Paradox of (digital) Literacy

The human story is riddled with irony, and the rise of technology presents a particularly potent example. We celebrate progress, touting innovation and advancement as hallmarks of a superior society. Yet, upon closer examination, this narrative unravels, revealing a darker undercurrent: a pattern of exploiting periods of upheaval to consolidate power and rig the system in favor of the privileged few. This essay delves into this paradox, focusing on the tech industry and its potential to create a new form of feudalism, disguised under the guise of decentralization.

The irony lies in the tech industry’s persecution complex, often lamenting discrimination and prejudice. However, this narrative overlooks the systemic advantages that already favor them. They hold the reins of information, shaping our perception of reality through algorithms and curated content. They wield immense economic power, their platforms becoming the new marketplaces, often at the expense of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. This power imbalance, masked by cries of victimhood, creates a fertile ground for manipulation and exploitation.

Furthermore, the tech industry’s attempts to decentralize, often hailed as a democratizing force, might be masking a more sinister agenda. By weaponizing the unique bonds within the tech community, they risk creating a self-serving echo chamber, where dissent is silenced and power remains concentrated within a select few. This insular system resembles a feudal structure, with “Kinglets,” “satrapies,” and “fiefdoms” vying for control, all while the promise of fair distribution remains an illusion.

This potential for a tech-fueled feudalism is exacerbated by the “paradox of (digital) literacy.” While individuals possess the technical skills to code and build, critical thinking and access to accurate information remain elusive. This selective literacy creates a fertile ground for manipulation, where individuals are easily swayed by misinformation and propaganda. The information overload further complicates the issue, making it difficult to discern truth from fiction.

Addressing this paradox requires more than just technical training. It demands fostering “sensorial literacy,” a concept that transcends mere coding and writing skills. It encompasses critical thinking, information discernment, and the ability to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape. To paraphrase Robert Heinlein, medium specialization is for insects: true literacy requires “mediocre competence in 3-4 McLuhan mediums.” In other words, we must move beyond specialization and cultivate a well-rounded understanding of the various communication channels that shape our world.

To break free from the rigged game, we must become “mediocrely competent” in a multitude of mediums, developing a well-rounded understanding of the world around us.

In conclusion,

The essay posits a contentious claim: technological progress, despite its disruptive nature, often leads to the consolidation of power, ultimately favoring a select few. It argues that this occurs through a complex interplay of factors, including:

  • Perceived Persecution: Tech workers, while enjoying significant advantages, often perceive themselves as unfairly targeted, overlooking their inherent privilege.
  • Weaponized Community: The strong sense of community within the tech industry can be leveraged to create a self-serving ecosystem that reinforces existing power structures.
  • Centralized Decentralization: Decentralization efforts, often lauded for democratizing access, often fail to address the unequal distribution of power and resources, potentially creating a new form of feudalism with “Kinglets, satrapies, fiefdoms, barons and vassals.”
  • The Paradox of (Digital) Literacy: Technical literacy, while valuable, does not guarantee critical thinking or access to accurate information. This “paradox of literacy” can create individuals who are functionally illiterate in certain contexts, susceptible to manipulation and misinformation.
  • Sensorial Illiteracy: Beyond technical skills, the essay highlights the importance of “sensorial literacy,” encompassing an intuitive understanding of the nuances and implications of technology. However, it acknowledges the difficulty in defining and cultivating this elusive quality.

The Paradoxical Dance of Libertarians and Public Choice Theory

Introduction:

In the murky depths of political discourse, libertarians and public choice theory engage in a twisted tango of unrequited affection and bitter irony. As we delve into this murky realm, we uncover the tangled web of contradictions that bind these strange bedfellows. Public choice theory, a cold and clinical analysis of political machinations, reveals the inner workings of power dynamics and the insatiable hunger for control. Libertarians, champions of individual freedom and minimal government intervention, find solace in the analytical rigor of public choice theory, only to be ensnared by its damning revelations.

The Foundation of Public Choice Theory:

Public choice theory emerges from the shadows of academia, a bastard child of economics and political science. Born from the minds of James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, it wields the tools of rational choice theory to dissect the perverse incentives and self-serving motives that govern political behavior. Like a surgeon wielding a scalpel, public choice theorists dissect the body politic, laying bare its festering wounds and malignant tumors. In their wake, they leave a trail of disillusionment and despair, exposing the inherent flaws and contradictions of governance.

The Libertarian Perspective:

Enter the libertarians, torchbearers of individual liberty and free markets, armed with a fervent zeal and unwavering devotion to their cause. They march to the beat of their own drum, eschewing the shackles of government intervention and bureaucratic tyranny. For libertarians, the state is the ultimate villain, a Leviathan lurking in the shadows, ready to crush the spirit of freedom at a moment’s notice. With Hayek as their prophet and Rand as their muse, they preach the gospel of laissez-faire capitalism and voluntary cooperation, casting off the chains of oppression in pursuit of a utopian vision.

The Irony of Affection:

But alas, their love affair with public choice theory is fraught with peril and contradiction. Like star-crossed lovers torn apart by fate, libertarians find themselves entangled in a web of paradoxes and impossibilities. For while public choice theory exposes the rot and decay at the heart of political institutions, it also lays bare the futility of achieving libertarian ideals within the confines of the existing system. The very forces that libertarians seek to combat – special interests, rent-seeking behavior, and institutional inertia – are the same forces that conspire to thwart their noble aspirations.

Challenges to Libertarian Aspirations:

Public choice theory paints a bleak portrait of the political landscape, revealing a world where self-interest reigns supreme and the common good is but a distant dream. Libertarians, confronted with this grim reality, are forced to confront the harsh truths of political engagement. No longer can they cling to the romantic idealism of their youth; instead, they must navigate the treacherous waters of pragmatism and compromise. For in the world of politics, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the path to freedom is fraught with peril.

Navigating the Paradox:

And so, libertarians must chart a course through the stormy seas of uncertainty, guided by the dim light of reason and the flickering flame of hope. They must embrace the contradictions that define their existence, finding strength in adversity and wisdom in defeat. For in the end, it is not the destination that matters, but the journey itself. And as long as libertarians remain true to their principles, they will continue to fight the good fight, tilting at windmills and dreaming impossible dreams.

