Service or Servitude?

Concept image of the six most common questions and answers on a signpost.


We have been discussing the novel, Open Sky, by Paul Virilio and the questions it raises about life, technology, and our society. When I began to read this novel, I felt like the photo above. There are so many questions that are pointed in different directions that I do not see how I can get any answers. As the author states,

Service or Servitude, that is the question. The old public services are in danger of being replace by a domestic enslavement whose crowning glory would surely be home automation.”- pg 21

In Part 1 and Part 2 of the book, Virilio is caught between the idea that our world is expanding in our concepts for technology, but we are shrinking in our own independence. We are starting to see objects as two-dimensional since our brains and eyes are becoming trained to see that. I felt like I was reading an extremely complicated script writing for the movie The Matrix.


In the same format that the Matrix is about breaking the barriers of a Utopia and that the technology is not all what it seems to be. Virilio talks about the breaking down of the public and the private and how we don’t have to be physically present to be in contact. He is talking about the Death of the Journey and the ideal that we are able to receive immediate gratification for something that we did not work for. We can experience the world from our own living room, so why would we leave it? I feel as though Virilio is a tad too pessimistic for my taste and I came about feeling scared about the future of the world. He may be right on many accounts, but his paranoia over shines his data.