiction sounds absurd when you say the words. What normal human being would possibly allow themself to become dependent on the dim blue light of a computer screen, right? But as absurd as it may sound, smartphone addiction is a real problem, and it’s a problem that probably affects almost all of us. That seemingly innocent but slightly reassuring blue light from the screen of your phone, a window into the unlimited realms of knowledge available online, holds more power over your subconscious than you might realize.
On a very basic level, we find the blue and white light of the screen to be immediately satisfying because it resembles a clear sky. Prolonged exposure to the blue light of a smartphone screen fools your brain into releasing the same hormones that it releases on a beautiful clear day. The kind of day that we can no longer truly appreciate because we’re too busy Instagramming about it.
I’m acutely aware of the issues that can arise from the overuse of technology, but even I sometimes find myself being sucked into the destructive cycle. This is how compelling it can be; that you fall for it even though you know it’s a problem. I often find myself wasting time doing pointless or procrastinating tasks online when I should be doing something better. An example of such might go something like this:
I’ve got an email. Better respond to it.
Done, one more task completed.
Better check my Facebook for any updates.
A comment on my latest article, better respond.
Done, another task completed.
Better check my Instagram while I’m at it.
Nothing new there. Better get back to work.
Wait, have I got enough cash on hand for that thing this weekend?
Better check my bank balance.
Done, no problems with money.
Ok, back to work.
Wait, just got a
killer idea for a new article.
Better make a note of it.
Ok, I wrote six pages. I really should get back to work.
Wait, I’ve got another email…
It’s a strange feeling when you catch yourself being drawn towards a shiny piece of elaborately constructed metal and plastic. Whatever the psychological explanation might be, these trinkets of the Techno-God have the power to hook their tendrils into the soft pink matter of our brains and draw our attention away from what it should be focused on.
Who is this “Techno-God” that undeniably wields such power over us?
If you’ve read my work before, you will know that I like to deal in archetypes. It’s a word that recurs throughout a lot of my writing. I personify an important concept in the form of a well-constructed mythopoetic metaphor, then use that personification to illustrate some valuable point. When no readily formed archetype exists to serve as a symbol of that important idea, I create an archetype that fits my needs by welding together relevant symbols that have served my people well for centuries. This process creates cultural and psychological consonance. As such, the Techno-God that Craig Williams and Paul Waggener have referred to in their writing has both a name and a character in my mind, and that character is based on the Irish legend of Mogh Roth.
Mogh Roth was a powerful one-eyed (some say blind) druidic figure in Irish myth who could command some pretty impressive powers. His name is roughly translated as meaning “Wheel Slave” or “Slave of the Wheel.”
He was allegedly trained in the arts of magic by none other than Simon Magus, a rival of Saint Peter himself. From Simon, he learned many mysteries which allowed him to manipulate lesser men as he saw fit. He possessed many technological marvels that would amaze even a modern engineer, such as a Flying Chariot called Roath Ràmach, an ox-driven chariot that emitted its own light in darkness, and an indestructible shield that was star-speckled black with a shining silver rim. Almost like an iPhone in appearance. With the help of his daughter Tlachtga, he also developed some artifacts that killed anyone who touched them, blinded anyone who saw them, and deafened anyone who heard them.
We’re told some impressive stories that solidify Mogh Roth’s status as someone better left alone rather than provoked. During The Battle of Druim Dàmhgaire, also known as The Siege of Knocklong, he causes a dried-up river to burst its banks and overflow. He summons venomous serpents and eels to bind the limbs of his enemies, breaking their arms and biting their heads. He separates his foes’ spirits from their bodies. He materializes howling dogs to distract or slay the opposing druids. He coughs up a turbulent black cloud that covers the battlefield to blind and confuse the warriors. Finally, he turns the enemy’s druids to stone. The king of the invading army, none other than Cormac Mac Art himself, is forced to surrender in the face of Mogh Roth’s overwhelming power.
“Tellers of tales shall relate
The woes of those whom it strikes.
Their proud valor
It shall shatter on rocks.
Prostrate, it shall prostrate them.
In bonds, it will bind them.
The bonds that it binds with
Like a honeysuckle-twined tree.
Their assaults shall be stayed.
Their deeds shall all fail.
Their bodies shall be fodder for wolves
At the great ford of slaughter.
Even children will be able to take
Without combat, without conflict,
Their trophies and their heads.”
– From “The Siege of Knocklong.”
You might say, “Yeah, it’s a good story, but what’s it got to do with technology and techno-gods?”