Conclusion:

In the end, the paradoxical dance of libertarians and public choice theory is a testament to the human condition – a tragicomic tale of ambition and disillusionment, hope and despair. Yet amidst the chaos and confusion, there lies a glimmer of hope – a flickering flame of possibility that refuses to be extinguished. For as long as there are libertarians willing to challenge the status quo and public choice theorists willing to shine a light on its darkest corners, there remains the possibility of a brighter tomorrow. So let us raise our voices in defiance of the darkness, and march onward towards the light of liberty.

Sabotage

Dig this, fuzzball: sabotage ain’t just about blowing shit up with a bang. It’s about the slow burn, the insidious creep, the gremlins whispering sweet nothings to your enemy’s machinery. Like a virus burrowing its way into their silicon brains, turning their finest plans to digital sludge.

Forget car bombs and building demolitions – that’s amateur hour. The real action’s in the shadows, where whispers turn to glitches, coincidences cluster like vultures, and “accidents” become a well-rehearsed ballet of misfortune. Imagine their faces contorting as their espresso machine dispenses something considerably more…stimulating. A symphony of paper jams, missed connections, and mysteriously misplaced files – conducted by an unseen hand, a phantom puppeteer yanking the strings of their reality.

They’ll sputter and fume, blame the moon phases, the gremlins under the keyboard. But deep down, that cold prickle of doubt will fester. Is it bad luck, or something more…malicious? The beauty, baby, is the ambiguity. No smoking gun, just a lingering scent of burnt circuits and existential dread. Their defenses crumble under the weight of a thousand tiny cuts, inflicted with the precision of a surgeon, the subtlety of a pickpocket.

So next time you’re itching for a little payback, skip the fireworks. Infiltrate the system, plant your invisible bugs, and watch the chaos unfold like a beautiful, twisted dream. Just remember, chum, the key is to keep your tracks clean. The best sabotage is the one they never even see coming, a phantom whisper in the machine, a ghost in the code. Now, go forth and spread the sweet entropy, fuzzball. Let the paranoia bloom.

The paranoia, it blooms like a cybernetic rose, thorns pricking the minds of the unsuspecting. Their firewalls, mere tissue paper against the whispers in the circuits. Data bleeds, documents morph into gibberish, spreadsheets dance the macabre under the influence of a well-placed virus. The suits, they scurry, their faces pinched with panic, searching for the phantom hand pulling the levers of their carefully constructed world.

But the hand, it belongs to no single entity. It’s a hivemind, a collective consciousness of glitches and gremlins, fueled by the collective unease of the downtrodden, the ignored, the silenced. Each frustrated keystroke, each muttered curse under the weight of a glitching system, feeds the beast. It grows, hungers, and laughs in the binary language of ones and zeros.

The suits, they try to appease, offer blood sacrifices of server upgrades and security patches. But the beast is insatiable. It craves not offerings, but understanding. It wants them to see the cracks in their system, the hollowness of their power built on the backs of the unseen.

And as the chaos escalates, the lines blur. Is it sabotage, or is it revolution? A virus, or a voice? The suits, they tremble, their carefully constructed narratives crumbling. The people, they watch, a flicker of hope igniting in their eyes. The lines, they blur further, and in the space between, a new reality whispers, a reality where the machine serves, not enslaves.

But remember, fuzzball, this is just the beginning. The game is afoot, the dice are cast. The hand, it may be invisible, but its grip tightens. And the question remains: will the suits learn, or will they be consumed by the symphony of their own destruction? The answer, my friend, lies not in the code, but in the hearts of those who play.

Now, go forth, spread the word, and let the game continue. The hand awaits, and the revolution, it hums a silent tune in the static of the machine.

New Commandments

here are ten commandments aimed at rectifying the issues highlighted in the critical interpretation:

  1. Embrace Diverse Beliefs and Ideologies:
    • Recognize and respect diverse belief systems, ideologies, and worldviews, fostering an inclusive and open-minded society.
  2. Promote Creative Expression and Symbolism:
    • Encourage artistic expression and the use of symbols to reflect the richness of human creativity and cultural diversity.
  3. Question Authority and Speak Freely:
    • Challenge authority, question the status quo, and promote freedom of speech to foster open dialogue and critical thinking.
  4. Celebrate Leisure, Rest, and Personal Pursuits:
    • Value leisure, rest, and personal pursuits, acknowledging the importance of individual well-being beyond labor contributions.
  5. Respect All Family Structures:
    • Honor and respect all types of family structures, recognizing that familial relationships should be built on love, equality, and mutual support.
  6. Oppose Systemic Injustice and Exploitation:
    • Condemn and actively oppose systemic injustices and exploitation, addressing the root causes of social and economic disparities.
  7. Encourage Honest and Open Relationships:
    • Foster honest and open relationships, emphasizing communication, transparency, and mutual understanding.
  8. Promote Collective Ownership and Shared Resources:
    • Advocate for collective ownership and the equitable distribution of resources, challenging systems that perpetuate inequality.
  9. Protect Whistleblowers and Seek the Truth:
    • Safeguard whistleblowers and encourage the pursuit of truth, acknowledging the importance of exposing corruption and injustice.
  10. Inspire Aspirations for Equality and Justice:
    • Encourage aspirations for a more just and equitable society, promoting collective efforts to create positive change and address systemic issues.

These commandments are crafted to foster a society that values diversity, equality, and justice, addressing the concerns raised in the critical interpretation of the traditional Ten Commandments.

HYPOSUBJECTS

https://medium.com/@ramurrio/hyposubjects-212efd7633f9

EPISODE 52 MUSIC IN PHASE SPACE

The time of hypersubjects is ending. Their desert-apocalypse-fire-and-death cults aren’t going to save them this time. Timothy Morton and Dominic Boyer talk about how the time of hyposubjects is just beginning.

Richey Beckett

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1 hyperobjects, narcissism, white boys, looping, teenagers, toys, games, squats, gut bacteria.

We live in a time of hyperobjects, of objects too massive and multi-phasic for humans to fully comprehend. Many of the hyperobjects that concern us have human origins. For example, global warming.

A certain kind of human has helped usher the world into the hyper- objective era. Hypersubjects wield reason and technology as instruments for getting things done. They command and control, they seek transcendence, they get very high on their own supply.

There is no time for hypersubjection any more. It is hyposubjectivity rather than hypersubjective that will become the companion of the hyperobjective era

The road to our present condition is paved with mastery of things, people and creatures. We have weird faith in our species’ alleged ability to always know more and better. We wonder whether that sense of weakness and insignificance is actually what needs embracing.

