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Re: <nettime> The New Middle Ages
brian carroll on Sat, 16 Apr 2005 06:24:03 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The New Middle Ages

> i think you point at a crux, this is the ongoing bet and from my point 
> of view it seems like even more disciplining eating away even more 
> personal space, but from the prisoners point of view there is always a 
> finger you can move and if they immobilize that, well you can still 
> click your tongue....althussers 'hey you' is now commodified in the 
> dutch smokingpole [...] it is so strange to me that these two 
> structural lines are so visible, one towards this selfdisciplining, 
> and one towards this selfrealization, as if the default has become the 
> schizophrenic.

i wonder about the choices of perspective available in
observing these issues and effects, as to me it seems
generate something fundamental about a given outcome,
or conclusion. the smoking pole thing made me laugh,
actually, as i was thinking in terms of revolutionaries
and political prisoners and assassinations and such.

about the issue of perspective, i had a great teacher
once who changed my view of perception/observation as a
result of making the case that 'scientific' observation
not only means counting, but also being counted, and in
including this perspective in one's own analyses. that
is, the perceiver is perceived, and thus grounded in
the observation by an outside accounting, to an extent.
therefore, it is not just 'look over there' at event X,
but that the looker at place Y is part of that event X
in perceiving it, e.g. from a place and point of view Z.
and this is where the universal is more readily sensed
about local and particular events, more universal subject.

					X  ---> 	Y


the philosophy it is from is part of the nettime archive:

	'The objective plane is the space of science.  It is, above all, a 
public space, but existentially apart and quite literally Over There.   
When a person can perceive the world in that plane, (s)he has become a  
  scientist.  When a person can perceive him(her)self in that plane, 
(s)he has become self consciously public, perfectly anonymous and truly 
modern;  -- the voyeur and the scientist's dream.

       A state constituted about the objective plane is rationalized 
around anonymity rather than belief.  This defines the dilemma of 

(it would seem to be common sense and yet few arguments
get beyond X, usually by editing out points of Y that
may challenge thinking, and never even accessing Z...
to me it has to do with a question of scale in which
logical approaches can effectively limit possibilities,
which is reflected in assumptions and contingent reason.
there is a paradox of observation, it would seem, that
needs to at least be recognized if not accommodated...)

as such the 'anonymous' point of view (POV) would be able
to be assumed, it could be a smoking pole or executions,
in the same questioning, and both have relevance if it is
in the realm of Z, where interpretations can co-exist...*

it is the basis for the smoking pole, it would seem if it
is to include social behaviorism and pressures, by way of
some Pavlovian dog-training exercise to humiliate smokers
and treat them like dogs, and while this may seem to be
a prison it may be considered also of one's own making,
at a certain point, that the absurdity is more than just
an abstract event, but that it is purposeful to produce
some desired outcome. like, lung disease and controlling
the environment from events and those who produce them,
from another perspective it prisoners make prisoners of
others (non-smokers, etc.). whether or not one smokes,
in either case there seems to be something shared about
the aspect of behavioral manipulation (of a state, say)
and its right to pursue this, for its own good, up to
a point (ethics, law, morality). it may be for its long-
term survival, at one scale, and yet may make some very
miserable and uncomfortable and oppressed at another.
maybe this is okay, though, actually, at some line in
the cosmic sand, in order to change and adapt to change.
such as, smoking kills people and costs enormous sums
of money in lives, lost productivity, and problems. if
the smoking pole is the worst persecution for smokers,
they'd be glad they're not committing crimes in Rome,
where i recently read they'd throw people in sacks with
an angry dog, snake, or ape, and toss them in the sea.
standing by a smoking pole may not be the worst option,
and subsequent fears are more to do with passive killing
neighbors, 'slow motion suicide' of cigarette death-tax.

