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<nettime> Critical Intelligence... some more
Konrad Becker on Thu, 6 Dec 2012 09:14:06 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Critical Intelligence... some more

Below is an excerpt and afterword by Bifo of "Dictionary of
Operations" by Autonomedia...

Launched next Thursday at the ACF NY with a debate
on "Cultural Intelligence Operations" with Ayreen
Anastas, Stephen Duncombe, Fran Ilich and Jim Fleming.

Cheers, Konrad


Narrative Politics

Individuals choose descriptions of possibilities rather than options
themselves. Humans read and write their own narrative. Addicted to
stories, some develop deeper relations with fictional characters
than their friends, with the understanding that one can withdraw an
emotional involvement with imaginary figures.

Sequences of behavioral modes compressed to narrative images encode
Âgood or Âbad feelings towards a situation. Affective threads
produce contextual frames and coordinates for a matrix of values and
psycho-cybernetic control. When cognitive processes lack the speed
for informed options, affect is a shortcut to behavioral decisions
and automatized rules of engagement in social relations. Affect
becomes dominant in complex situations of conflicting alternatives
and ambiguous uncertainty. In the absence of information, cultural
adjustment takes over judgment.

Contrast-priming that anchors experience effects a displacement away
from subjective experience by direct comparison of stimuli. Marketing
strategies, using contrasts, position unattainably-expensive luxuries
to actually move and sell inexpensive items next to them. Looking for
an answer for a given set of possible responses assimilation-anchoring
draws subjective experience towards an expected range. Interrogators
may accuse a prisoner of a horrible act, far worse than anything
suspected, only to extract a confession to a minor offence. Yet
anchoring can be used in fair and transparent games to induce a course
of losing.

Natural-born storytellers, humans understand the world by placing
themselves within a larger hyper-narrative that signifies the real.
Ex- alted human faculties to see patterns and create narratives
produce excess. Superstitious self-centered views of events are a side
result of these high-powered abilities. Construing causality in series
of events and tendencies to contain all kind of behaviors in narrative
models leads to failures of judgment. Bound to spin and weave their
tales with narrative strings of selfhood, people become entangled
in their own web. Using various glands to produce a diversity of
fibers, some spiders spin up to eight different silks. Extruded from
its spinnerets, a spider webÂs strength is comparable to high-grade

A traditional device to incorporate the unknown into a story is
the sequential arrow of time. Narration not only tells the untold,
but the untellable and incommunicable. Always ready to communicate
the incomprehensible, it speaks the phantasmal and impossible to
understand. Mythopoetic narratives provide modes of understanding
beyond dialectics, where ÂThe one who tells the stories rules the
world. Or, as Winston Churchill put it, ÂHistory will be kind to
me because I intend to write it. Imperialists have only scorn for
the judicious study of the world, because empires create their own

Strategic communications in the info-sphere seems a secure investment,
and the art of truth-projection is a creative-industry product for
those who pay. Their stories make sense of worlds, but when they
collapse their legends fall apart, into fragments of forgotten


Franco ÂBifo Berardi

Dictionary of Operations is a book by Konrad Becker. What is Konrad
Becker talking about?

About everything. Everything is here: Language and Money, Conjuration
and Conspiration. According to recombinant methodology, the operations
the title is hinting to are the countless operations that a reader
can do, by recombining the conceptual units that can be found in
this book. The Author is walking at the border that separates (and
actually connects) the world of superstitious Reality and the world of
theoretical superstition.

The book has been composed  better, assembled  in the period
in which the black hole of financial capitalism is swallowing the
world. Perfect timing. This is the right moment to reflect on the
(dangerous) confusion between linguistic production and the economy.
This confusion was started by the Symbolist poets, who replaced
representation with evocation and realist description with the
mystic epiphany of transmental words, and was perfected by the
Virtual technology which generates the world that surrounds us as a
byproduct of Simulation. Financial capitalism  the last step in the
suicidal pathway of the Invisible Hand that is strangling us  is the
theological translation of Indust-Reality.

Magic algorithms have taken the place of the old machines made of
iron and steel, and although Âsyncretistic cults of capitalism do
not yield meaning, (as Becker says), they do yield value. Physical
things disappear, bewitched and swallowed by the financial spell:
buildings, cities, human beings, institutions, trains, schools.
Immaterial money (unspeakable figures, uncountable amounts of credit
and debt) is taking their place.

In an article published in1996, with the title ÂGlobal Debt and
Parallel Universe, Jean Baudrillard wrote that debt is forever
orbitalized, out of Planet Earth, out of our lives and out of our
time: ÂIn fact, the debt will never be paid. No debt will ever be
paid. The final counts will never take place. If time is counted
[si le temps nous est compte], the missing money is beyond counting
[au-delà de toute compatabilitÃ]. The United States is already
virtually unable to pay, but this will have no consequence whatsoever.
There will be no judgment day for this virtual bankruptcy. It is
simple enough to enter an exponential or virtual mode to become
free of any responsibility, since there is no reference anymore, no
referential world to serve as a measuring norm, he said.

He was wrong, although genially prophetic (prophets are often wrong,
but they see the point, while other people are often right, though
they talk about pointless things). Baudrillard was wrong, because
The Debt is back on Earth, as you know, and we are looking at it in
a state of astonishment. Incredulous of what we see, we to try to
understand the metaphysical debt, but we canÂt. This is why (as
Konrad Becker puts it), ÂDisplacing religion in secular societies,
both are incorporated into financial market forces where they remain

And also (anthropologically speaking, of non-anthropological things),
ÂHumans form religion which informs humans vice versa. And also
(biologically speaking, on non-biological prospects), ÂDNA in the
evolvement of living cells did not follow slow continuous mutation.
Living cells are not autistic actors of sociobiological dogma
but sensitive entities in a copy and paste conspiracy. So who
knows? It may be that, in the infinite, future recombination of DNA
possibilities, we can find a way out. Entrapped, entangled, but doing
operations, and always hopeful, stupidly hopeful, because, as Becker
says: ÂThe most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the
human mind to correlate all its contents. As we cannot correlate, we
do operations, and look around for something that so far we have been


Dictionary of Operations, Autonomedia 2012 ISBN: 978-1-57027-261-5

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