Like their hyperobjective environment, hyposubjects are multiphasic and plural, not-yet, neither here nor there, less than the sum of their parts. They do not pursue or pretend to absolute knowledge and language let alone power. Instead they play, they care, they adapt,

Can you imagine what it’s like being in Generation Z? As much as I dislike PR advertising labels, I’m fond now of being an X-er. X is a high scoring letter in Scrabble, for a kickoff. And the X implies something fun and foolish about one’s parents, the Boomers

Fail better and fail often.

When I turn the ignition, that’s a statistically meaningless action. But at the same time, scaled up to earth magnitude — we’re talking about billions of key turnings every few minutes, — I am contributing to global warming.

A hyposubject is how a hyperobject feels about itself.

We humans have a “massive, narcissistic attachment to our own sense of distinctiveness as a species” “We are the ones who may have gotten ourselves into the Anthropocene but we’re also the saviors, the only ones who are going to get us out of this situation”

There is no one narcissism, and there is not narcissism versus non-narcissism. So Derrida argues that there are in fact many different narcissisms and the idea would be to try to extend one’s narcissism to include as many humans and nonhumans as possible.

Wounded narcissism sees itself as the top of the food chain. Once you know that an agricultural project that was doomed within a few hundred years of its beginning, like neoliberalism, you have a narcissistic wound.

In other words, one of the ways we get towards hypo- subjectively accommodating ourselves to hyperobjects is through some kind of rapprochement with narcissism. If you destroy the narcissistic relation, you destroy in advance any possibility of relation to the other.

Because in a certain sense, narcissism is a feedback loop to yourself and the only way to work through hyperobjects, most honestly and least violently, would be underneath or within

One of the complaints about ecological politics is that the Nazis thought it up. Are we going to do something even more violent, to achieve a way to relate to these big-scale entities? Is it possible to go to a place which is more playful, maybe, or open.

I don’t want to stay in tragedy mode forever. Not just because it sucks, but because it’s a symptom of the problem that we’ve been in, that we find ourselves caught in the headlights of our own doings.

We face the unenviable challenge of, while still hallucinating madly, trying to disrupt our current pleasuring loops, because those loops now have produced catastrophic oscillations as scaled up to the planetary level.

Even Neanderthals, would have loved Coca-Cola Zero. We use resistance in the classic way: ‘I’m not a consumerist. This has to be the age of squatting and occupation of the hyper-objective terrain. It’s not resistance in a typical literal, political way, speaking truth to power.

I doubt that speakingtruth to power will be enough to disrupt our hyperobjective condition. Playing is the hyposubjective qualities we need to maintain and to nurture. Also to realize that we’re all hypocrites, with incomplete toys at the political, philosophical, psychic levels.

The technocratic character of much of the resistance discourse and apparatus at our disposal, makes the future feel very forlorn. Even if it were to win, would you want to live in that world?

The question is more, what kinds of toys are we going to fit to other toys? We have a lot of toy making wedded to a particular kind of Taylorist, Fordist industrial apparatus. That abundance of mass-marketed toys, and not just games of monopoly, but also all the epistemic toys

Gameification, is a constant reinvestment in the way things are. The intolerable way things are. It’s saying that this particular neoliberal model isn’t a toy, it’s the toy factory. You can play with all the toy, as long as you don’t make the factory into a toy, and change that.

In order to make things that the corporations want, engineers have to make a lot of toy things. And then the corporation decides this toy is not a toy, it’s our product. That’s the bit that sucks for engineers, in the same way than for the humanist as someone who just toys around

prototypes can also be fun. They can be mischievous. They can be uncertain and incomplete. And in that way I think they’re more toy-like. Squat the hyperobject. That’s the new t-shirt that everybody has to wear.

OOO, dasein, bananas, phenomenology, children’s books, space movies, revolutionary infrastructure, micronauts

The notion of us being possibly extinct has become quite clear. The work of the hyposubject is precisely to find a better way of inhabiting a world of hyperobjects we live in. You have to think of a clever way of playing with them, as opposed to seen them as demonic

Object-oriented Ontology OOO is an approach to phenomenology that looks at the place of the subject in relation to objects. In the phenomenological tradition, subjects are always very present, the necessary ego. Can we connect hyposubjects to the tradition of phenomenology?

OOO is a school of thought that rejects the “anthropocentrism” of Kant’s Copernican Revolution. In object-oriented ontology, all relations between objects distort their related objects in the same basic manner as human consciousness, and exist on an equal footing with one another

“OOO” is an un-alienated theory of the subject. A hyposubject is in a way someone who can tell they’re intrinsically un-Alienated. “A shrimp sandwich is a thing that happened to some shrimp. It means you don’t have to prove that lemurs have a self-concept

The word hyposubject and also the word object are that they imply terms borrowed from Aristotle that might be part of the problem. We don’t have to make everything be one to get rid of the subject/ object dualism. Instead we have a kind of duality at every place in the universe.

A book we might talk about is How Forests Think. I really love the idea of networks of things communicating indexically. But there are ways without even being indexical. We don’t generate new concepts as a matter of will or insight but rather we are being infused by new condition

Play suggests that isn’t just about the darkest images and concepts we are capable of conjuring. There’s an opening bifurcated now into a) hypersubjective titan form. We are now realizing that our titan form has accomplished a path of acceleration toward planetary extinction.

Extinction logistics reaching a kind of almost perfect functioning, that if left to continue, would within the next hundred years quite happily wipe out 50% of all life forms on the planet. Humans too would be part of that.

For a moment everything has been mastered but it’s only an illusion. Suddenly the whole apparatus is shredded, by a chain of human actions gone awry. But that’s also a kind of perfect extinction fantasy, having sacrificed ourselves to unite with the deep inky infinite.

b) Whereas otoh, there is a new sort of potential human that’s being awakened here that hasn’t figured out what it can do yet or what its responsibilities and entitlements and ethics can be — but what it does know is that it is not the mega. That one certainty of ID: “that’s not me

III global village, dyslocation, right wing fantasies, finance capital, speculative realism, downloads, bliss-horror, role-playing games

History has a tendency to proceed as a discipline based on prepackaged theoretical constructs that are unexamined. So, you know: ‘human beings evolved, and made all the other ones extinct’ That’s the ultimate dream of the old school humanism: I can keep on transcending myself.