paranoia, fear, persecution may be real for a smoker,
or trouble-makers, and to what extent is it based on
promotion of fears and issues of security, in certain
contexts, or upon taking risks and then getting burned
because you lose the bet and have to face the situation.
i tend to think it is more likely the latter, and wonder
if it is also a sensibility of certain configurations of
states of mind, that always 'being safe' is prerequisite
to certain activities, that is, they are condoned or even
supported by the state, so are sanctioned and in effect,
safe to pursue, with some societal insurance against any
risk, as guaranteed by the state, e.g., social welfare.
one may not drop to the bottom of society if they fail.

i wonder if this is a difference between the .EU view
and the .US view, as may be reflected in the issue of
massive homelessless in relation to societal structures.
i.e., fear and security versus risk and reward/failure.
my personal sense is that there is something the same
in the experience of 'fear' and issues of 'security' yet
different philosophies about how risk-taking operates
based on different types of cultural configurations.
then again, there is something built-into the .US as
it operates that basically functions as a mechanism for
entrapment- a la the movie Brazil, where a bureaucratic
error may set into motion some bug which sets something
into motion which can basically terrify people daily,
from phone bills to credit cards to taxes to anything,
there is a footnote on any event that could be used as
a leverage to cause serious consequences for any action.
imagine arguing with a telemarketer who files that into
a database used by other institutions, and this type of
citizen dossier floats about for employment, health, etc.
and then one meets the risk-reward bet, and this always
is the hidden hand of the state, useful if manipulating.
the public state, the private state, whoever has access.
or permissions to edit. or become a sales representative.

this situation, scenography, seems more towards a scale
of general fear and security, tying together identities,
travel, background, assessments, histories, employments,
allegiances, and how that all jives with... anything in
a perceivable or conceivable past/present/future universe.

i don't know how real this is to others, though it could
be real to some extent where the fear is justified, and
the threat even acted upon. though how to measure 'risks'
in relation to risking safety of anonymity by going along
with systems as they exist, enough not to cause any blips?
it may not be possible to avoid this demographic entrapment
of data dossiers and extra-legal agendas that may be the
norm for how things function, as is, in technobureaucracy.

at some level (of scale) it goes from being understandable
if absurd to an abstraction inducing fear and insecurities,
where changing the behavior of a smoker by manipulations is
different in kind from that of thinking in a free society,
and legal if uncomfortable actions in some public universe
that uses these same observations to ensure that a person's
actions fall within the realm of the protected risk-taker,
that can be defended against, in the bet.  say with a CAE
defense, which is more serious than a case of risk-taking
that may be more benign, because it is not by default with-
out some risk, and the possibility of failing as a result.
that is the wager, it is not unwarranted to have to deal
with this type of risk if one places themselves in a realm
of risk-- everything cannot be protected, made accessible,
guaranteed, unless it is basically the same argument being
used for security through fear. of changing the way people
do things so that they do not do them anymore. now if the
(see: pavlov, above, as model for 'training' as education).
CAE defense is able to contextualize the 'science' of the
events beyond politics, there is a clear reason for doing
such experiments. except that science today is not outside
or beyond politics (Z place), it is literally 'political
science' as with 'political art' and in that arena, it is
bloodsport and if you're on the wrong side, you will lose,
of course, if that is the scale of affairs- which if it is
about ideas that transcend politics, that go into a more
public realm of representation, it is at least in the Y-
place above, of perceivers and their perceptions, and yet
today this may still be where 'science' is ideologically,
and its electromagnetic ceiling of subjective universals,
though one more jump in scale between this particular and
the next more universal general condition would go beyond
the paradox of individual perception and allow for views
that counter perceivers of the event from all sides, and
still distill the principles which could be shown to be
the universals, sans the limits of the particular people
and politics involved, to protect universal human rights,
if muddy, unclear, though against unusual state cruelty.

this is a problem with theory that is without consequence
for its reality and deference to truth, it is false-risk
with insured results, or was. unless the bet is lost to
another version or view of things or wholly new sense.
language can become the enemy of truth rather easily,
unless it is audited, has real costs, and involves risk.
the tower of babel was a digital network too, apparently.
with all the theory in the world, why is it inexplicable
how there are these horrendous situations with events,
that if understood with logic and reason and purpose,
could not be fairly explained and secure the freedoms
and protections based on some common understanding of
how things are, how they operate, their limits, truth?

