Mark Stahlman (via RadioMail) on Thu, 8 May 1997 19:46:33 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> ZKP4: Beyond Despair: A New Living in Art

               Beyond Despair: A New Living in Art

It is not necessary to live without hope.  It is not necessary to
believe that the world has no meaning.  It is not necessary to be a
post-modern, post-human, post-civilization, post-reason, post-
structuralist, post-art critic.  It is not necessary to live without
beauty.  It is not necessary to become a cyborg or to abolish
humanity from creation by replacing humans with genetic and
psychological productions.  It is not necessary to be a Thatcherite
Imperialist Global/Tribalist.  It is, in fact, now time to begin to live
beyond the despair of the 20th century.  We will accomplish this
new living in art.

It is time for a Renaissance -- a New Learning.  It is time to return
to the Platonic humanism of Leibniz, Mendelssohn, Avicenna and
Cusa.  It is time to reject the anti-human Enlightenment in all of its
forms and to heal the wounds created by the artificial and brutal
separation of faith from reason spawned by this movement and
hatched in the horrors of modern/post-modern life.  It is time to
defend the nation-state against the technocratic looting of the
New Dark Information Age.  It is time to rediscover humanity and
to reassert its sacred image.  It is time to reclaim for all humanity
a future of human development and human dignity.  It is time to
begin to win in our war against the intelligent machines which
threaten to enslave us all.

None of this means that it will be easy nor that we can avoid
unpleasant tasks.  Take the case of George Soros, for instance.

There should be no confusion about who Soros is or what his
efforts represent.  He is a professional looter and a global
speculator.  He is aware that the global game of looting -- which
he has spent his life playing -- is always in real and immanent
danger of collapse.  He knows that new "resources" must be
constantly shoveled into the furnaces of global looting to (in his
words) "stay ahead of the curve."  He knows that the nations of
Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union represent one of the
largest untapped "resource" pools in the world.  He knows that by
attacking the sovereignty of these nations (among others,
including Western Europe, South American, the U.S. and China)
he has a strong chance to cripple their economies and to pick
up their industries at fire-sale prices.  He knows that leftists and
intellectuals throughout Europe have been cut lose by shrinking
social programs and arts budgets and that these people can be
useful fodder for his anti-nation-state cannons.  And, of course,
we know it too.

So far, he and his advisors have wrecked havoc on the Russian
and Polish economies, they face multiple investigations by the
Italians for conspiring to force prices down on "privatized"
industries, they have been hounded by the Croatians and
Belarussians and partly booted from Prague, they've opened a
crucial anti-Constitutional wedge between the Federal
government and the states in the U.S. (over "medical" marijuana)
and, they have been throw out on his ass by the Chinese.  Oh,
yes, they also fund interesting conferences.

There is, for all intents and purposes, no Russian government and
no Russian economy at this time.  There has not been an
"evolution towards a democratic state and a free-market
economy",  instead, there has been a recreation of the epic Wild
West -- a lawless mafia state.  The genesis of this breakdown -- in
which barter has generally replaced taxable monetary
transactions and in which payment for "protection" has replaced
national sovereignty -- is pure Soros.  "I was a great supporter of
the so-called Shatalin Plan", he writes in "Soros on Soros."  And, in
"Underwriting Democracy", he says, "For instance, I would
suspend all investment programs and . . . start a with the creation
of an independent central bank along the lines of the Federal
Reserve System, which would impose monetary discipline . . . It
would also embark on a crash program of privatization . . .
Factories could be idled and the raw material and energy that go
into production could be sold for more than the output."

This is simply looting to feed the furnaces of global speculation --
financial alchemy.  Although the Shatalin Plan was not accepted
due to its extreme attack on Russian sovereignty and industrial
production, its outlines have asserted themselves, none the less,
as foreign assaults (IMF, etc.) on Russia and the former republics
have continued unabated combined with widespread internal
profiteering.  According to Soros, "The Shatalin Plan did not get
through.  It is . . . perhaps the most important thing I have done in
my life, even if it failed."