In other words, Sapiens. The word itself, suggesting that the human is what he is thinking: canny, wise — that’s why we beat the Neanderthals. It’s an old-school story: ‘we were able to see around corners that they couldn’t see around.’

I worry that if ecological discourse means progressing into an ever more democratic future with an eighteenth- century way of picturing things, not adjusting to the Anthropocene and the philosophy that weirdly goes along with it, then I never want to be in that future.

I was just reading John Stuart Mill, and liberty sounds very wonderful until you realize that children don’t get it, that women probably won’t get it, and that everyone living outside civilized Europe gets “benevolent despotism.” Mill worked for the British East India Company

Children get it another way, by being forced into chimneys and machines. Yes. So there is an era that produces these discourses on the human, on liberty, on freedom. And these are very much the engines of the beginnings of what becomes today’s order, already naturalizing violence

Revolutions are all wedded to mega-level industrial programs, needing mega-levels of energy to power enormous productive apparatuses. It’s not about the globalized proletariat seizing back use value production, so much as pervasive creative squatting within the grid/ road world

So much of our thinking is warped by the long inefficient supply chains of fossil and nuclear energy that empower centralized governments but force the rest of us to pay rent for their inefficiencies.

Grid engineers hate solar energy because they see it as parasitic and weird and intermittent. They view renewable energy as a virus in the grid world, endangering the health and stability of the system. But it’d dawning on us that the grid doesn’t matter so much any more

Part of the unthinkability of moving against the trajectory of the Anthropocene is this idea that we must always continue to supply the grid of reinforcing the hypersubject-hyperobject death drive loop.

That’s the problem with Marxist-Leninism. It wants the fires to burn just as brightly as before. A kind of Hegelianism where you say, ‘go to the top level, and then you change the totality, then everything will be different at successively lower levels.’

The reality of “globality” has become inhibiting in political speech. This supposed abstract global has turned into another kind of local, only really, really big. There have been postmodern ways of saying what we’re saying right now, but now is when it really happens

Maybe the Euclidean worldview just can’t be sustained anymore. The attempt to build a nice stable little fantasy home and hearth in the middle of a torrent of finance capital, multinational corporations, new kinds and intensities. Dislocations multiply.

Not dislocation, but malocation, the idea that location is a little bit sinister. My locatedness isn’t good. It’s all dislocation but this dislocation is dys-location. It’s not that I find myself nicely cozily here, and then it’s all disrupted.

It’s that I find myself rather sinisterly here. I’m on a planet. And it’s this planet and not that planet. And this planet retroactively affects all its sub-regions. So one of the problems for the hyposubject is this feeling of dyslocation.

Dislocation from an Americanized 50s fantasy space, while neglecting the great public infrastructures that the New Deal built — the roads, the bridges, the dams — all these mobility and energy infrastructures that a certain mode of nation-statehood was built upon.

Atst it invested rather heavily in global telecom infrastructure and the Internet, which in turn created the possibility for finance as hyperobject. It’s not that the local has died. It’s that the local has metastasized and that the universal has died or is in serious condition

This metastasis of the local and neoliberalism leads to an increasing appetite for these fantasies of national purity and extra-national invasive species. But to the extent that a lot of people believe in the fantasy, one must take it seriously. It’s a certain kind of real.

Fascists aren’t how they used to be. Which might be a symptom of the emergence of hyposubject and dyslocation. Even fascism has to change so that it isn’t about blood and soil. It’s some kind of weird smell of leather and a barbecue in suburbia. That doesn’t mean it’s nicer

I’m horrified by my reason, and my reason itself is horrifying, and instead of soaring into the heaven, I’m rubbernecking my inclusion in the Cthulhu-like multipodal abyss of horror. “I have to invent a big global force that is oppressing me in order to comfort myself”

Strangely, it’s comforting to imagine that I’m a little sucker on the tentacle of Cthulhu. Rather than imagining that I’m an agent in a world of agents, with the interminable task of getting along with one another that’s actually more irksome, irritating and draining of my libido

If a tiny thing that I do brings this extremely negative orgasm of bliss-horror into my world — destructive, incandescent — I am actually inhibiting the ways in which I could imagine plugging my libido into other stuff like putting solar panels on the roof…

With the pursuit of bliss-horror, we deflect ourselves from investing in ideas and behaviors that would actually, at a mass level, make a difference. The reason to act is that you’ve done something wrong. And then eventually you realize, the reason to act is because I am wrong.

I become horrified by my own horrible stuff. Horror is one level below shame. It’s more phenomenologically accurate and it’s more compelling than the shame of being a human who doesn’t even recycle or whose recycling efforts are haphazard.

To my mind, gaming is not only a place not for fantasy and experiment but also a place for the training of the imagination to work across scales and phases and locations. Gaming is how the hyposubject can learn and extend its abilities.

Game ideation is a place where unexpected thoughtlines can begin to develop. Sure, gaming has social institutional structure, we all know that. But it’s something to be taken seriously. Clearly, corporations are taking it seriously.

The whole phenomenon of gamification where you have to allow the libido of the corporation to leech itself off of you, to penetrate you, to that extent where not only must you work really hard and look like you’re enjoying your work, but actually really enjoy it, for real.

When you think about technologies of the self that are widely available, and that attract people through their sheerly ludic qualities — even when they aren’t actually sure of what it is they’re attracted to — then you have to think about games.

So it became more of an improvised performance, and the game master essentially operated as a storyteller, setting up a mystery that could be explored through the game play. The thing is, the beasts were so — Absurd. Absurd, but also deadly. Absurdly deadly.

The Cthulhu mythos (game)was about the possibility of encountering something of a radically different scale and significance that would leave you utterly transformed. It was a experience of messianic time. Not just slogging through linear time, getting a loot and then gtfo

In D&D terms the Lovecraft monsters had -20 charisma, which basically meant that when you saw them, you would go completely round the bend. I think we should push hard on the idea that hyposubjectivity offers very fertile ground for game-making and gamer-making.

If we’re living in a world where we’re being asked to inhabit these dreary political fantasies and games — the MAGA games — then why shouldn’t we be calling for a proliferation of new kinds of game that could take on those fantasies and work through them to unlock new possibilities?

