Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
In the 1980s and 1990s Japan claimed a small amount of revenge for WWII atrocities by capturing the imaginations of Americans, by means of business executives mimicking “just-in-time” and other Japanese business practices and American youth turning to Japanese media, first video games and then anime. America was thought by Americans to be too big, too obnoxious, too arrogant, too abusive, with the remedy being the small, humble, and industrious Japanese (stereotypes of course but readily believed). With “I Think I’m Turning Japanese”, The Cure, and Mario being cute, determined, and industrious playing in the background, America would cure itself of it’s terrible arrogance and become one with the new world order, an alternative vision to the Neoconservative model of global domination.
The 1997 Asian financial crisis (aka the International Monetary Fund crisis) had a profound impact on the region and irrevocable hurt economic relations between Japan and the US, allowing South Korea to replace Japan as the region’s most dynamic economy. Sony’s decline began while Samsung became the new Sony.
There’s a problem here for Americans, one no amount of Starcraft and Starcraft 2 can quite solve. Americans cannot figure out their relationship to South Korea. While Japan was the humble cure for American arrogance, the sheer inhumanity of Flash’s cyborg twitch reflects a lack of meaning at the core of the South Korean project. This has resulted in a dramatically different relationship between Americans (and other Westerners) and the Asian country – from the warm and hopeful embrace of Nintendo and anime to a fearful attempt to catch up to the juggernaut of South Korean gaming, with frequent refrains of variations of “we bow before our South Korean overlords”.
As the glistening metal of South Korea’s high-tech cities climbs to the sky, we’re left wondering just where, beyond transhumanism, androids, and cybernetic sex dolls, the future they envision is going to lead us.
Two sides of the same coin. What makes itself easily seen can be easily watched.
What is watched is not trusted.
A lesser known introduction to the 1990s was made alongside George Bush’s “New World Order” and Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history”. 1992’s Basic Instinct prophetized the rise of the online porn industry and one side of the cover for the surveillance state.
Prior to the 1990s there was an honored principle – privacy. When Americans no longer trusted themselves, finally breaking under the fear-driving of the Reagan Administration, they replaced privacy with transparency. Instead of wanting to not intrude upon others and not want to be intruded upon, they opened the doors wide and pried the doors of others open.
The Subway restaurant chain has grown into a global behemoth surpassing McDonald’s substantially as a result of their transparent meal preparation process.
One cover for this brave new world is the desire to save the world. Privacy limits the amount of information we have on each other, but when (arguably all of us) are trying to save the world, we need to break down all obstacles that prevent us from maximizing our knowledge, and what’s a little thing like privacy to stand in the way?
So privacy is antiquated, Americans tell us. Sigh, sigh, sigh, we just can’t afford privacy anymore.
The result is that we create humans whose identities form around their desire to be watched. So body consciousness, which we call shallow but in truth is no longer shallow, it’s a deep cultural reality at this point, is at a historical peak. Humans become drama queens, where everything in their life is super-important and of interest to everyone. One glimpse at “reality television” shows us the modern humans we are creating.
Humans become super-antisocial, of which the human networking trend is one example. When everyone is watching you and you lose the desire to be alone there’s no point in having an identity designed by oneself – one’s identity becomes what the viewers desire. Therefore one cannot be social, which implies the relating of oneself to another person, no more than a robot or a zombie can be social. Robots and zombies can do plenty of “social” networking though.
Oh we viewers are so special! Everything must bow before our gaze.
And, we grimly believe, everything will.
We are so brave to venture boldly into this new world without even a glance at our surroundings. Who needs to look around when we are the chosen ones who will save the world? Noone can tell us we’re wrong – we’re super right all the time!
Quite possibly the beginning of the elite’s wanton destruction of the planet came when they dreamt of dominating the universe. This adds up historically, as the industrial revolution followed the major astronomical discoveries and the desire to colonize outer space.
So the “endgame” for most of us may well be called New World 2.0 – outer space or more specifically some determined new homeworld for the elite and whichever human slaves they select to join them. Humanity at large will rot on whatever is left of earth.
As the elite sail away on their “brave sailing ships”, valiant pilgrims all, they will weep sorrowful tears, but with gaze outward and hope filling their hearts, and arms locked with each other as they proclaim themselves the “special chosen ones” who will rebuild a new humanity (according to them, with superior DNA).
There’s a deeply tragic irony here. Humans looked into space and saw themselves as meaningless specks in the “greater cosmos”. But in responding to that emotion, in their “quest for space”, they have destroyed the only meaningful thing in their reality – their own world.
What does a priest who sees the glory of heaven do upon his “return to earth”? He shits on it, because he is forced to live on the dirty, filthy, horrible earth while God and angels get to be in heaven.
The elite, who hold the only meaningful thing in reality in utter contempt, shit on that reality every moment of every day. And we let them.
