In 1995 Luhmann could say … ” Transformation that are just spectacular can be named at the macro-level. The tremendously rapid development of international financial markets, the appearance of ever newer financial instruments, and the concomitant volatility of all monetary investments have literally swept from the market more or less profound attempts at a socialist politics motivated by social ethics, reducing them in politics itself to residues of rhetorical controversies...” That this is not a sustainable argument, that it is not reasonably rationality 20 years on … is crucial.
The data economy—the growth of mass data collection and tracking—is changing how power is perceived, Schneier said in his keynote speech. The Internet and technology has changed the impact a group can have on others, where dissidents can use the Internet to amplify their voices and extend their reach. Governments already have a lot of power to begin with, so when they take advantage of technology, their power is magnified, he said.
“That’s how you get weird situations where Syrian dissidents use Facebook to organize, and the government uses Facebook to arrest its citizens,” Schneier said.
Over the past few years, it’s become easier and cheaper to store data and search for the necessary item rather than to sort and delete. Email is a very good example of this shift in behavior. This change, spurred by the popularity of mobile devices and the push to move more data and services to the cloud has also made it easier to track user behavior. When corporations track users for marketing purposes, it seems benign, but the same actions come across as sinister when it’s the government…
…The government didn’t tell anyone they have to carry around a tracking device, but people now carry mobile devices. The government doesn’t require users to notify any agency about their relationships. Users will tell Facebook soon enough, Schneier noted. “Fundamentally, we have reached the golden age of surveillance because we are all being surveilled ubiquitously.”
[The ruling] ideology fulfils a perfect function in the social system, constructing the myths, the pseudo-reality and the joy of the social coercion that is so loved throughout the world. A pure fetishism. For individual people (singularities) inscribed into our current system, ideology and thus fetishism is a lived experience, one that we live without knowing “the motivating forces which set it in action”. The mode of operation charecteristic of the ideological process is here, in the final instance, to ensure that the real motivating forces are forgotten or operate silently, with the intention of making sure that individuals and collectives cannot see, except in exceptional circumstances, the origins of the existing social order and instead individuals experience it as a natural order.That it succeeds in obscuring as in a ‘camera obscura’ the instruments of social coercion, the social media and the mass media. The machines and technological instruments are always already social, always ideological. The fetishisized technological instruments are inseperable from the ideological processes of commodification, consumption and production etc: [“Our tourism, our television, our changes of fashion, alcoholism and drug addiction and sexism, our consumerism under a barrage of advertising, etc., reveal an immense boredness in our society. What has brought this about? A society that produces death as never before, but death without the transcendental, and without the transcendental which is the only present, to be more precise: our life as a fleeting moment of emptiness before death…”]
We can most simply say that any analyst of the ruling ideology,of the fetishisms it generates is going to be a partial critique because criticism and most forms of critique are parasitic forms. In this sense then the parasite is a microbe, an insiduous infection that takes without giving and weakens without killing. The parasite is also a guest, who exchanges his talk, praise and flattery for food. The parasite is noise as well, static in the system or interference in the communicatin channel. In these three variants criticism, analysis exists.
In the sense touched on here there is little difference in the nature of the analysts critique. Whether its the partial critique of an identity politics, the partial structural critique of democracy and political economy, or the postmodern critique of actors and networks. The analyst is a parasite… Consider an analyst…(a parasite obviously) Perhaps for the moment the example of the bourgeois discourse on youth which if the analyst disentangles the actuality of youthful existence, the framework from the myths, the analyst will discover a refusal on the part of the majority of readers to accept the the results of the analysis. That is to say they will refuse to accept that the naked structures (of oppression) appear on the surface. For instance, the mass and social media presents (problem) a polarized opposition between young people and adults, concluding after producing a series of false binary structures: immaturity-maturity, irresponsibility-responsibility, male-female, homosexual-heterosexual, subordination-hierarchy, submission-coercion — which will generate explicit calls for either repression or an implicit/explicit call for rebellion by the citizens, who are urged by the ideological apparatus to demand respect and subservience from youth because of its status of dependence and subordination. They are called university students if they are fighting for university reform, rioters if they protest on the streets, hipsters if they occupy the reactionary flanuerist positions inherited from the 19th century, or extremists if arguing for non-liberal positions against the dominant social order. Those who refuse to accept that the naked structures appear on the surface, will argue that the analysis, the construction, places representations in such a way as to reveal, foregrounds a mechanosphere that cannot be a true reflection of reality, primarily because it is the reality too which they are accustomed. The individuals and communities cannot admit that the strategies of social domination are revealed in the analysts texts. It requires too much of them. They cannot accept that the messages being circulated can be subjected to multiple methods of reading which can arrive at diametrically opposing de-codifications. For example there is the decoding which they carry out daily, a superficial one made up of all the information that is handed out to them, then from the other side there is the reading carried out by the analyst with the pure critique of the spectacle, searching for the lines of connection, the bond which is both in the unconscious and submerged in the unified discourse and that situates the discourse in the interests of the upper classes. The principal also applies to the sender, the creator of the messages, who in refusing the analysts reading will offer as a fact that they always act in complete freedom from coercion.