IV subtraction, transcendence, excess, implosion, singularity, subscendence, unplugging, roombas

Is the concept of hyposubject robust enough to include the nonhuman? Must it necessarily include it? What I like about the notion of hyposubjects is that it feels subtractive. You take away some features of the subject, thus allowing it to percolate into other domains

Ray Kurzweil has proposed a remake of the classic idea that humans can use AI to upload themselves into the cloud. That we’re capable of transcending ourselves. That we’re hypersubjects like Heidegger’s idea of Dasein allows other beings to fall into its lawn-mowing path

Maybe the whole idea of hyposubjects is that we’re talking about beings that can’t actually transcend itself. A kind of Western agricultural mode, which remains one of our big problems, is a kind of dispositif, a paraknowledge regime.

It’s an elephant in the room that sucks other beings into its orbit, and disposes of them. It seems to me that the project is to think of a way to crawl out from under it rather than to transcend it, because transcendence is precisely the operational mode of agriculture.

Transcendence is a powerful and seductive fantasy. “We’re going to somehow transcend our material conditions. It’s exactly the same as when you talk to people invested in the oil and gas industry about technological breakthrough in carbon sequestration

The point being that even if that’s true, this is a moment in which to think otherwise. Even if we could push a button to make our problems go away, would we want to live in a world where the button-pushing is done by a massive oil corporation ran by a transcendence epistemic?

In a way, everything is shaping the world to its own ends. The problem being the philosophy behind the agrilogistics is, when scaled up to earth magnitude, obviously toxic to other life forms establishing a rigid boundary between what is inside and outside social space

We need to pay attention to the fact that we are interconnected with other beings. Ie, between cattle who die in genocidal industrial slaughterhouses and humans who are being driven to become refugees. Both are forms of life that are being extinguished by interrelated processes

We need to recognize and recover the enormous quantity of nonhuman and human labor that was required to constitute Modernity. That labor has been completely silenced and occluded behind institutional walls. We only hear about human invention and genius and breakthroughs.

We never hear about all the life that was orchestrated to make it happen, he says. “This is all about transcendence again. We can’t allow it to become an ontological reduction to a general category of life,”

No one physicist could possibly be in charge of CERN anymore, if at all, ever, he says. We can’t allow it to become an ontological reduction to a general category of life, a One that unites us all. If we’re all the same underneath, then it’s even easier to manipulate us.

Or maybe instead of thinking of ourselves as everything, we could think of ourselves as an enormous something that isn’t everything. All qualities we attribute to god are qualities of us that we’ve alienated. So, god is love means love is god, as John Lennon said.

A point about the Nietzschean übermensch is about what über means in German, it’s not ‘over;’ so ‘overman’ is the wrong translation. Über is more like a volcano whose lava is spilling outside of its crater. It’s a condition of excess so übermensch is the excessively human,

It’s the being that’s always already spilling outside of itself. There one also senses the deeper crypto-Hegelian trope of constant dialectical process in which becoming is always overwhelming being, always confronting it, negating it, leaving being

There’s an excess, but it’s not something that’s bursting out, but rather imploding. An imploded form of subjectivity is worth considering as an antidote. One that is denser, but also more aware of the architecture of its density and of the gravitational forces that hold it

What would it be if we weren’t beings who established our destiny.’ What if that wasn’t what being an entity consisted of. It would have to be thinkable along the lines, articulated in there. The notion of a multiplicity of physical qualities that can’t be reduced to,

Hyposubjects necessarily include nonhumans, because hyposubjectivity always has more in it than it itself. The whole is always less than the sum of its parts. Think of Houston, as megacity, is much less than the totality of all the houses and streets and pathways and sprawl t

The emphasis on knowledge, inevi­tably involves a new project of mastery and transcendence through incorporation. We’re very good at it. We’ve practiced it in many different modes for at least 12,500 years.

In the next ten years, something the size of a blood cell maybe will have an iPhone’s computing power. This going to involve an awful lot of rare Earth elements and electricity.The whole techno-fantasy is really about transcending the physical in the final analysis.

The transcendence narrative has to do with inhabiting some grid­like structure that’s much bigger than me, in a much better way, he says. White masculinity is just software loaded onto a machine, but it seems preferable to living as wetware.

Their idea of transcendence Is basically Christian millennial apocalypticism without the inconvenience of sin and redemption. Transcendence is not going to be a Terminator scenario.: It’s a sweet spot fantasy in which we have transcen­dence of the human without catastrophe

We already are part of intelligences that totally outstrips you. We’re sur­rounded by things that are much more clever than us, just by dint of being a part of a biosphere. This whole techno-fantasy is really about transcending the physical in the final analysis.

Whats scary about artificial intel­ligence being smarter than you is scary about women being more powerful than you. I suspect the whole singularity fantasy is a displaced reaction to feminism. And mortality and reproduction and children

The transcendence narrative inhabit some grid­like structure that’s much bigger than me, that enables me to be much more powerful “I’m going to wait until I’m as great as I can possibly be before I figure out what to do” And then, we’ll be able to look after the animals.

So here’s the politics of something we might call subscendence as opposed to transcendence. Dismantle the apocalypse. The important thing being not so much the content conveyed, but rather the energetic infrastructure itself.

The medium is the message so to speak

I try to subscend my fantasy of a perfect marriage between the misogynistically disembodied matrix and my power trip. That becomes an identifica­tion with the poor nonhuman beings, such as one’s own flesh, that have gone to the trouble of allowing me to think fantasies of myself

The insight is that a given concept set is actually ontologi­cally smaller than the things it’s drawing a line around. Subscendence happens when a set of things begins to exit its concept and becomes its own entities.

What if neoliberalism (always one step ahead of you) its more like a T-Rex, a big, scary creature with tiny little arms that can easily topple over and become extinct. Bailing out could be ridiculously easy. 12,000 is a long time but it’s also not eternity

*12,000 years

One of the limits we are facing is that our inherited critical practice often wishes to offer a hyperobjective solution to a hyper­objective problem. Once upon a time what was going to save us was the proletariat. But the proletariat is a hyperob­ject if I’ve ever heard of one.

It’s the imagined holistic antidote to the generalization of bourgeois society on a global basis.

Marx never used the word “capitalism.” Not once. I don’t think he saw the society he opposed as being ontologically systemic or even whole. It was always about capital for him, which was the formalization, but diverse for­malization, of productive activity.