As we know, the cover for much of this looting activity is often
described as "human rights."  It also frequently masquerades as
"communtarianism" -- the left-wing alternative (yin) to right-wing
"libertarianism" (yang) within Global/Tribal techno-utopian circles. 
Both the Soros funded Open Society Institute and the Central
European University are thoroughly imbued with expressions of
these movements and staffed by some of their leading
proponents.  It is perhaps less well known that H.G. Wells should
be credited with designing the modern "human rights" movement
with his drafting of "The Declaration of the Rights of Man" (1940) as
the revolutionary credo for what he called the "Open Conspiracy"
-- all in order to achieve his utopian "World State" based his early
conception of the Internet as the "World Brain."  I'm sure Soros
would have approved.

In his 1942 book "Phoenix: A Summary of he Inescapable
Conditions of World Reorganization", Wells describes the crucial
function of "human rights" in the chapter titled "No Revolution is
Secure Without Re-Education."  He focusses on the declaration's
"Right" number four, the "Right to Knowledge" and describes how
"this implies a proper training from the outset in the fundamental
knowledge and ideas of the new social order contemplated by
the Declaration."  He goes to justify the universal re-writing of
history and the totalizing of propaganda to be carried out by the
"Social Psychologists" in the following stark terms:

"Every adult man is to have the right to profess and practice any
religion not criminally anti-social, however absurd it might be. 
That is a plain human right, but that does not give any religious
bodies that may still be carrying on after the Revolution, the right
to deprive children and young people of the common body of
human knowledge and the broad facts of their place in space
and time.  We can no more tolerate such artificially imposed
ignorance than we can tolerate children being emasculated or
having their eyes put out in the name of some sadistic mumbo-
jumbo . . ."

"That is what the Sankey Declaration [to reduce criticism of his
role, Wells agreed to be fronted by Lord Sankey] is saying -- but it
is said here now as harshly and unambiguously as possible, to
prevent any misunderstanding.  The Declaration was the product
of a considerable concourse of minds, and if it is read rather
muzzily it may seem to afford loopholes for the old religious
systems to capture further generations of children for their
sectarian beliefs.  But, if you well read the document with an alert
mind and altogether, you will find that every bolthole in which
aggressive bigotry may reassemble its forces has been very
carefully stopped."

Complete freedom of thought.  In an open society.  Sure.  As long
as you fall in behind "liberal fascist" Wells.  But, as described in
the Declaration's "Right" number two, "Protection of Minors", "In
default of such parental protection in whole or in part [as in trying
to teach them anything other than Wellsian faux-history, and as
countered by Orwell in his anti-Wells book "1984"], the
community, having due regard to the family traditions of the
child, shall accept or provide alternative guardians."

"Human rights" is a cover-story for a tactic in support of a strategy
designed to win a war.  That strategy is to feed the monster of
global speculation by dismantling the sovereign nation-states
which attempt to withhold precious "resources" from the
speculator's alchemical furnaces.  "Human rights" was invented
by a techno-utopian disciple of Darwin with a thoroughly
depraved sense of what humanity might represent in fundamental
terms -- i.e. Monkeys 2.0.  "Human rights" was created to stamp
out humanity by forcing all children to endure a program of
brainwashing which would -- when combine with techniques of
genetic manipulation -- permit the manufacturing of creatures to
the designer's (the technocrats which Wells called the "New
Samurai" and Vlahos calls the "Brain Lords") desire, thus
paradoxically eliminating humanity by extending "human rights"
to all.  God would be replaced with technology of manipulation. 
Instead of humanity conquering Nature, Nature would have
triumphed over humanity, as brilliantly described in C.S. Lewis'
1947 essay, "The Abolition of Man."

Soros' "human rights" is a false hope.  It is unpleasant to say this
but this is the same false hope of "freedom" (from the necessity of
being human beings) which drives WIRED magazine and all the
other expressions of Extropian/Steward techno-utopianism.  The
result of following such false hopes will be, as with all the
"scientific socialisms" with which Wells contested, nothing but
despair and destruction and, all too often, premature death. 
Where Soros and his looting cronies have been, as in Russia and
across resource rich Africa, the human anguish is already widely
manifest as the bodies pile up.