In other forms of communication, a novel, film, social media blog, in which the communicator wishes to be ‘subversive’ ( to the right or left, though i am biased towards left-parasites) the communication may well be recuperable by the system through the very apparatus of domination which it seeks to subvert through its representation. The communication will be appropriated because the (ideological) structures, representations and meanings, are what enables the objects meaning to re-present the structures of the system which it aims to subvert. It is this which defines the difficulty of radical creativity within a social and historical space that is still owned by the upper classes. In this sense every act of creation which aims to question the apparatus of domination is at risk of expressing and maintaining the nature of the system in which the producer finds themselves. … Consequently then for a body of signs, of work used by a subversive writer (sender) we must go beyond the surface meanings of the message or the form itself to establish the relations between this layer of meaning and the the the the unintentional structures of the production. (What spectacular noise is reproduced? does it matter what cannot be appropriated?) . These are the means we have of discovering how the social and historical occurrences and the structures interface with the created object. This disclose the fetishes, the fundamental structures of the mode of operation of the ideological structures of the system. The analyst suggest that the singularities, the individuals who experience these representations are living within a system whose rules they cannot know. The aim may be to make the dominated aware of this to enable them to discover the rules.
The message sender forms a part of a (information) system in which they are both an operator and submissive reproducer. Their position within the the structure is brought about by a framework of images and concepts (spectacle) which exist as much in their opinions as in the essence of the things produced. To determine the mechanisms of social domination (for example the laws of montage, the grammatical structure of texts, the matheme, the mytheme of intersection, the machinary of authorless theatre)… which is to say how the singularity participates in the continuation of the system of exploitation and how they (individuals) are created as agents of their own exploitatin and alienation it will be necessary to take a few extra steps. Let us then accept that its not about the intentions of the group, for the upper classes do not think out the structures of domination, it experiences them just as the dominated group absorbs and obeys the structures… [To repeat myself edlessly…] The ideological processes being touched on here are not the abstract constructions of an individual human subject or a class. It is rather that it is closely related with the mode of production and a given social formation. It is functional to the social formation and permits its continued existance and the the the continued domination of the class and classes that support this mode. So that we should not be talking of the creation of myths by this class, but rather of their management. Rather than sender and receiver we are parasites, the noise in the system…. a few extra steps…
Analia Hounie: But philosophy isn’t democratic| for a philosopher there is no equality of opinions and, even more, opinion is a different thing from truth, the proper theme of philosophy. There are, however, philosophers like Rorty, Habermas, and even Derrida, who search for the philosophical grounds for democracy - does this mean they abandon philosophy?
Alain Badiou: Not exactly. We have to distinguish between a democratic state as a historical condition for the birth of philosophy and the political consequences of philosophy, which are not democratic by themselves. Surely we can find some philosophers that approve the democratic form of the state, but this is not a philosophical necessity at all. The strict philosophical necessity is to think the relationships between political activities and something like truth or justice which in no way requires the validation of a democratic state, The philosophical conception of politics isn’t a democratic one… (Lacanian Ink no 28)
The situation for readers of philosophy is different, for whilst this seems like an acute observation of the situation in which philosophers exist, it does not describe the situation of readers. For example reading Catherine Malabou and Adrian Johnsons ‘Self and emotional life’ it is utterly impossible for both to be true. Indeed the two texts can scarcely be in the same book together without coming to blows. The key phrase in understanding the situation for philosophers is that there can be ‘no equality of opinions’ and the proposition that ‘truth’ is the theme, and that the purpose of philosophy is to delineate impossible goals. Whereas for readers whilst it describes a broad enough meaning to be acceptable, I(we) can perhaps suggest that this is an inaccurate understanding… for readers of philosophy there is always a sense in which philosophy maintains an equivalence, an equality of opinions.
Fetishism (10) The parasite and a hint of appropriation...