Mogh Roth is the personification of advanced knowledge and power. He’s a druid, a worker of magic, which means he understands forces that amaze and confound lesser men. If we examine his characteristics, we quickly realize that the powers he commands are similar in nature to the power that technology holds over us today. He causes dried-up rivers to overflow and burst their banks. He summons venomous serpents and eels to bind the limbs of his enemies, breaking their arms and biting their heads. He materializes howling dogs to distract or slay the opposing druids. He coughs up a turbulent black cloud that covers the battlefield to blind and confuse the Warriors. He turns the enemy druids to stone and separates their spirits from their bodies.
Access to the internet, especially the omnipresence of technology through mobile smartphones, has flooded us with more information than our tiny ape-brains can handle. Where once education was reserved only for the elite and information was jealously guarded, it now washes over us in constant waves to the point that we are stupefied by it. Our awe in the face of what technology offers us often causes us to sink into degenerative cycles of indolence and inactivity. We scan and consume information in a state of trance, completely removed from our environment.
Much like the serpents (totems of dangerous knowledge in almost every tradition) that bind and break the limbs of Mogh Roth’s enemies, Social Media and Google and online gaming have distracted us to the point that many people exist now as though they had no control of their bodies. Techno-worship leads to inactivity, and inactivity makes us fat, weak, and lazy to the point that our limbs are metaphorically bound by serpentine bonds of indolence.
Another hot topic in any discussion about The Web these days is Cyber-Bullying. The younger generations have become so crippled by the wasting influence of the internet that they are emotionally and psychologically damaged by the words of total strangers that they’ve never met in person. Like the howling dogs of Mogh Roth, strangers from out of the void now have a voice and the means to direct their whiny opinions at us. Many men who should know better now find themselves baited into emotionally charged arguments in online forums about trivial bullshit that serves only to distract and weaken them by wasting their energy, mental capital, and time.
After prolonged exposure to the draining effect of the so-called “Dark Side” of the internet, we may find our senses dulled and our psyche darkened, as though Mogh Roth’s black cloud has descended on us to blind and confuse us into a constant state of nothingness until eventually, we are little more than stone-men at the mercy of techno-wizards.
It’s clear that our love of and dependency on the Techno-God’s trinkets have caused us to swell our minds with unimportant information, but also to ignore the demands of our bodies so that we exist now as over-informed docile infants. Mogh Roth’s magic has affected us so entirely that we are now, like he is, Slaves of the Wheel. How could we ever go back to a lifestyle without the omnipresence of technological convenience?
Many of us walk around almost every day of our lives with a smartphone in our pocket or a bag or somewhere within arm’s reach, and we often find ourselves drawn towards these artifacts even when there’s no need. When you think about it, the smartphone is a magical object. It allows you access to potentially unlimited sources of information and potentially unlimited sources of entertainment. But the downside of this magical object is that it also offers you potentially unlimited sources of distraction. Because we are subconsciously prone to distraction, we find ourselves drawn towards the smartphone very often.
You might find yourself checking Facebook on your phone every few minutes or every hour, or your emails or Instagram or whatever. But every moment that you spend staring into that screen is a moment that you have not invested in living an authentic life. Suppose we assume that the key to living the most complete life possible is to be conscious and present in the moment while working towards some noble and fulfilling goal. In that case, every moment you spend distracted by your phone or computer is a bane to your existence and draws you away from pursuing the tasks you should pursue, those things which will create real value.
If you find yourself checking your phone every few minutes or every hour, limit the time you invest in social media or email or looking up random bullshit. Limit the amount of time you invest into these distractions, and do not use your phone outside of those hours except for some critical task like looking up essential information. Curtail the amount of time you spend staring into that hollow blue light that emerges from your phone and spend more time enjoying your life, developing genuine relationships with real people in the real world, people that you can actually meet. If you’re not making money on social media, there are few good reasons to be on there at all.
Pursue your goals, whatever they may be, with rabid unyielding dynamism, and invest your limited time into living an authentic human existence rather than a convenient but false cyber existence.
Technology, like Magic, exists as a useful but dangerous tool. If you keep your focus and avoid falling prey to its negative aspects, technology will revolutionize your work process and help you get to where you really want to be.
But to truly make use of its power, we must first shield ourselves against its harmful magic.
The Siege of Knocklong, translated by Séan Ó Dúinn – https://celt.ucc.ie/published/T301044.html
If you found this article interesting, consider checking out my book “Unchaining The Titan” for many more essays which also analyze old myths and make them relevant to modern life.