November 18, 2008

Between Two Ages : America’s Role in the Technetronic Era by Zbigniew Brzezinski


I finished reading Between Two Ages : America’s Role in the Technetronic Era by Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is the same guy that wrote the other book I read called The Grand Chessboard : American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. The librarian got me this book cause she said it’s cool.

He starts it off with something that is nice:

For Ian [Brzezinski], Mark [Brzezinski], and Mika [Brzezinski] [1]

But The Grand Chessboard one was cooler:

For my students—to help them shape tomorrow’s world [2]

I didn’t know what “technetronic” meant before I started reading the book, but he says what it means in the book. Here is what “technetronic” means:

The post-industrial society is becoming a “technetronic” society: a society that is shaped culturally, psychologically, socially, and economically by the impact of technology and electronics—particularly in the area of computers and communications. [3]

Some cool stuff he talks about is:

Charles R. DeCarlo, in “Computer Technology” (Toward the Year 2018, New York, 1968, p. 102), describes the use of “holography” to create the sensation of living presence—as well as the actuality of conversations—by long-range laser beams from a satellite. [4]

The librarian said that Orson Welles did H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds on the radio. People thought that aliens were attacking when it was just a joke. It only frightened some people though.

So you could use the satellites to make it look like aliens are attacking to freak out a lot of people, and you don’t tell them it’s just a joke so it’ll be kind of funny.

Some other cool stuff:

Knowledge becomes a tool of power and the effective mobilization of talent an important way to acquire power. [5]

. . . the government has sponsored the transfer of many technological innovations from defense to private industry. [6]

As Earth Emperor you want to be far ahead of everyone else in technology. So you get the best talent, cause that is important for having power, and they’ll search for stuff that hasn’t been done before. You let government, businesses and schools have the lower quality talent cause they’ll just research what your high quality talent already searched for.

And you can tell people that what they are getting is the latest technology, but you had it a long time ago. You could have something and when it’s old, and you don’t want it anymore but you want the public to have it, you could then put it in science fiction so all the geeks would really want it. Then a couple years after that you make it expensive when you first bring it out so that only the rich and famous people can afford it, which makes the non-geeks want it. Then a few years after that you drop the price so everyone who can afford it can get it.

Many people will believe that your old stuff is “cutting edge” cause Karl Marx and Brzezinski says:

Writing almost a century ago, [Karl] Marx observed that . . .”. . . The daily press and the telegraph, which in a moment spread inventions over the whole earth, fabricate more myths (and the bourgeois cattle believe and enlarge upon them) in one day than could have formerly been done in a century.” When to the press and telegraph is added the contemporary global role of radio and television, and to religion are added contemporary ideologies, Marx’s observations become even more pertinent. [7]

I looked up what “bourgeois cattle” meant and it means a lot of people.


n., pl. bourgeois 1. A person belonging to the middle class. 2. A person whose attitudes and behavior are marked by conformity to the standards and conventions of the middle class. 3. In Marxist theory, a member of the property-owning class; a capitalist. [8]


Humans, especially when viewed contemptuously or as a mob. [9]

This book is from 1970. A second printing with a copyright of 1970. I forgot to say that earlier.

This book talks a lot about the Internet:

. . . the United States has been most active in the promotion of a global communications system by means of satellites, and it is pioneering the development of a world-wide information grid. It is expected that such a grid will come into being by about 1975. For the first time in history the cumulative knowledge of mankind will be made accessible on a global scale—and it will be almost instantaneously available in response to demand. [10]

It talks about weather:

. . . techniques of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged periods of drought or storm, thereby weakening a nation’s capacity and forcing it to accept the demands of the competitor” (Gordon J. F. MacDonald, “Space,” in Toward the Years 2018, p. 34). [11]

So like in the other book I read, The First Global Revolution, where they talk about making up man-made global warming, you could use these weather modification techniques to make weird weather out of nowhere and say, “That’s man-made global warming.” and people will believe it’s man-made global warming. So that’s cool.

