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Re: <nettime> Will your insurance company subsidize your quantified self
Alexander Bard on Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:51:21 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Will your insurance company subsidize your quantified self?


Dear Flick and James

No, money is not the end of all things. Unless you still wear the
most popular t-shirt from the 19th century: "Whoever has the most
money when he dies wins". The end of all things is of course power
and not money (cue in a Zizekian manner of course taken from "House
of Cards"). So money will only be at the center of things when and
if money can buy you power (which it of course still can and likely
always will) but if anything else beats money to power, we would be
enormously naive if not taking this into account. Especially if we are
sincere about our Marxism as a pathos rather than a strict logos.

As for James' question of whether Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are the
most powerful people on the planet: Of course not. It is not quantity
but quality that counts even in a Google algorithm. It is who you
know and not how many you know which maximizes attention. Credbility
must always be multiplied with awareness as the basic equation of any
information-curating algoritm. And this is of course why we now move
into the golden age of the sociogram. Why else would there be "free
gmail", "free facebook and twotter accounts" etc in the first place.
Come on? This is of course all properly calculated. Nothing is ever
for free unless you get a bubble gum from a stranger at Burning Man.

And please please please, I'm not saying money is not important. Not
in any way whatsoever. And I'm not saying an old power structure is
over and done with. We see traces even of the feudal system everyday
in our lives today (Islam and Catholicism to name but two of its
long-lasting bi-products), but here we are talking of of changes and
eventual revolutions in a Bergsonian long duree, but still correct,
manner. And attention is creeping in everywhere as a source of power.
And how do we study it? Well, just look at what the Silicon Valley
behemoths are going after and you will find where the power of
attention is heading next. Money is a means to power. And will be,
especially as attention can NOT be accumulated to then be traded. It's
just that attention is an incredibly complex beast possibly producing
a worse class division than anything we have previously seen. It must
therefore not be ignored just because models that are not complex
enoigh to understand the world today. For example: Was The French
Revolution really a revolution, or merely the symptom of the real one
(which of course happened in Germany in 1450)?

I'm not the slightest bit optimistic about the future. But I believe
our best shot as saving the planet, fighting class divisions and
alienation etc is a proper netocratic metaphysical system to be
developed. My shot is syntheism (what Simon Critchley calls "mystical
anarchism" and Alain Badiou heralds as "truth as an act"). That's
where I'm heading next in my research and literary work. Once that
is done, I agree with Zizek and Badiou that we can create another
proper symptom of a revolution, And in this activist work, keeping the
Internet free and open as much as possible is the truly revolutionary
activity of our time. I'm glad Slavoj Zizek finally sees the Pirates
as the forebearers of this major movement.

All the very best
Alexander




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