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Re: <nettime> The Whole Earth Conference + Turner interview
Newmedia on Sun, 28 Jul 2013 22:45:07 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> The Whole Earth Conference + Turner interview


Karen:
 
Reboot.fm has all the speeches/panels here --  
https://soundcloud.com/rebootfm/sets/the-whole-earth-in-the-ether

What Fred was talking about with his *two* "countercultures" is a matter of 
 RELIGION -- although he doesn't put it in those terms (probably because 
his  audience thinks that they are "secularists" and would be offended if he  
did).
 
Some people would rather *protest* -- so, if you will, let's call them the  
PROTESTANTS.  There are lots of those in Europe and, like the "originals,"  
many of them are agitating for Armageddon and hoping for the resulting 
"heaven  on earth."  These were the people who once called themselves PURITANS 
(i.e.  followers of John Calvin et al).
 
For many of them, today's equivalent of the Catholic Church is "capitalism" 
 (which, of course, has many names, including "globalism/imperialism" and  
"neo-liberalism").  Many think of themselves as Marxists and tend to orient  
towards 19th century (i.e. pre-electric) thought-patterns and the resulting 
 patterns of "struggle" against the Ancient Regime  These are the people 
who  Bruce Sterling once called "goofy leftists."
 
Some others would rather be more *psychological* and prefer a more  
"positive" approach -- so, if you will, let's call them the NEW AGERS.   These 
types tend to be derived from the WW II psychological warriors -- like  Bateson 
(who is the subject of Fred's next book) and his protege Stewart Brand  (who 
was the subject of his last book) -- and they are the ones who think in  
terms of LSD, Carl Jung, Korzybski (General Semantics), Ben Whorf  (Theosophy) 
etc.  
 
They are also looking for "heaven on earth" (i.e. "purity") but tend think  
more in terms of 20th century (i.e. post-electric) approaches and could be  
viewed as bringing back older forms of "personal alchemy."  They are also  
opposed to the earlier kinds of (religious) "authority" but, in part because 
 they come out of the military, they often enthusiastically embrace 
technology  and, in their extreme versions, even hope that humans are replaced by  
machines (i.e. the Singularity etc).
 
Richard Barbrook's "Californian Ideology" is about this NEW  AGE group 
(from the standpoint of a "protester")and my "English Ideology  and WIRED 
Magazine" is about how this group has its origins in the Royal Society  of London 
(from the standpoint of someone who knows both but doesn't "affiliate"  with 
either groups).
 
Two different "countercultures."  Two different *sectarian* approaches  to 
changing (i.e. "purifying") the world.  Naturally, you would expect them  to 
clash.  Nettime, being largely a European phenomenon, favored the  PROTEST 
over the NEW AGE.  The W.E.L.L., being largely a California  phenomenon, had 
these priorities reversed.  All this, without this  religious/historic 
context, was the topic of Fred's speech in Berlin.
 
But they are two sides of the *same* PURIFYING coin!   Naturally,  neither 
one of them likes it if this is pointed out.  Yes, it's lonely  being me . . 
. <g>
 
Wiener was never a "military man," and, crucially, he had nothing to  do 
with *psychological* warfare, unlike the anthropologist/psychologist Gregory  
Bateson.  As Steve Heims details in his 1980 double-biography of Wiener and  
Von Neumann, Wiener was much more of a "protester" by inclination -- 
repeatedly  resigning from MIT over its military contracting and ultimately 
getting an FBI  knock-on-the-door.
 
Mark Stahlman
Brooklyn NY


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