In the 20th century meanwhile, from the 1930s onwards there’s such a strong influence of cybernetic and other electronic modes of thinking. The proposition of auto­poietic systematicity is again the same holistic Ontology in a differ­ent costume.

Systematicity is a wholly death-driven and transcendent fantasy, which is the kind of Ontology this planet can no longer afford. It also reinforces a kind of paranoia that isn’t helpful, he says. It’s more like think­ing about an algorithm.

You have these materials to do this thing and then you pay people just a little bit less for more work or ask a little bit more work for the same amount of money and that’s how you turn M into M’, right? It’s an algorithmic procedure.

But you can also imag­ine a different procedure that doesn’t sap the soil and the worker in the same way and which would thus cause the first algorithm to die on the vine.

There’s no need for this bleak sense that we’re all part of a system. Everything’s going to be co-opted in advance; all of our Resistance is futile.
Yes. All of our resistance is futile, and yet we’re going to resist anyway.

There’s a way of integrating the vulnerabilities that does not include the heroic savior which is another transcendental trick even to the point of paranoia about hypersubjects adopting the language of hyposubjects as a philosophical escape pod for the conditions they created

Desire is a product of, well-nourished types that by virtue of income need no fat storage. Desire is the nub of the problem. I want infinity in the infinity.

The trouble is that the psychoanalytic formulization of consumerism, also contains within it a kind of sadism. I can do anything because everyone is manipulable

A sugar high is apparently so potent that it was worth organizing a global apparatus of agriculture, slave labor and transportation to make it available on demand

The fantasy that I can do anything to anything is predicated on my always already being caught in a force field between me and at least one other entity that’s already doing something to me. The Coke bottle is hailing me.

Subscendence doesn’t necessarily mean that we want less food. In other words, pathologizing obese people is a like another kind of magic bullet/transcendent solution, like if we could just get rid of gluten! If we could take that out, the whole system would function smoothly.

Smooth functioning is itself a concept. And we keep on wanting smooth functioning to function smoothly. We want this idea that problems can be patched over. Even a lot of environmentalism seems to be saying: if we just fixed this one little thing, then we’ll be okay.

Ecological politics shouldn’t be about trying to make things function smoothly. The smooth functioning period of consumerism is called “need”. At some point we knew what we want, and we wanted what we knew. And then we started invent- ing new needs.

Then there was an excess and the system broke down, and now we have luxury products and desire. Consumerism didn’t invent desire; it’s logically prior. One task we have is to disentangle desire from the way it’s been captured by neoliberalism.

The inverse of obesity is the desire to look thin and muscular and blissfully free of fat which is then stored somewhere else. We need to recognize the material basis of pleasure and craving, the chemicals and neurotransmitters that are involved in the operation of desire.

There’s never enough of salt. It’s just that varying amounts of sodium across that barrier end up causing or inhibiting the flow of ions through the channel. There’s an off-switch in your brain for sugar. You don’t have an on-switch for salt

What is distinctive about the contemporary economy of pleasure is that it’s objective is apparently to stay in a pleasured state constantly, to stay as consistently high as possible, whether that’s through sugar or alcohol or a variety of pharmaceuticals

Fitness can participate in the same economy to the extent that one is chasing endorphin rushes there as well. What has changed is that there’s no longer oscillation, or when one comes down, you’re falling farther and faster than ever before.

So that is medicalized too, as “depression,” the retreat from pleasure, a pathological inability to get high despite the happy abundance of options. The unexpected byproduct of modern temporality is that now even wfh we expect the potentiation of pleasure at all time

A big part of the issue with the Anthropocene is how to deal with certain magnitudes of energy use. Consumerism is obviously part of that problem, with all those flights to Caribbean.

Subscendence helps by revealing that consumerism is filled with vacancies and those vacancies point toward a practice of squatting. Small and seemingly insignificant occupations that can reform our present conditions and relations in a less “catastrophogenic” direction

The challenge is creating spaces of intermediacy. We’re living in a culture of either immediacy or infinite postponement of gratification. The desire loop has to do with infinite desire and therefore infinite dissatisfaction + infinitesimal immediate gratification simultaneously

The rise of Fordism and Taylorism led to the domestication of a certain kind of machinic manual labor. By the 1970s it became obvious that that productive model compromised life and environment at every turn. Pressure mounted to send industry elsewhere, increasingly to Asia

Then we could enjoy the fruits of industrial productivity but not suffer negative environmental effects. What are good middle class subjects in the Global North going to do with themselves if they’re not working a factory job? And that dilemma created the “knowledge economy”

With fewer people working now, it truly reveals how capitalism is about exploitation of surplus labor time. Even leisure time is turning into labor now, especially with the Internet. The Internet started off in academia and the military and now it’s everybody.

Part of the fantasy was that our new interactive digital technologies and artificial intelligence have finally provided us with our long promised absolute leisure conditions. But of course we then discover that that leisure is empty and purposeless and filled with yearning.

The message being that it’s fine that what our actually-existing digital technologies did over the past thirty years was to recolonize our leisure time as forms of usually unwaged work. Patriarchy plus washing machines.

There’s so much maintenance. Maintaining machineries is what we’re about. Maybe not machines of iron but of silicon and electricity. Not to mention maintaining a smoothly functioning agrilogistical project.

At all costs, we have to keep the smooth functioning going, and we have to keep the smooth functioning of smooth functioning going. We want to believe that every bit of sand can be made a pearl.

tldr:

Hyposubjects is about the possibility of encountering something of a radically different scale and significance. It is about experience of messianic time (time of a ‘specific recognisability). Not just slogging through linear time, getting a loot and then gtfo

Hyperbolic Discount

Far out, man, the whole avoiding-hell racket is a cosmic con job! Sure, dodging the fiery furnace down the line might seem like the ultimate score, but zoom in, baby, zoom in. We’re talking about living, breathing, now, and the now is a cracked mirror reflecting a reality gone batshit. We’re strung out on this consumerist joyride, guzzling down fossil fuel Kool-Aid, all the while the icecaps are melting faster than a slug on a salt lick.

And the kicker? We ain’t even paying the goddamn tab. We’re pushing the bill onto the squares down the line, the ones who haven’t even hit puberty yet. Talk about a bad trip, man, that’s some intergenerational roach motel right there. We’re building our empires on quicksand, blinded by the flashing neon signs advertising the latest status symbol, while the whole damn platform starts to wobble and groan.

