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Re: <nettime> Agamben: No to Bio-Political Tattooing
Morlock Elloi on Fri, 23 Jan 2004 08:16:55 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Agamben: No to Bio-Political Tattooing

> But a part of me is also wondering if this isn't always the case; if the 
> notion that political sovereignty functions through a permanent state of 
> exception/emergency is simply a constitutive part of the way that 'the body 
> politic' has been formulated since Plato (I was thinking of Plato's 
> description of democracy as indigestion/disease in the Republic).


The prevailing explanators fail to recognise this and thus are in constant
state of righteous indignation and bewilderment, as if things were right and
then, somehow, 2, 5 or 10 years ago they went wrong. Essentially they buy into
propaganda that the state is there for their benefit and then, when reality
refuses to follow, argue with that.

What is happening is that lately technology became really functional in
general. Technology as it is is mostly controlled by powers to be -
concentration of capital, resources and expertise make it nearly impossible for
any smaller group or individual to actually develop it - they can only use or
subvert what is given to them (and it's becoming harder to do the latter -
witness the migration to DRM-ed PCs that will never really belong to the

So most of these bitchings and theoretical discourses are in essence acts of
ludditism. Professional bullshitters - philosophers et al. - still think that
expressing thoughts through writings and speeches has some effect. In fact,
they assume to live in early 20th century when bandwidth ownership was not
nearly as absolute as today and when texts and ideas of individuals had some
chance to be competitive in the brainwashing landscape.

They are trying to use prehistoric tools for social engineering. Today you can
say anything. Total freedom of irrelevant speech.

The scales have been pushed far in the favour of the state, and it's only
natural that it will capitalise on that. That's the business of the state. It
always has been. To push back this scale one needs adequate instruments - and I
feel that if you're looking into non-tech solutions you are wasting your time.

Take the "tattooing" as an example. The indignated euro that refused to travel
to US of A because of fingerprinting never had those feelings about passports,
did he ? So what is the actual difference ? Passport is old technology. First
they didn't have photos at all - just description. Then they started to have
photographs, numbers, pointers to other databases. State always used what it
could to brand subjects. Just requiring a passport should be the prime cause
for indignation ... one has to have a marked paper to cross an arbitrary line
on the ground because ... ? But our euro intellectual is cool with that. His
parents and grandparents had passports, so he's used to it.

He should better learn to neutralise Gattaca.

Or, if you want to be luddite have some style. Own the bandwidth to your
targets. Stop e-mailing and start writing letters. Hand deliver. Travel by foot
and by night.

(of original message)

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