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Jacques Ellul
A prolific writer, Ellul was a French philosopher/sociologist who focused on modern technlogies

Some Quotations

No social, human, or spiritual fact is so important, as the fact of technique in the modern world.
-Jacques Ellul, 1954

There are moments when history is flexible, and that is when we must put ourselves inside to move the works. But when the atomic bomb is dropped, it is no longer the moment to attach a parachute to it. It's all over. I don't believe in a permanent determinism, in the ineorable course of nature. Fate operates when people give up; when the structures of and the relationships between groups, special interests, coalitions, and ideologies are not yet rigid; when new facts appear that change the rules of the game; then at these moments we can make decisions that direct history, but very quickly everything becomes rigid and mechanical, and then nothing more can be done. One of my greatest disappointments is the extreme incapacity of Christians to intervene when situations are fluid and their habit of passionately taking sides when it is too late for anything but fate to operate. They are pushing the wheel of a vehicle that is already rolling downhill by itself.
p. 106-7, In Season Out Of Season.

Of course I do not intend to write an historical history. There are enough histories, many of them well written, in which the problem of the city's creation and development are treated for every part of the world. The Aztec city, the polis, the urbs, and the medieval free town have retained few of their secrets. But beside and under this superficial history there is a true history. There is Jesus Christ, who, in the approximate words of Karl Barth, makes history, because he is history. To state this brilliant but delphic formula more explicitly, there are forces running through history that form its substratum - the horsemen of Revelation - and which because of Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ are in permanent action as the explanation and the reality of history. These forces are the very form of his action.
The Meaning of the City Select Quotes from Jacques Ellul.

The greater the sin, the more God's love reveals itself to be far beyond any judgment or evaluation of ours. This grace covers all things. It is thus effectively universal.
- Ellul on Salvation for All.

Web References
  • Jacques Ellul - A good introduction, part of a hypertext book called "Media Determinism in Cyberspace," which is very interesting in itself! One note indicates: "Cyberspace was first coined by William Gibson in his 1984 science fiction novel, Neuromancer, Ace Books: New York. See... http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dgc/determ.html" target="new">Engagement with media: Shaping and being shaped An article for Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine.


  • Computers, Telecommunications and Western Culture - "Personal computers and the individualistic design of international computer networks are founded in Western concepts of democracy, interpersonal communication and freedom."


  • Elements of Modern Consciousness - Closely linked to the idea of progress is the technological imperative: the idea that if something can be done, it should (and inevitably will) be done. This is a key part of what Jacques Ellul outlined as the "automatism of technical choice".
  • The Revolution Will Be Televised - What Guy Debord calls la societe du spectacle1, what Jean Baudrillard calls la societe de consommation2 , what R.H. Tawney calls the acquisitive society3 , what Istvan Meszaros calls "a metabolic system of control"4 , what Arthur Kroker and David Cook call the postmodern scene and excremental culture5 , what Jacques Ellul calls the technological society6, Richard Stivers calls the culture of cynicism. What is it? How did we get here? Stivers offers an important analysis that proposes an answer to these questions.
  • Visions of Sugarplums: - The Future of Technology, Education, and the Schools. (University of Washington)
  • Religious Warfare: Population Control and the Right of Conscience Quotes Ellul on propaganda capacities in a technological society.


  • Techniques in Conflict: Science, Technology, and the Courts in American Public Policy - by Adam Stone.


  • The Future Does Not Compute - Do We Really Want a Global Village?


  • Ethical Implications of the Information Highway - A Preliminary Report for the Centre for Techno-Ethics.


  • City of Bits - MIT.


  • Global communication: a modern myth? - "We shall describe the principal aspects of the dynamics of technological progress as set out in Jacques Ellul's writings, for this dynamics when it is misunderstood or overlooked carries its own myths."


  • INFORMATION AND COMPUTER SCIENCE Beyond the technical questions they raise, changes in computer and information technology also pose several heated cultural and social issues. The futurologists include Daniel Bell, Marshall McLuhan, John Naisbitt, and Alvin Toffler; but the party of the past enlists David Burnham, Jacques Ellul, Lewis Mumford, and Theodore Roszak.


  • The Genesis of History by T.E. Wilder - Contra Mudum.

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Date Added: 6/2/2002 Date Revised: 9/30/2001

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