Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Thoughts on the system - 2

There’s no way to describe the system, the organism. Its vocabulary is grossly underwhelming. The following rough thoughts are an attempt to outline the unoutlineable:

  • Presently this might be benign to the public, but unconsciously the masses learn that humans operate the government, the machine is not on autopilot. We can see the slip as the NSA debate oscillates between a hatred of the institution and the reminder that its employees are human civil servants. This humanises the agency and makes it weaker.
  • A machine or an idea is more powerful than a human. Google is a machine. Facebook is a machine. How does popular culture display those companies? Almost exclusively as desirable, adventurous, fun places where “smart” (re: good) people hang out. They do not connect the machine to the fallible humans with desires, teleology and power drive. The server farms are always hidden, but the big red slide in Google's foyer is centre stage and the smiling people happily tapping away at the glowing blue screen - the result - is the default assumption for all conversation about the internet.
  • Who would you rather do the job of collecting and storing your digital information? Google or the NSA? Careful now, notice the form of the question. It assumes that you will be comfortable  sending your private information via the internet. The question is only which arm of the (emerging) state you’d rather offer responsibility to store it.
  • Responsibility is synonymous with power. To be responsible for something is to control the consequences of what happens to it, which is implicit control over the object in question. At no point does the question ask whether a person should supply personal information over the internet. This is assumed, which means we are in the presence of a state apparatus. The narrative suggests that no one wants to return to sending paper letters or pigeons. This dominant assumption is now being taught to children at school.
  • Soon, as with the inability to differentiate between dreams and reality, we may not be able to differentiate between the internet and reality. A tool like Google Glass may be the beginning of “data-filled” reality. Think about what Google will/can do with data. Think about how much someone would know about you if all your movements and thoughts were translated in 1s and 0s and stored by a corporation convincing you it exists to benefit people's lives. Think about how much control such a corporation and its human owners would achieve. If everything is captured, nothing is remembered. This is the consequence of digital technology on the human mind. But it is the purpose of digital technology in the emerging market state structure. Corporations will know more about than you know about you.
  • As a tool to achieve the inevitable, Western-model goal to eat the earth under a single system, part of the game is to ensure everyone owns and uses an internet-capable device. When people suggest we “unplug,” understand that the default to them is “plugged.” To a disturbing extent, we all bought this propaganda for the emerging market state system without thinking.
  • If Google breaks down for a moment, the game is not over. But it may be exposed for those who watch. Its competitors will rush in to rip it apart. Another “Google” would appear. I am not so worried about Google or Facebook, I am more worried by who buys them. Think of Google and Facebook as preparing the battlefield, setting the conditions for victory. The goal of any inheritor of the Western system (remember, this is not a defeat of the system) is to achieve psychological capture over the previous ruler's subjects. Google, et al are creating or evolving a fresh set of default assumptions about the system. The next generation of these corporations will inherit not just the technology and data, but the perfectly moulded psychology of the masses.
  • We have made our internet-selves identical - and of more importance - to our real-selves. To have Google or Facebook fail for a day would be as if our lives were to end. The only working definition of death is of a person no longer sensed by other people. Hermits and “missing” people are essentially dead from the perspective of everyone else.
  • In a world of fully digitally simulated reality, the loss of our internet-selves would be identical to the death of our real-selves - as far as the system is concerned. It will be as if we didn’t exist and never existed. This is part of the psychological capture necessary for the digital component of the emerging market state system. The threat of disconnection will be considered as horrific a penalty as physical death, because from the perspective of everyone else still connected (plugged) the consequences will be identical.
  • We have been conditioned to believe we need to use the internet. “Being wired” is assumed to be automatically good without question.
  • Society has been moving/progressing in a (politically) leftward direction for centuries, but the trend line appears essentially infinite. If a “new” idea matches society’s direction as a more liberal or egalitarian thrust, then the media as an arm of the system will trumpet the idea or cause. This does not transmogrify the idea into truth, it only indicates that it is in line with the status quo or can be used to benefit the system. The first sign an idea will be subsumed is the arrival of a TV crew or journalist. If activists are campaigning for change by using a medium they do not own, then the campaign belongs to the media and will be used in any way the media wants. Media will always build or twist the story in the direction of the status quo, as a maintenance of the political/sociological system. Ideas/causes/activism no longer exist if it is in the media.
  • What people don’t realise about the privacy debate is that while they waste time arguing over the invasion of their lives by the NSA, Google could make all your conversations private right now if it was worth it to them. But it makes too much money encouraging conversations to be public. And if they ever do offer greater privacy, consider how more information will be shared and stored by Google. The battle over who controls public information - a key power in any societal system since the 17th century - is between intelligence agencies and the digital corporations. Which side is winning? Well, people heard about the dastardly NSA on the internet, in this place the agency is almost uniformly framed as the "bad guy."
  • The privacy debate in the media is a “talking point,” or raising “awareness.” How much actual, real, physical change resulted from this awareness? None, the system was strengthened. Privacy activists still use computers and surf the internet. We must understand that the system wants us only as a battery believing towards a conclusion - which we feel we make on your own - that staying on the internet is the best move. The status quo is retained, the message blinks, so avoid tinkering unless you’ve got a better idea for us to make money.
  • In my city, they spent millions of dollars putting barriers on bridges so suicidal people can't jump off. It doesn't seem to occur to anyone how this teaches people that the government is making the world so safe that it's impossible to kill yourself on purpose, let alone by accident. Therefore it's perfectly alright to do absolutely insane things because If It Could Hurt Then We Wouldn't Be Able To Do It. Whatever you want, go ahead, it's cool! Drive fast, drink, smoke, fuck strangers without a condom, vote Trump. You can't hurt yourself or anyone by any action you take. If you could, it would be against the law.

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