• The Technological Society

  • By: Jacques Ellul
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 21 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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The Technological Society

By: Jacques Ellul
Narrated by: Arthur Morey
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Publisher's Summary

As insightful and wise today as it was when originally published in France in 1954, Jacques Ellul’s The Technological Society has become a classic in its field, laying the groundwork for all other studies of technology and society that have followed.

Ellul offers a penetrating analysis of our technological civilization, showing how technology - which began innocuously enough as a servant of humankind - threatens to overthrow humanity itself in its ongoing creation of an environment that meets its own ends. No conversation about the dangers of technology and its unavoidable effects on society can begin without a careful listening of this book.

©1964 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (P)2021 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Technological Society

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    5 out of 5 stars

A singular work.

In La Technique ou l'Enjeu du siècle, Ellul does what he seems to do so spontaneously: he upends what we believe to be the fundamental ordering of society. He accomplishes this notable endeavor with such incisive erudition that the book—in paper or audio form—is dizzying. The contemporary reader likely feels he cannot disagree with the man, despite being in a way indicted, and moreover they do not want to disagree for this interesting but mostly obscure French professor names a phenomena we all “know” so well. In naming it we begin to have an iota of mastery over it, although that too may be a delusion. The reader likewise will sense that all isn’t as it is purported to be, and that something must be done. But what? Here Ellul holds his cards close, for his perspective and teleological frame is at once apocalyptic and hopeful. The current beneath the prose he so eloquently constructs is one that acknowledges some fundamental human war between a desire for true freedom and a desire that is much harder to define but is nonetheless destructive to our souls, minds and bodies. Yet this current is not nihilism, but an anarchic thrust towards a hope that is so real it demolishes the phony “reality” that seeks to obscure more than illuminate or redeem. Ellul is a strange companion on this journey of discovery, admittedly, but for me he’s indispensable. I’ve read other works by him, some I’ve enjoyed more, but this is a singular work of proportions that it would be hard to be hyperbolic about. What would one compare this book to? Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind has been positive not because they are truly akin, but because they are both phenomenological explorations of staggering magnitude. But that too might be a reach. Ultimately I don’t know despite having read many, many books that theoretically are in a similar vein. To me, a similar book has not been written. A grand, almost indefensible take, to be sure. But I think anyone who reads the book will at least consider agreeing with such a statement. So! Give it a try. Prepare to consider what you’ve perhaps never been able to quite name in “the supreme luxury of the society of technical necessity” that merely grants each of us “useless revolts” and “an acquiescent smile.”

3 people found this helpful

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The Machine

A great translation and reading. Welcome my friend to the machine, it's alright we know where you've been

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You will eat the bugs....

And you will own nothing and be happy.... this is the way be happy everybody.

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A Clear Understanding.

One of the most important books you will ever read in regards to the current predicament of man.

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sine qua non

amazing insight into our present issues. a very profound look at the new gods

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So that’s where Ted learned that

The narrator is good. The book is boring. It could be 80% shorter. I’m not sure why I bothered to finish it.

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A valuable work, well executed.

An incredibly worthwhile book from an insightful and thoughtful author. The narrator is just perfect.

Note to the publisher: There are smalls errors:

"...but this development was no more intense than it had been under the Roman Empire." is repeated at 2:39:06
(Chapter 1: Techniques, Section: Historical Development, Sub-section: Christianity and Technique).

13:49:28 - (Chapter 4: Technique and the State, Repercussions on the State, Technique and Constitution) "the means of exerting 'pleasure' " should be "exerting pressure". I double-checked that one with my English copy.

I know this is a newly released work, so I'm more than happy to share more feedback if I'm given a place to share it. Thanks.

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I should listen to this every month

A maddening dive into the myth of technique. It's power to subvert nature into means.

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  • 03-03-21

A Classic Read Well

Narrator was excellent, also easy to understand at a faster rate if you, like me, like to listen to audiobooks at an accelerated speed. As for the content, this book is a classic for a reason. I find the last two chapters the most interesting, so if you have trouble getting into the book, know that those chapters may be worth your efforts.