Bringing magic to the machine
Ross desires a Weltanschauung in which the machine is infused with metaphysical properties.
In his fear of a “decline of the West”, Colin Ross repeatedly called on his audiences to recognize the decreased potency of their Weltanschauung and to make space for a new one that would allow the West to retain its position of global hegemony. Because he believes that this new world view will have to arise organically out of the population as a whole, and out of the world as they know it; and because it is technology that currently allows the West to hold power over other world regions, Ross envisions the new world view as one in which technology features centrally. He warns that this development cannot be taken for granted: “It is entirely feasible”, he argues, “for a mentality and mindset to arise in which all of our technological crowning achievements become useless, worthless, maybe even damaging, or even just meaningless, which in itself would already signal a technological downturn”, and with it a loss of Europe’s global advantage. In order to secure technology’s place in the new Weltanschauung, Ross argues that it must be lifted out of the realm of the merely material, and into the metaphysical realm of “magic” (which, elsewhere, he calls the “irrational” and which he here defines as “that which science can not measure”):
“The world is as man wills it to be. Objects are not absolute in and of themselves, but are as man perceives them. Machines can accordingly be indifferent, uninteresting objects, or uncanny demons and spirits, but, in the generator hall of a great power station, filled with quiet, deep whirring, one can also sense the beating wing of an eternal god just as sacredly as in a Gothic cathedral. Whether the magical transfiguration of the machine, its metamorphosis to myth, takes a religious path in line with one of the revealed religions or some other spiritual path is of no consequence to the theory.”
The only thing that matters is that the new Weltanschauung infuse the machine with “magic”.
Colin Ross. Die neue Hypothese als Konsequenz der technischen statt der magischen Seeleneinstellung. In: Die Welt auf der Waage. Der Querschnitt von 20 Jahren Weltreise. 29. Aufl. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus; 1937; 85-92.