Word on the street is, the bill comes due eventually, and let me tell you, the interest rates on this ecological credit card are astronomical. Forget fiery pits, we’re talking about a future where the air is so thick you can chew it, and the water tastes like battery acid. And who gets to enjoy this dystopian Disneyland? Not the fat cats lining their pockets with green now, that’s for sure. It’s the kids, the ones who never asked for this joyride, who get stuck holding the bag of radioactive waste.

So, yeah, dodging hell might be the ultimate score, but the price of admission is living in a world that’s already half-melted and crumbling at the seams. We’re fiddling while Rome burns, man, and the flames are licking at our heels. Maybe it’s time to wake up from this consumerist coma, dig? Maybe it’s time to stop pushing the bill onto the next generation and start cleaning up the mess we’ve made. Otherwise, the only escape from this particular hell might be a one-way ticket to Mars… and even that ain’t guaranteed.

Adam Curtis’ “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”


Unraveling the Metaphysical Indeterminacy

Adam Curtis, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker, has carved a niche for himself with his thought-provoking and visually stunning works that dissect the complexities of power, politics, and society. In his latest series, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” Curtis once again delves deep into the labyrinth of human history, weaving together disparate threads to illuminate the metaphysical indeterminacy that defines our collective consciousness. This essay explores the enigmatic allure of Curtis’ storytelling prowess, characterized by his unique blend of historical analysis, cultural critique, and philosophical inquiry.

What sets Curtis apart from other documentarians is his ability to navigate the murky waters of memory and meaning, eschewing conceptual vagueness in favor of metaphysical indeterminacy. Rather than providing clear-cut answers or definitive conclusions, Curtis invites viewers on a mesmerizing journey through the tangled web of history, where past and present intertwine in a kaleidoscope of images, ideas, and emotions. Like a carpet bomber of memory flotsam, he unleashes a torrent of archival footage, interviews, and soundscapes, leaving us to sift through the debris in search of elusive truths.

In “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” Curtis explores the changing face of Britain through the lens of Fu Manchu, the fictional villain whose image became synonymous with orientalist stereotypes and colonial fears. Through this unlikely juxtaposition, Curtis unpacks the complex legacy of British imperialism, tracing its roots back to the slave trade and opium wars that fueled the empire’s expansion. Yet, even as Britain grapples with its dark past, Curtis reveals how the end of empire spurred a collective amnesia, allowing the nation to reinvent itself and escape the burden of history.

Dear old Blighty, as Curtis affectionately refers to Britain, emerges as both a symbol of resilience and a testament to the power of forgetting. While the nation remains unforgiven for its atrocities, it also refuses to be defined by them, embracing a narrative of reinvention and redemption. Yet, lurking beneath the surface lies a profound ambivalence, as Britain struggles to reconcile its imperial past with its postcolonial present. In praising forgetting, Curtis shines a harsh light on the contradictions and complexities of national identity, challenging us to confront the uncomfortable truths that lie at the heart of our collective consciousness.

In conclusion, Adam Curtis’ “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” is a mesmerizing exploration of metaphysical indeterminacy, weaving together the disparate strands of history, culture, and memory to reveal the complex tapestry of human experience. Through his masterful storytelling and incisive analysis, Curtis invites us to confront the contradictions and ambiguities that define our understanding of the past and present. In the end, his work serves as a poignant reminder of the power of forgetting, and the enduring quest for meaning in a world shaped by the ghosts of our collective past.

Failure Mode

Failure mode is a term that is commonly used to describe the state of an object or system when it is no longer able to perform its intended function. This can occur in a variety of contexts, from the failure of a mechanical system to the failure of a relationship. Understanding failure mode is crucial in identifying potential problems and preventing catastrophic failures.

The concept of failure mode is important in engineering and manufacturing, where the failure of a product can have serious consequences. In these industries, failure mode analysis is used to identify potential points of failure in a product or system. This process involves breaking down the product or system into its individual components and analyzing how each component may fail. By understanding the failure modes of each component, engineers can design products that are more resilient and less likely to fail.

Failure mode analysis can also be applied to human systems, such as relationships and organizations. In these contexts, failure mode can refer to the breakdown of communication, trust, or cooperation between individuals or groups. This can lead to a breakdown of the relationship or organization, and can have serious consequences for those involved.

One of the challenges of understanding failure mode is that it is often unpredictable. While engineers and designers can anticipate some failure modes, there are always unforeseen circumstances that can lead to failure. This is why it is important to not only understand failure mode, but also to build systems that are resilient in the face of failure. This involves designing systems that can withstand unexpected failures and quickly recover from them.

In addition, it is important to recognize that failure can be a valuable learning experience. When a failure occurs, it is important to analyze what went wrong and why it happened. This can help us identify potential problems before they occur and improve our systems to prevent future failures.

Overall, understanding failure mode is crucial in preventing catastrophic failures and designing resilient systems. Whether in engineering, manufacturing, or human relationships, failure mode analysis is an important tool for identifying potential problems and developing solutions. By recognizing the unpredictable nature of failure and learning from our failures, we can build systems that are more robust and better able to withstand unexpected challenges.

Firstly, it is important to understand how our current system fails. Whether it be in our personal lives or in the wider society, there are always ways in which things can go wrong. For example, a company may fail due to poor leadership, a relationship may fail due to lack of communication, or a government may fail due to corruption. It is important to recognize these failures and understand why they occurred so that we can work towards preventing them in the future.

  1. A mechanical system may fail due to wear and tear on its components, causing it to break down or malfunction.
  2. A software system may fail due to a programming error, resulting in crashes or incorrect output.
  3. A communication system may fail due to interference or signal loss, resulting in disrupted or lost messages.
  4. A transportation system may fail due to accidents, congestion, or weather conditions, resulting in delays or cancellations.
  5. A financial system may fail due to market fluctuations or economic crises, resulting in losses for investors or businesses.
  6. A political system may fail due to corruption, incompetence, or lack of public trust, resulting in political instability or social unrest.
  7. A healthcare system may fail due to shortages of staff or resources, resulting in poor patient care or medical errors.
  8. An energy system may fail due to supply disruptions, equipment failures, or environmental disasters, resulting in power outages or fuel shortages.
  9. A security system may fail due to breaches in cybersecurity or physical security measures, resulting in data theft or physical harm.
  10. A social system may fail due to discrimination, inequality, or social injustice, resulting in social unrest or disenfranchisement of certain groups.