Destruction of the real economy (i.e. Negroponte's "bits not
atoms") and the replacement of development with looting on a
global scale is already in an advanced stage throughout the
world.  This process is institutionally strong and has been
preparing for final victory for much of the past century.  It is to be
found daily on the pages/screens of Global/Tribal press outlets
like the New York Times and CNN.  Today's NYTimes features a
gloating op-ed by arch-globalist Tom Friedman titled, "All About
Maggie."  Friedman sums it up neatly in the phrase, "The ultimate
triumph in an ideological war is when you convert your
opponent."  He goes on to say, "Paddy Ashdown, leader of the
Liberal Democrats, had it right when he remarked that Labor's
Tony Blair and the Conservatives' John Major were engaged in
'synchronized swimming'."  He describes Thatcherism as
"straightjacket economics" and Blair as trying to fashion a
"straightjacket with elbow room and shoulder pads."  In other
words, you can choose between nasty fascism and friendly
fascism but don't fool yourself that you can avoid fascism.  Which
do you prefer, yin or yang fascism?

As our greatest techno-apolcalypist Marshall McLuhan put it in
"Challenge and Collapse: Nemesis of Creativity" (Chapter 7 in
"Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man", 1964)

"The new media and technologies by which we amplify and
extend ourselves constitute huge collective surgery carried out
on the social body with complete disregard for antiseptics.  If the
operations are needed, the inevitability of infecting the whole
system during the operation has to be considered.  For in
operating on society with a new technology, it is not the incised
area that is most affected.  The area of impact and incision is
numb.  It is the entire system that is changed.  The effect of radio
is visual, the effect of the photo is auditory.  Each new impact
shifts the ratio among the senses.  What we seek today is either a
means of controlling these shifts in the sense-ratios of the psychic
and social outlook, or a means of avoiding them altogether.  To
have a disease without its symptoms is to be immune.  No society
has ever known enough about its actions to have developed
immunity to its new extensions or technologies.  Today we have
begun to sense that art may be able to provide such immunity."

"In the history of human cultures there is no example of a
conscious adjustment of the various factors of personal and
social life to new extensions except in the puny and peripheral
efforts of artists.  The artist picks up the message of cultural and
technological challenge decades before its transforming impact
occurs.  He, then, builds Noah's arks for facing the change that is
at hand . . . For in the electric age there is no longer any sense in
talking about the artist's being ahead of his time.  Our technology
is, also, ahead of its time, if we reckon by the ability to recognize
it for what it is.  To prevent undue wreckage in society, the artist
tends now to move from the ivory tower to the control tower of
society.  Just as higher education is no longer a frill or luxury but
a stark need of production and operational design in the electric
age, so the artist is indispensable in the shaping and analysis and
understanding of the life of forms, and structures created by
electric technology . . ."

"The artist can correct the sense ratios before the blow of new
technology has numbed conscious procedures.  He can correct
them before numbness and subliminal groping and reaction
begin.  If this is true, how is it possible to present the matter to
those who are in a position to do something about it?  If there
were even a remote likelihood of this analysis being true, it would
warrant a global armistice and period of stock-taking.  If it is true
that the artist possesses the means of anticipating and avoiding
the consequences of technological trauma, then what are we to
think of the world and bureaucracy of 'art appreciation'?  Would
it not seem suddenly to be a conspiracy to make the artist a frill,
a fribble, or a Milltown [an early kind of tranquillizer]?  If men
were able to be convinced that art is precise advance
knowledge of how to cope with the psychic and social
consequences of the next technology, would they all become
artists?  Or would they begin a careful translation of new art forms
into social navigation charts?  I am curious to know what would
happen if art were suddenly seen for what it is, namely, exact
information of how to rearrange one's psyche in order to
anticipate the next blow from our own extended faculties.  Would
we, then, cease to look at works of art as an explorer might
regard the gold and gems used as the ornaments of simple

We are entering a period of a new Renaissance.  It will be made
real and livable by artists who wish to protect humanity from the
blows of new technology by helping us to become immune from
technology's de-humanizing effects.  Art is "precise advance
knowledge of how to cope with the psychic and social
consequences of the next technology."  It has always been this
way.  Only, this time, we are living in nettime.

Mark Stahlman
New Media Associates
New York City
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