i think this is a condition masked by approaches to
ideas (and representatives who continue the sophistry)
that needs to get real, true, actual, and be able to
communicate in shared language that is in a structure
that is not limited by individual perspectives and of
psychological dispositions that otherwise reign in
every media channel and atmosphere, but are not at
all 'critical' in observing or acting in the realms
conjured, as they are largely shared fictions which
offer security through obscurity, and safety from
any critical review of the ideas beyond that of the
view of the observer or observation that is the event.
that is, the drudgery of politics, its own economy.
with monopolies of thought, perception, oligarchs
and tithing systems, and indoctrination: training.
training how to behave, operate, function, succeed,
in some metaphysical interaction within abstraction
that is largely untrue, unreal, distorted, subjective.

one might read this as an indictment against some
individual, it is not. it is an environment of a
way of interacting as individuals and with systems
created by individuals, just as governments, yet it
is this more 'self' government that is also part of
the problem that is stated: risk and reward, fear
and security. there should be more risk allowed
and encouraged, actual risk not feigned attempts
at institutional radicalism but actual losses as
a result, as a goal: that is, in search of more
real realities, more true truths, etc. it may be
the idea but for all the insularity of sectors of
society, it is an inside-job, these issues are not
standing at the walls of an artful-society, a last
bastion in the stand against tyranny. the tyranny
is the institutionalization of an ineffective and
dangerous point of view (paradigm) that needs to
be 'upgraded' because it is eating its own alive;
it is cannibalizing and murdering itself to try
to evolve, instead partly imploding sectors in
which conflicts are too complex to be dealt with
by existing, outdated, insufficient language,
logic, reality, and as a result either systems
change or there's going to be sacrifices until
they are changed. institutions are required to
change for this to happen. does anyone hear of
any calls for institutional change, or are they
largely secure and fearless in their status-quo
normality, and are just going to weather this
cultural anomaly and steam-ship on towards even
bigger and better icebergs? it is not just 'over
there' - it is 'over here' that is under equal
indictment of criminality, fraud, greed, evil.

though is it individuals, people, what 'agency'
is really pursuing dangerous ignorance in a ruse
for power sharing and institutionalized longevity?

if everyone shared the same assumptions, it would
not need to be spelled out though it is frequently
never spelled out, but exists as an assumption that
it does consist only of individuals and groups in
some kind of interaction, survival of the fittest
technocrats and technocratic systems of operation.

the difference being that, outside of the standard
interpretation - political-economy and all that -
lurks a different leviathan that is not just market,
capital, surveillance, bureaucracy, or any number
of other things, but a societal machine that is
composed of individuals yet the basic 'autonomy'
becomes not one of being a human, but of being a
robot, the status quo protecting idealized types.
alphas, betas, a brave new world of Aldous Huxley
which loses agency of humanity in its state of
affairs, and replaces 'human goals' with goals
of a 'machine state' that, through training or
brute force, melds the world in its own utopic
image, as it is self-designed. the bureaucrat,
even citizen, can become closer in proximity to
this state through interactions on a daily level
and this vast abstract enigma does not even exist
as there are so many other churches to attend to,
if christian, if new media, if modern, if web.
over there, not here, if it is distant then the
mirage and simulations can do their scenographic
work on the physiology, making believe, truman-
show stageset of the daily life as lived, anon-
ymously, autonomously, yet fully jacked-in and
making the larger organism function, run, work,
adapt, adopt, crush, ... individuals, groups,
other states until there is only one such state.

