July 1, 1963. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA. America is in the midst of the Cold War. The masculine fire and fury of World War II has given way to a period of cooling and the new digital war of information. Two Titans prepare to enter into battle for the dominion of Gaia, to claim their perfect sky from the Moon and reign down missiles onto the Earth. The Cold War’s primary theater is the Space Race, and the Soviets become the first to master the skies with Sputnik in 1957 and Luna 2 in 1959. America is getting nervous.
Modernity can be thought of as a process of atomization, arguably initiated by the Protestant Reformation. Today, atomization is something that almost everyone protests (on the left and right), but protest itself is an atomization dynamic, automatically reproducing the mold of Protestant schismatics. In our sincerely felt repulsion to atomization, we instantiate a distance between ourselves and this supposedly external alienating phenomenon, the cause of which is imputed to something or someone else, somewhere else. This helps to explain other puzzling phenomena such as “community-building” political activists the attitudes and behaviors of whom are maximally inhospitable to most people everywhere. No matter how hard such groups sincerely want and try to connect with “the masses,” they continue to repulse the masses more and more, because their interest in building a commons is predicated on opposition to the only, last thing that humans today generally have in common: atomization.