Heaven’s One Hundred : Technological Worshipers

Ellis’s graphic novel Global Frequency portrays an organization designed to oversee and handle crisis on a global scale. This crisis involves crisis in and of itself. This crisis is one of Kermode’s own definition. That is “a tendency to conceive the end as happening at any moment.” It is not a coincidence then that Ellis’s Global Frequency places readers in the middest. A form choice used by Ellis that provides the readers a global and frequent sense of the end. Accompanied by episodic storytelling, this narrative decision produces what Kermode describes as immanence over imminence.

One such crisis involves the members of the Heaven’s One Hundred focused on in issue four of Global Frequency. Unlike other issues however, the antagonists created expresses a concrete cause that the reader is able to discern. The Heaven’s One Hundred are martyrs to a specific movement, one whose foundations are all contained on the internet. For them, the immanence of the end can be defined by browsing to their webpage. Although it is a lax approach at analyzing subjects, Ellis seems to make clear that technology is as immanent as the end. He does this by merging the two topics into one hundred crazed fictional martyrs. Worshipers of an apocalypse in an almost Revelations Biblical sense whose lifestyle revolves around the internet. During Aleph’s conversation with the Hundred’s leader, she insults their cause, calling them “…geeks who live on the web and think that everyone reads it, just like you.” Their technological worship also expands to their weapon of choice: remote controlled bombs that are disguised as functioning based off of a heart rate monitor. The way that the Hundred bring about their apocalypse is shrouded by technology. However, advanced technology is not necessarily just a weapon used to  bring about an apocalyptic situation. On the other hand lies Global Frequency with their use of advanced technology as a way to prevent apocalypse at the hands of the Hundred. In terms of this scene, Aleph uses DoS attacks to shut off the Hundred’s communication with others and to pressure their leader to surrender. Although Ellis could be making a relation between technology and crisis, it is not in a direct sense, that is, it should not be taken as a cause and effect. The point I think Ellis is trying to make is that technology, much like a sense of the end, is immanent. It exhibits an almost divine presence in modern day society. So much so, that some even worship the ideal of technology.

Ellis’s use of the martyrs as technologically dependent also touches on Heidegger’s explanation of enframing and “standing reserve”. I want to focus on a specific moment in Aleph’s conversation with “the first among equals”. After her proclamation of her DoS attack, she states “No one can access it [the Hundred’s webpage]. No one can read your demands. No one knows you’re there.” For these worshipers, modern technology is a tool that they are able to control. However, on this path of enframing, the Hundred arrive at a stage where they too become a “standing reserve”. They believe that they are the ones who have control over technology and human existence. However, as “standing reserve”, their group is awaiting the “reveal” or “arrival”. What if perhaps, Aleph is causa efficiens, the one who brings forth their essence; to be “a bunch of mental web designers who killed themselves for nothing”. More than text, I believe the framing of each panel is interesting within this conversation. Her reveal that “no one knows you’re there” seems to impart a definite emotional change within the Hundred’s leader as seen through the close up on his eyes. The next panel then portrays Aleph almost looking down upon him with its focus on a downward facial direction. She is imparting judgement upon him, revealing to their group the essence of Heaven’s One Hundred. Ellis could be making a point that modern day worship of technology places us into a position where humanity believes it has control over its advanced technology. So much so that this pride will cause humanity to be delusional, to think that we will only encounter other human kind who believe the same. And at the end, will blind us to what could happen, the true reveal.

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2 Responses to Heaven’s One Hundred : Technological Worshipers

  1. newtonscradle7 says:

    I think it is important to highlight your last few sentences of your post that humanity believes it has control over its advanced technology, but this idea makes us delusional. It makes me wonder how this chapter would have been written if it was written more recently. It seems like every month there is a new report of a company being hacked or someone hacking a government, groups that are able to steal information and making us vulnerable. There has become a sense of having the knowledge to control technology and control others, but also, some people are naïve to think that because we have control over technology, everything will be okay. I believe we have hit that delusional state you mentioned because there are too many people who do not know the true power of technology, and in this context, the power of hacking. Aleph is able to isolate the group, but perhaps in this day in age, someone could isolate global frequency. I would be interested in Ellis’s thoughts about the growth in technology from when he wrote Global Frequency and now.

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    • danwillisdan says:

      Absolutely. One of the Heaven’s One Hundred’s main follies is their conflation of technology’s introduction and implementation. They think that just because a piece of technology is fascinating, useful, and newly available, that it has influence. Just because the internet is a powerful platform for their message, doesn’t mean it will make their message wide-reaching. Just because they have control over it, doesn’t mean they can use it to do useful work.

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