In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. . . . The real enemy, then, is humanity itself. [12]

And then Brzezinski talks about:

. . . man has always sought to crystallize some organizing principle that would, by creating order out of chaos, relate him to the universe and help define his place in it. [13]

Being Earth Emperor means being Earth Emperor in the Universe. So creating order out of chaos is part of it, and you can do it with what Brzezinski talks about here:

Julian Huxley was perhaps guilty of only slight exaggeration when he warned that “overcrowding in animals leads to distorted neurotic and downright pathological behavior. We can be sure that the same is true in principle of people. City life today is definitely leading to mass mental disease, to growing vandalism and possible eruptions of mass violence.” [14]

G. N. Carstairs, in “Why is Man Aggressive?” (Impact of Science on Society, April-June 1968, p. 90), argues that population growth, crowding, and social oppression all contribute to irrational and intensified aggression. Experiments on rats seem to bear this out; observation of human behavior in large cities seems to warrant a similar conclusion. . . . [15]

So you can create chaos in large cities by just making taxes higher for the places outside the large cities. Increasing smaller city taxes will force the people from the smaller cities into the large cities, cause it’ll be too expensive to live in the smaller cities.

You can also increase immigration, cause immigrants aren’t going to go to a small city, cause they probably won’t find a job. They’ll go to the large cities where they have a better chance at finding a job.

So increasing taxes for rural areas and having more immigration will help create chaos, and you can create order out of that chaos.

Brzezinski talks about human control:

Speaking of a future at most only decades away, an experimenter in intelligence control asserted, “I foresee a time when we shall have the means and therefore, inevitably, the temptation to manipulate the behavior and intellectual functioning of all the people through environmental and biochemical manipulation of the brain.” [16]

Then he talks about how hard it is to make judgments on stuff when you are around violence:

A society’s capacity for making such judgments [, discriminating between the necessity for order and the imperative of change,] is bound to be undermined by the degree to which it becomes psychologically inured to living with violence and to accepting violence as a means for solving its problems. [17]

. . . contemporary America is psychologically permeated by violence. [18]

Something else Brzezinski talks about:

Persisting social crisis, the emergence of a charismatic personality, and the exploitation of mass media to obtain public confidence would be the steppingstones in the piecemeal transformation of the United States into a highly controlled society. [19]

I guess Zbigniew Brzezinski likes Marxism:

. . . Marxism represents a further vital and creative stage in the maturing of man’s universal vision. [20]

I was going to say other stuff, but I was very hungry. So here is the other stuff I was going to say:

A certain measure of crime is accepted as unavoidable; for the sake of order, therefore, organized crime is generally preferred to anarchic violence, thus indirectly and informally becoming an extension of order. [21]

The projected world information grid, for which Japan, Western Europe, and the United States are most suited, could create the basis for a common educational program, for the adoption of common academic standards, for the organized pooling of information, and for a more rational division of labor in research and development. Computers at M.I.T. have already been regularly “conversing” with Latin American universities, and there is no technical obstacle to permanent information linkage between, for example, the universities of New York, Moscow, Tokyo, Mexico City, and Milan. Such scientific-informational linkage would be easier to set up than joint educational programs and would encourage an international educational system by providing an additional stimulus to an international division of academic labor, uniform academic standards, and a cross-national pooling of academic resources. [22]

Given developments in modern communications, it is only a matter of time before students at Columbia University and, say, the University of Teheran will be watching the same lecturer simultaneously. [23]

It is ironic to recall that in 1878 Friedrich Engels, commenting on the Franco-Prussian War, proclaimed that “weapons used have reached such a stage of perfection that further progress which would have any revolutionizing influence is no longer possible.” Not only have new weapons been developed but some of the basic concepts of geography and strategy have been fundamentally altered; space and weather control have replaced Suez or Gibraltar as key elements of strategy. [24]

