Big Road Blues (A Look At Humanity’s Alienation through Industrialization)

With the advent of the automobile, civilization changed greatly and at great speed. Henry Ford, the first to use the assembly line technique to build his Model T cars, also created (unbeknownst to him at the time) the precursor to scientific management and the alienation of Man from his humanity. When skill and mastery were removed from work and delineated along an assembly to many people (who need not have the skill) performing the same task repetitively over many days, months, years, Man became divorced from his own sense of accomplishment, efficacy, and benefit from the fruits of his own labor. His being was reduced to numbers and algorithms, he became quantified and thus his trajectory towards a life of drudgery and misery. Rather than the life of leisure at first thought promised to civilized Man, his life became one of automation and robotification. Empty and emotionless.

This music video is an attempt to illustrate that story.

Credits (all clips are public domain or used with permission through CC license)–
“Big Road Blues” by Tommy Johnson from Internet Archive
“American Road 2” from Prelinger Archives
“Wheels of Progress (circa 1927)” produced by U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, Department of Agriculture, Educational Film Service from Prelinger Archives
“Black Girl” by livedtap
Stock Footage filmed by NIKOtheOrb
Edited by NIKOtheOrb

Other music videos.


4 thoughts on “Big Road Blues (A Look At Humanity’s Alienation through Industrialization)

  1. Great footage, and loved the music! I also like the point you are making. I’ve been studying violence in the Congo, and I would add that without rubber from that region of the world, there couldn’t have been a car revolution. About 10 million people died in the process, from brutal treatment, disease, and malnutrition that stemmed from colonization of the area, largely in the quest for rubber.

    • Ah, yes, I should have mentioned that. You are correct; I was aware that the Congo had been decimated for its rubber and that many had suffered and died to provide for the automobile (does this process still not continue today?) revolution. This, unfortunately, happens in many places in the world to usher in some kind of civilized revolution. From farmlands to families to entire cultures.

      And thank you for both the compliment and the information. It needs to be said and shown what horrors occur at places in order to provide for an “easier” way of living.

  2. I think the greater the progress in technology the greater the alienation people have from nature, self and each other. I feel this alienation began when writing was invented and metal tools started to be used.

    • I once visited a buddhist temple with some buddhist friends long ago and the discussion centered on the beginning of the psychosis within Man in civilization was the invention of writing things down, thus Man lost his ability to be one with his thoughts and empathize with other humans because writing things down allowed reality to be changed or altered, thereby leading to deception, openness and distrust.

      I agree with you, to a certain degree, about the progress of technology causing alienation within humanity. Yes, it does, to a point. However, should technology be used as a means (like a fountain pen or a pan or a faucet), alienation needn’t be the result. Once technology is understood as a tool, humans will begin to relearn and reemerge as humans, as themselves. And in some ways technology is already erasing alienation. Through the internet, people who may have once thought themselves to be alone and alienated from the human race, can find like-minded others with whom they can share their thoughts, thus eradicating the feeling of alienation. I don’t think technology is the evil, only that an evil, a sickness, a dis-ease exists in Man as a result of a industrialization and technology used to supplant human skill, mastery, efficacy, and merit. Once this is repaired, alienation may end.

Let's Talk. . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s