This is a little article about Ernst Jünger’s concept of The Worker.
In Greek mythology, the Titans descended from primordial deities (Mother Earth and Father Sky) and preceded the twelve Olympians (like Zeus or Poseidon).
The Worker is a “Type”, like the Warrior, the Scholar or the Priest. Men work with their bare hands, then with tools, then with machines.
With the help of steam, then electricity, these engines became more and more powerful.
The first consequence of this “progress” is that men are losing contact with the work itself :
- The baker orders tons of flour and prepares his dough with huge machines.
- The soldier is in a room, drone-killing men thousand miles away.
- The sailor is a cargo pilot with computers.
No more sails to use to feel the wind. No more spear and shield to fight an enemy eye-to-eye. No bread to knead any more…
The second consequence of this progress is, as the machines become more and more powerful, men become more and more powerful, with almost God’s powers. Atomic bombs look like Zeus’ fury. Emailing a book in Japan takes one second. We use rockets to go to space, we fly in huge planes. It’s… titanesque! Titanic or Herculean, right? These words…
The conclusion is in the RMS Titanic boat. Almost 900 feet long, so big and powerful that it was said unsinkable, right?
Jünger says that the Titanic disaster (1600 casualties) is an archetypal warning. The name of the ship, the arrogance of men, the power given by technology, the cut from “reality” and nature, is like a symbol of what happens to men who want to be Titans.
Thanks for reading!