Michel Serres middle period epistemological work uses concepts of information theory, which is to say Serres makes notable use of the mathematical expressions of probability theory to structure the relationship of message and noise in the communication channels between sender and recipient. It is the noise which especially interests us here, notably the question of how much any noise enhances or diminishes the informational value of the message as its is communicated. Michel Serres interest, which is our interest here, focuses on the channels where information and noise merge into a new unintended message. The mix of anticipated and unanticipated information, including of course ideology, myth and social coercion… The logic which is of particular interest is from The Parasite, which models the fluidity of noise though the notion of the excluded middle (introducing the fuzziness of logic) where the middle/noise is no longer to be excluded. The excluded middle/third is analysed from the perspective of a parasite who intrudes and disrupts… in this specific understanding disrupting the ruling ideology…
We can most simply say that any analysis of the ruling ideology,of the fetishisms it generates is going to be a partial critique because criticism and most forms of critique are parasitic forms. In this sense then the parasite is like a microbe, an insiduous infection that takes without giving and weakens without killing. The parasite is also a guest, who exchanges his talk, praise and flattery for food. The parasite is noise as well, static in the system or interference in the communication channel. In these three variants criticism, analysis exists.
If you read the word myth in contemporary terms it is as Barthes indicated so many years ago that; Myth empties any social occurrence/event of any real content, leaving the systems innocent and purified. The obvious extent to which it degrades the events, emptying them of their historical meaning and makes them part of the always already ideological ‘nature of things’. The myth therefore directly tames reality and appropriates it for the benefit of the pseudo-reality required by the mode of production, the reality imposed by the system. This reality foregrounds the premises on which the ruling ideology is constructed. Which we might say at base is the myth that the upper classes are a universal…. From this universal we can understand that one of the consequences of the recognition of myth and mythology is that we should not restrict ourselves to merely describing the relation of the systematic technologies and the ideological models to the society…
I do like Badiou’s Cinema text. This I hope explains why… “The general logic is different these writings are texts of political intervention. In terms of the the general logic of the spectacle, we organized a group…” “…philosophy is not a reflection on anything whatsover. There is philosophy, there can only be philosophy, when there are are pradoxical relationships, ruptures, descisions, distances and events…”
You don’t need to know of Badiou’s complex philosophical system to enjoy these writings on the cinema, indeed it may even encourage people to explore the increasingly deep history of the cinema. It is an artform that helps us to partially understand the stereotypes, images and words and into the world of ideas. Cinema as thought. Cinema as a Truth-event, and who going regularly to the cinema doesn’t see the truth of Mizoguchi’s Crucified Lovers or Wender’s Alice in the Cities ? Perhaps its precisely because writing on Cinema is always a reflection on representation, a representational system that a philosopher like Badiou who believes that “…philosophy is not a reflection on anything whatsoever. There is philosophy, there can only be philosophy, when there are are paradoxical relationships, ruptures, decisions, distances and events…” Within this text there is some fine writing on films and cinema whether it is writing admirably about the films of Debord Godard and Duras, a recognizably productive engagement with their cinema, to the equally useful writing on Schlondourf, Wenders, Antonioni and the standard misunderstanding of Hollywood cinema, why do people imagine it is so much better than it is ? It produces those odd moments when you think ‘i really must see x ’ when reading of a particular shot sequence or… Reading a book that touches on the experimental process of cinema as you’ve lived it, recognized it as related to your own experience of cinema is quite bizarre. Touching even. The cinema which Badiou describes and which addresses our impure world and the situations (Sartrean reference intended by Badiou) is more familiar than i imagined, but shouldn’t have been surprised and then beyond the relationship with the cinema described, the films seen, the cinemas attended, perhaps in that obvious synergy it’s merely a matter of how much i like the book. There is no need when reading Badiou’s Cinema to discuss or even understand the ‘democratic materialism’ logic, the philosophical logic of Being and Event or Logic of Worlds. I don’t think this is at all relevant to this text, for the implicit critique of the spectacle contained in the text (the partial critique of clichés and stereotypes, images supplanting thought and individual and collective particularisms) contradicts and refuses any reference to democratic materialism. Just as the admirably clear, accurate and sympathetic analysis of the cinema work of Debord and Godard refuses any such use of the concept. What emerges from the text is the importance of cinema as thinking, and perhaps equally importantly cinema as pleasure. From these moments Badiou uses cinema philosophically, and even (i hesitate to say it) autobiographically. Using Cinema as a way of thinking was quite normal for his generation of philosophically minded intellectuals. It seems almost banal to say that it’s an aspect of thought that has been superseded and made redundant by the eighth