Much is said nowadays of The Rapture, about the “chosen ones” transcending the world and rising to heaven while the ones “left behind” suffer in eternal hell. It’s unfortunate that secular America so often treats this as a religious issue and with respect to “Christian America” – it’s most important analogy is with respect to colonizing space.
We often wonder why “Christian America” is all about accumulating capital these days. Well, if only the rich can “transcend the world”…
And prior to “transcending the world”, the elite will need to survive long enough on the rapidly-becoming-hell earth to enable their Rapture.
Secular America typically explains the “death of the left” during the 1990s in America with the blow to the left dealt by the fall of Soviet Communism and the supposed “end of history” with the eternal condition of free market capitalism. But there’s another explanation – the 1990s saw the rise in consciousness in humans of the end of the natural world. In the face of this despair humans became more entrenched in distraction and entertainment, and more beholden to capitalism with it’s ethos of “looking out for #1″.
Someone drowning doesn’t save the world. He lashes out at anything to grab onto to save himself.
Something rarely spoken but true – solidarity requires *strength*.
Television is largely about protecting oneself from reality. It’s the intentional interaction with unreal events – artificial creations, people pretending to be other people (acting), people and events which have no relationship to one except through the poverty of the television screen.
Two cultural creations were invented at about the same time – television remote controls and video games. The similarities are striking – both increase a “user’s” control over this technological environment. Video games take the next step in domination – enabling the “player” to possess a digital agent, controlling his every move. It is this power and control over the digital environment that is the primary source of pleasure found in playing video games.
A substantial aspect of culture over the past few thousand years has been the struggle to free oneself from slavery of various forms – the current form of slavery is capitalist slavery, otherwise known as wage slavery. One of the most insidious methods the elite currently use to ward off attempts at freedom is to corrupt the slaves by making them masters of their own little worlds. So people click away with their remote controls, enjoying their power and control over what appears on the television screen, or progress through a game – they are masters of those domains.
In this way the elite are training the slaves – teaching them to become masters, teaching them the thrill of mastery, of control, of domination, but always in an environment controlled by the elite themselves.
This is a reply to an essay about the corporate media’s destruction of reality and democracy in America:
The American people are ignorant about class reality. The poor don’t have enough time to learn about the monstrosity of the corporate media and are shunned by the state. The middle class doesn’t want to know about class reality since they benefit from it. There are no structures in the United States which cause Americans to understand politics to an extent where they can critique the state and it’s many appendages. BAR does not speak to the masses and hence cannot substantially shape a democracy.
Until politics is the 1st priority of Americans – not entertainment, not technology, not wealth-accumulation, there are too many distractions and America is timed-out of any ability to instigate change.
It hardly matters how right BAR is if there are few people to hear it and fewer yet to understand it, since Lost is on and the Ipod is way cool and a 2nd job is necessary to buy all the things the TV says to buy.
It’s not JUST the corporate media – it’s the entire imperial system that ensures the perpetuation of it’s own power and the oppression, terror, and ultimately the destruction of everyone else.
We need to not so much argue for one or another political position as argue for the importance of politics itself – the importance of improving the human condition through politics – of helping ourselves through politics. Every thriving democracy in the world features a populace which makes politics it’s 1st priority. It’s not the Corporate Media that is killing democracy – it’s misplaced priorities.
All you can eat buffet, no weigh
Weigh! 300+ TV channels, a savory delight
The endless supermarket, stocked to the brim
There is abundance everywhere
Don’t go outside, oh no, oh no, please no
Don’t see the dirty grime, don’t see the abandoned playground
Don’t see the angry cop, don’t see the forlorn wanderer
Wait! Marvel of marvels, the videogame! Come back inside
Play, play, dream of transformation, dream of digital hope
Let’s spend the next decade arguing about Grand Theft Auto
Let’s spend the decade after a smear on Tim Leary’s brain
Let’s spend the final decade in a glorious spiral
What’s next? What comes after in-your-face television?
What comes after movies blasting sound, furiously waving?
Surely an experience even more spastic, overwhelming
Surely an event to finally make us forget who we are
Destructive weapons will end all war
In a world a mistake away from annihilation
Where everyone is terrified to strike their neighbor
After we’ve attained eternal peace let’s take the next step in humanity
Since we know so much about humanity
Since we know how to control human biology, and control is everything
Greater than human, better than human
Machines inside us to control our organs, enhance our muscle
Enhance our pleasure, a competitive edge
That’s what evolution is all about, the monsters say
Progress, human progress, scientific progress
Noone asks why – only how, when, and where
The posthuman a celebration – but of what?
Of mechanical function? Of longevity?
We take the human of which we hold little but ignorance
Modify him, alter him, into a state of permanent change
We attempt to control what we don’t understand
And feel pleasure at preventing that understanding