In addition to improved rocketry, multi-missiles, and more powerful and more accurate bombs, future developments may well include automated or manned space warships, deep-sea installations, chemical and biological weapons, death rays, and still other forms of warfare–even the weather may be tampered with. [25]

In addition, it may be possible—and tempting—to exploit for strategic-political purposes the fruits of research on the brain and on human behavior. Gordon J. F. MacDonald, a geophysicist specializing in problems of warfare, has written that accurately timed, artificially excited electronic strokes “could lead to a pattern of oscillations that produce relatively high power levels over certain regions of the earth. . . . In this way, one could develop a system that would seriously impair the brain performance of very large populations in selected regions over an extended period. . . . No matter how deeply disturbing the thought of using the environment to manipulate behavior for national advantages to some, the technology permitting such use will very probably develop within the next few decades. [26]

Historical judgments aside, it is noteworthy that modern man is still educated in terms that promote aggressive feelings. In the West, films and television emphasize violence, and the teaching of history stresses wars, victories, defeats, and conflict between “good” and “bad” nations. These aggressive instincts are also expressed by children’s games as well as by adult forms of entertainment. In communist countries ideology similarly stimulates aggressive feelings and hostility toward “evil” forces, thus continuing the more fundamental dichotomies introduced by the religious tradition. [27]

The traditionally democratic American society could, because of its fascination with technical efficiency, become an extremely controlled society, and its humane and individualistic qualities would thereby be lost. (Such a society is the subject of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Player Piano.) [28]

Daniel Kemp


1. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages : America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (New York : Viking Press, c1970), v

2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard : American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York : BasicBooks, c1997), v

3. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages : America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (New York : Viking Press, c1970), 9

4. Ibid., 15

5. Ibid., 12

6. Ibid., 262

7. Ibid., 76

8. “bourgeois.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 4th ed. 2006.

9. “cattle.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 4th ed. 2006.

10. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages : America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (New York : Viking Press, c1970), 32

11. Ibid., 57

12. Alexander King & Bertrand Schneider, The first global revolution : a report / by the Council of the Club of Rome (New York : Pantheon Books, c1991), 115

13. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages : America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (New York : Viking Press, c1970), 65

14. Ibid., 17

15. Ibid., 17

16. Ibid., 15

17. Ibid., 212

18. Ibid., 213

19. Ibid., 253

20. Ibid., 72

21. Ibid., 6

22. Ibid., 299

23. Ibid., 31

24. Ibid., 56

25. Ibid., 57

26. Ibid., 57

27. Ibid., 214

28. Ibid., 253

Put in Books
  • Isabella

    That was a great review Daniel. P.S. I think you are cute.

  • Daniel Kemp

    @Isabella: Thank you Isabella.

  • michele

    great & timely….

  • Marc Daimler

    I thought your video was pretty cool. I wondered where I could get a free copy of Between Two Ages and the Global Revolution ? I’ve seen some copies of Between Two Ages that didnt have the full 334 pages, and the book in paper form is difficult to find. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

  • Daniel Kemp

    @Marc Daimler: I don’t know where to get a free copy. You can try checking the libraries near you.

  • Kyodo

    Excellent info!! You have my vote – also if my ticket comes up on the lotto I promise to donate at least a % to your campaign — :-)

    Long live the emperor.

  • Jeannon Kralj

    Excellent compilation of quotes from “Between Two Ages.” I was searching for quotes about weather modification and your site provided just what I needed.

    Between Two Ages can be read free online at

    This online copy only shows 123 pages and the hard copy you reference apparently has many more pages. I do not know if Scribt just distills the text and does not adhere to paper book’s pagination. is a pretty good place to find inexpensive copies of out of print books, but the least expensive copy I could find there today was about $155.

    Thanks again for great coverage in text. I am off to read your link about “The First Global Revolution.”