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12.01.2005

The Great Escape

The Robert Fogel interview at Tech Central (link above) highlights another history of runaway technologies, engaged in what Fogel calls 'techno-physio evolution.' Most interesting, though, are the connections he draws with the deline of the West, which, is:

"terribly important to Western Europe. Italy, I mean, Italy, the home of the Vatican, has a total fertility rate of 1.4. To maintain the population, you have to have a total fertility rate of 2.1, so Italy is facing a rapid decline. The Italian government is doing everything it can to promote higher fertility rate. Otherwise in 100 years, Italy will have a third of its current population -- assuming no migration into or out of the country, just from natural increase."
 

Feeling of Freedom


[im]pulse [control disorder]
Originally uploaded by Esther_G.
"The responses are neurobiologically real responses. They are just not how you say you felt." (Tor Wager)

"In the first days after the tragedy, alongside the hunt for bodies and people to blame, some voices described 9/11 as a uniquely evil act. But of course, as others quickly pointed out, it was not. Not only had there been an earlier attempt to destroy the World Trade Centre (linked to Al-Qaeda , the same radical Islamic group which would be blamed for 9/11), but America had previously suffered terrorism on its own soil and from its own citizens. Timothy McVeigh's politically motivated bombing of a government building in Oklahoma on 19 April 1995 killed 168 government employees and civilians and injured over 500. And McVeigh's attack was itself only the latest in a genealogy of terrorism driven by political and/or religious motives, a worldwide genealogy stretching back far beyond 1950. Elements of that dark lineage have triggered renewed discussion of brainwashing ever since the term became available; 9/11 was no exception." (Kathleen Taylor, Brainwashing).

The sorcery of the religious veil is cooked up again in the recent discussion of epigenesis and the brainscape in last week's New Scientist, and in far more depth in Kathleen Taylor's 'Brainwashing'. Maybe the resurgence of the Intelligent Design debate has offered a new plane of understanding of religious activity in cybernetic culture - true belief as the limits of society. More importantly, though, as these articles highlight, is the underground circuitry which runs through the geosocial into our physiological make-up. Modulation of sensation occurs via vast cog-webs according to Taylor - neural nets which cross people, societies, and the globe. Focusing on how the media are plugged in to the modulation of these cog-webs, she suggests that: "stealth is an easier option than force, especially when the belief change need only be temporary."

People have been engaged in affective programming for aeons, as well as other life forms; as Richard Doyle points out, "The ethnobotanist and "shamanologist" Terrence McKenna was a proponent of the "stoned monkey" theory, whereby primates learned to use tryptamines (especially psilocybin) as adjuncts to more perceptive and effective hunting." With the advent of nanoengineering, neural networks become infinitely programmable in visions such as Kurzweils (www.kurzweilai.net). Andy Clark, a neurophilosopher states that "The human mind, I wanted to argue, is naturally designed so as to co-opt a mounting cascade of extra-neural elements as (quite literally) parts of extended and distributed cognitive processes. Moreover (and hence the techno-futurism) this ancient trick looks poised for some new and potent manifestations, fueled by innovative work on human-machine interfaces, swarm intelligence, and bio-technological union." (www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/staff/clark)

The extended cog-web crossing cybernetic culture with its feedback soft-belief mechanisms hides behind the mask of the 'feeling of freedom' - religious transcendence is swapped for the 'pure value' of the self, locked in to the oedipal ego system of hypercapital.

"I at once started to my feet, trembling convulsively in every fibre. Perspiration burst from every pore, and stood in big cold beads upon my forehead." (Edgar Allen Poe)
 

9.01.2005

Folding the future


Virtual hummingbird
Originally uploaded by SantaRosa.
"Science fiction and its relatives have been a main artery for recasting our imagination." (Walter Mosley)

Reality in the cybernetic era is not simply understood in terms of the technosphere, bequeathing our heritage to technical machines in species war's and silicon mind uploads. This is only a part of it. Wiener, the so called Father of cybernetics, was terrified of the terrain he had tapped in to. He truly understood that the immanence information flows across and amongst the living, the nonliving, the human, the alien, will put an end to the barricades put in place by the Human Security System (HSS).

Reality in the cybernetic age is truly 'virtual' but not in the sense that Baudrillard etc. understand the simulation, there isn't a melancholic edge in sight, and, this is nothing new. Reality is always accessed in terms of both the virtual and the actual, the intensive, and the extensive, with no break between them, just a Baroque infinite folding. The virtual might be a kind of simulation zone, a zone of potential, of very blurred edges in curved space-time, but it is a real-simulation.

Fiction engages with the tendencies of this virtual-actual circuit, attempting to break open the virtual architecture of reality, and open up the Bergsonian potential of matter. Cyberpunk, ribofunk, nanopunk. Fiction and film can extract tendencies of the present and simulate them into a near future immersive world in a rewind circuitry which reengineers the present. This is proleptic thought, recasting our imaginations outside of integrated thought and mechanistic linear time frames. Repotentialisation of the present.