War is never anything less than accelerated technological change.


Now that man has extended his central nervous system by electric technology, the field of battle has shifted to mental image-making-and-breaking, both in war and in business. Until the electric age, higher education had been a privilege and a luxury for the leisured classes; today it has become a necessity for production and survival. Now, when information itself is the main traffic, the need for advanced knowledge presses on the spirits of the most routine-ridden minds.

Up to the point just short of electrification, increase of speed produces division of function, and of social classes, and of knowledge.

At electric speed, however, all that is reversed. Implosion and contraction then replace mechanical explosion and expansion. If the Handlin formula is extended to power, it becomes: “As power grew, and as outlying areas became accessible to power, it was localized in distinctive delegated jobs and functions.” This formula is a principle of acceleration at all levels of human organization. It concerns especially those extensions of our physical bodies that appear in wheel and road and paper messages.

Now that we have extended not just our physical organs but the nervous system, itself, in electric technology, the principle of specialism and division as a factor of speed no longer applies. When information moves at the speed of signals in the central nervous system, man is confronted with the obsolescence of all earlier forms of acceleration, such as road and rail. What emerges is a total field of inclusive awareness. The old patterns of psychic and social adjustment become irrelevant.