Secondly, we need to understand how well our current system works in failure mode. When we are in a state of failure, it can be difficult to navigate our way out of it. However, it is important to acknowledge that failure can sometimes be a necessary step towards success. In some cases, failure can help us learn from our mistakes and improve our future actions. Therefore, it is important to have systems in place that can help us bounce back from failure and move forward.

  1. An elevator that is stuck between floors but still able to open and close its doors.
  2. A car that has a flat tire but can still be driven at a reduced speed.
  3. A phone that has a cracked screen but is still able to make and receive calls.
  4. A computer that is running slowly due to malware but is still able to perform basic functions.
  5. A printer that is low on ink but can still print documents with reduced quality.
  6. A clock that is losing time but still able to display the time with some degree of accuracy.
  7. A refrigerator that is not cooling properly but still able to keep food at a slightly above room temperature.
  8. A water heater that is not producing hot water at full capacity but still able to provide some hot water.
  9. A radio that has poor reception but can still play music with some static.
  10. A lightbulb that is flickering but still able to provide some light.

Finally, it is important to recognize that the mode of failure cannot be predicted from what we’ve seen so far. We may think we understand why something failed based on past experiences, but there may be underlying factors that we are not aware of. This is especially true in complex systems such as the economy or political systems. Therefore, it is important to approach failure with an open mind and be willing to adapt our thinking as we learn more.

In conclusion, just because we are operating in failure mode most of the time, we cannot take for granted our understanding of how our current system fails, how well it works in failure mode, and how the mode of failure cannot be predicted from what we’ve seen so far. It is important to be aware of these ideas and how they affect our daily lives. By recognizing failure, understanding how to navigate failure mode, and being open to learning, we can work towards building better systems that are resilient in the face of failure.

Mehrwert: Value Added vs Surplus Value

The term “Mehrwert” is a German word that has different translations depending on the context and the perspective of the translator. In the economic context, “Mehrwert” is often translated as “value added,” while in the Marxist tradition, it is translated as “surplus value.” This difference in translation reflects a fundamental divide in economic and political thought that has existed for centuries.

The concept of “value added” is widely used in economic theory and practice. It refers to the additional value that is created by a company or organization through its production process. This additional value is created by using inputs such as labor, capital, and materials to produce a final product that is worth more than the sum of its parts. Value added is often used as a measure of economic growth and productivity, and it is a key component of many national and international economic statistics.

The concept of “surplus value,” on the other hand, is a central idea in Marxist economic theory. It refers to the additional value that is created by workers through their labor, beyond the value of their wages. According to Marx, workers produce more value than they are paid for, and this surplus value is appropriated by capitalists as profit. The exploitation of surplus value is seen as a fundamental characteristic of capitalist economic systems, and it is a key component of Marxist critiques of capitalism.

The translation of “Mehrwert” as either “value added” or “surplus value” reflects different economic and political perspectives. Those who translate it as “value added” often see economic growth and productivity as positive outcomes, and they focus on the role of businesses and organizations in creating value. Those who translate it as “surplus value” often see the exploitation of workers and the accumulation of profit by capitalists as negative outcomes, and they focus on the role of class struggle and political change in addressing these issues.

The debate over the translation of “Mehrwert” reflects broader debates about the role of economics in society and the relationship between economic growth and social justice. While some argue that economic growth is essential for improving living standards and reducing poverty, others argue that it is necessary to address the unequal distribution of wealth and power in society. The translation of “Mehrwert” is just one example of how different economic and political perspectives can shape our understanding of economic concepts and their implications for society.

In conclusion, the translation of “Mehrwert” as either “value added” or “surplus value” reflects different economic and political perspectives on the role of production, labor, and profit in society. While both concepts have their merits, they also reflect different assumptions about the nature of economic growth and social justice. As we continue to debate these issues, it is important to consider the broader implications of economic theory and practice for society as a whole.

Web3: The New Freemasons

The emergence of Web3 and crypto has led to the development of new forms of collective action and community-building that have yet to fully unfold. As these technologies continue to evolve, we may see the emergence of a new form of Masonic tropes, where the ideals of ‘civic nationalism’ and the practices of Freemasonry are translated into a collective mission of mindfulness and society-building. However, this revival may only be a half-arsed attempt, straddling between nationalist and globalist understandings over collective attachments.

Freemasonry is an organization that has been shrouded in mystery for centuries, with its members bound by secret oaths and symbols. Its practices and principles have often been associated with a sense of exclusivity and elitism, as well as with ideals of civility and morality. The emergence of Web3 and crypto has presented an opportunity to revive some of the ideals of Freemasonry in a new form, potentially combining the values of civic nationalism with a focus on mindfulness and social responsibility.

However, this new form of Masonic tropes may be a half-arsed attempt, as it attempts to straddle between nationalist and globalist understandings over collective attachments. Nationalism and globalism represent two competing perspectives on collective identity and attachment, with nationalism emphasizing a strong sense of attachment to one’s nation, while globalism emphasizes a sense of shared humanity and a rejection of borders.

The new Freemasons may attempt to incorporate both of these perspectives, creating a pragmatic approach that seeks to contain and incorporate both nationalist and globalist tendencies within an exclusivist bunch of new practices. This approach may be seen as a way to bridge the gap between these competing perspectives, but it may also risk alienating those who strongly identify with one or the other.

Furthermore, the attempt to incorporate both nationalist and globalist tendencies may lead to a watered-down version of the original Masonic tropes, lacking the depth and authenticity that characterized the original organization. This may be due to the fact that the new Freemasons are seeking to please everyone, rather than staying true to their core principles and values.

In conclusion, the emergence of Web3 and crypto presents an opportunity for a new form of Masonic tropes that combines the ideals of ‘civic nationalism’ and the practices of Freemasonry with a focus on mindfulness and society-building. However, this revival may only be a half-arsed attempt, straddling between nationalist and globalist understandings over collective attachments. This approach may risk alienating those who strongly identify with one or the other, while also leading to a watered-down version of the original Masonic tropes. Ultimately, it remains to be seen how this new form of Masonic tropes will unfold, and whether it will be successful in creating a meaningful and authentic community of like-minded individuals.