Lewis Mumford's view, which this is taken from,
was supremely more grounded and objective in the
universal sense than anything that arose in the
1990s to do battle with the same events, and it
was decades earlier and still ignored for it is
conceptual clarification, not further abstraction,
of core experiences that are the basis for ideas,
and establishing a perspective or philosophy that
can address this more universal scale of time, of
place, of humans and of the unwieldy abstractions
that arose with science, technology, and culture.

babel on, like rock on, may someday emblemize the
ineffectuality of language-based thinking today,
in relation to the sense experiences encountered
daily, that there is a gap between rhetoric and
reality, and the inability to do things, to get
things done that need doing, are evidence of the
rift, and the need to shift, to change, so to get
another perspective of events, not another view
just like any other (infinite, bounded) vantages,
but instead a more universal, logical, reasoned
vantage, a base from which to then argue ideas
in a place of shared assumptions, facts, truth.
it is flatland otherwise, in 4D, needing a 5th.

the poets are there, the musicians are there,
the metaphysicians are there, though what is a
necessary solidification of philosophy, a base
or groundwork, has yet to be established so to
realize that it is not empire but empiricism,
that is key to such questions, and possibility.

that is, it is not just an individual author
or person writing this, but an open authorship,
a shared critique that does not cancel out the
truth of another with a new views of things, to
start everything over from scratch every time.
instead it is of a scale and disposition that
allows difference, and similarity, that is able
to handle paradox, complexity, and what is now
lacking: open questioning and risk of failure.
i.e. in education, 'institutionalized' learning
that transcends training the brain like a dog.

the crux would be to place a morality on the
systems which are machines, this bureaucracy
of technology/technique/techne (Ellul/Mumford).
this is why accurate 'science' and objectivity
beyond politics is necessary to address these
more complex situations, as the machinations
will always win in the realm of dodgy dossiers
if the issue is an individual versus such an
automatic state of affairs (megamachine).

who are its individuals who compose this beast?
citizens, workers, all contribute to its feeding,
clothing, housing, entertainment, and immorality.

to function within the bureaucracy is to be-
come a representative of it, the Matrix is a
good enough conceptualization, where peoples
exist both as humans and partly machines, to
become more fully one with it and its ideals
and goals. that is, robots. at a certain point,
to go on autopilot, in some way shape or form.
for some percentage of society, on some issue,
in some way, we are all eachother's enemies in
ways infinite and immediate. that perspective,
locally and globally, goes fractal with scales
of complex interactions. any choice is a bug
elsewhere in the source code of the world-
machine as it exists. so much so that sectors
of society, constituent machines, may go to
war to reprogram the other parts so to better
integrate with the overriding ideal of how it
should all function, and will continue to be
fighting itself, killing humans, until they
are in conformance with this agency, which
is well beyond human intention and morality,
though these function as myths to continue
the quest of mysteries in a time where to
look 'over there' is to be virtually-real,
so much so that fictions can be sustained
in virtual representations, the myths are
then reconstituted, reestablished, and can
continue to function yet human energy is now
harnessed for objectives other than humanity.

the outcome is not a godless science, but a
scienceless science, political of base needs
and desires of an unconscious machine driven
by a lust for its own growth and domination:
machines need oil, more and more and more oil,
and a human initiative such as the sustainable
energies would bring human control back to it,
yet it is resisted, in competition with itself,
wars, many future wars will be fought for it,
full nuclear arsenals, without human agency.
without human judgment, morality, decision-
making. bureaucrats are making the decisions,
choices, but they are as autonomous as robots
in such a culture and environment, they are
dependent upon the success of this organism
to themselves succeed, and by giving up the
autonomy one can gain power, influence, and
purposefulness of such a machine of state,
by extending it. or, by hacking it, back to
a state of human agency. though such events
require a different scale to interact with
the machine code and take appropriate risks,
weather failures, and manage the paranoia.

we are the robots, some parts of each of us.
we are the problem, as a condition. the idea
of 'science' beyond politics still offers a
way to get beyond language games and interact
with this machine state in a way that enters
into cosmic battle with it, for human agency,
to reprogram it and ourselves, and break free
of the inaccuracies and retain that which is
to be broken, crushed, and destroyed by the
mindlessness of automated states of madness.

* d i a g r a m s - 3-valued paradoxical logic

  architecture, education, electromagnetism

  electronetwork.org // electromagnetism and culture
  investigating and interrogating electromagnetic reality

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