art of television, the ninth of games and so on. It is unknowable perhaps. And yet, the introduction is warm, caring and somehow so deeply humane it is important. Badiou presents the seventh art of cinema as somehow more appropriate as an art to describe and present (represent) our world, the situations (Sartrean reference intended by Badiou) and decisions we must make. I could speak of the confusions he suffers between ‘the standard plot of a terrifying exteriority, against which the hero rises up…’ and ‘Godard suddenly shows us the beautiful indifference of the outside world’, ‘the indifference of nature’. For Badiou though cinema is a ‘democratic emblem’, how cinema became educational, a bottom-up pedagogy “… an education in the contemporary, cinema introduces a certain number of young people - to something having to do with their orientation in the contemporary world, the world and its exaltation, its vitality but also its difficulty, it’s complexity…” The logical and irreconcilable contradiction that runs between the “general logic of the spectacle” and an “education in the contemporary” hardly needs to be pointed out or stated, but still we live within that contradiction at all times. Even whilst the logic of the spectacle is exposed we love aspects of it. The contradiction is exposed in full when Badiou says “Cinema tells philosophers,’All is not lost…’ precisely because it deals with the greatest abjection”. Badiou unknowingly exposes the tragedy of writing on the more recent arts, for within the spectacle to write of what you love is to condemn it…
The perception of the end of history corresponds to the the perception of a transition from a life based on a stable identity and the institutional safeguards of the life course regime and organized according to a life-plan to one that is open playful, open and unpredictable, that is experienced as a game or is endless drifting, depending on individual or cultural temperament….. In this way the situational politics of late modernity is reflected in a new form of situational identity. In concrete contexts. both prove very capable of acting, making choices, and finding some kind of orientation, but in virtue of a contraction of the present defined by an intragenerational pace of social change. they are trans-situationally directionless. Decisions no longer unfold a morally binding effect or radiate into the future or the past. The events they bring about remain episodic in both individual and collective experience and no longer solidify into (life-)historically embedded and narratively connectable experiences… (Rosa 2005/13)
…our era, writes Agamben is one in which all reality has been turned into its image. Glamorous and alienating the spectacle has totalized itself and forever seperated human life from possibility of a common good… The word, has acquired its own materiality and has become a commodity. With the result that Language has been taken from us and and revealed only the nothingness of all things
We live in exceedingly dark times, the accusations made by Marx in the 19th century against capitalism, its sheer wastefulness and moral iniquity has lost none of its truthfulness…(Truth). Only the scope and the level of injustice has changed, both have now become planetary or arguably even greater in size. The days when we could speak meaningfully of a first, second or third world have long passed, the world has changed in this moment of globalization, issues of how peoples are produced through nations, ethnicities, races, genders, even species look like trivial identities in the face of capital, and so do concepts like ideological state apparatus, at least if by state you mean your local national state… In this sense then the scale of the task of human emancipation has become greater than the size of the planet itself, the urgency grows.. ’… to avoid possible misunderstandings I have not painted a rosy picture of either capitalism or the landowner, but here we are not dealing with people insofar as they are the personification of economic groups and the support of class interests and specific class relationships….’ To say that ideology as a system of representations is indistinguishable from experience as lived by individuals, is to say that for the vast majority this experience is lived without the foundations of the system surfacing to the conscious level. It is the state which these individuals experience as the social reality, which is imposed on them by the mode of production which impregnates all social relationships. It is the living process of an axiom. Human beings experience a system and representation, an ideology not at all as a form of consciousness but as an object of their world. Representations are experienced without seeing the organising principles behind them, without being able to comprehend the system as a coherent whole. The problematic of ideology is consequently different from one of a conscious subject, ideology is inscribed into the very fabric of social reality. This is as true for the dominant classes as for the dominated classes… Let us consider a current example, it is highly probable that anyone having revealed the structures of the social media aspects of the spectacle, their relations to the dominant ideologies, ownership, still the framework of ideology and myths will still have to confront the refusal of the Readers to accept the meanings of the analysis… They will refuse to accept that the structures that are being spoken of appear on the surface (meaning is on the surface). That in the social media, identies are continuously invented, that struggling binary systems are invented and presented as real.
We used to live in the shadow of the call ”thinking globally and acting locally”. This closely aligned as it was with forms of identity, socialism and Marxism failed in the face of the neoliberal counter-reformation and we imagined that there must be something better to construct an adequate response to neoliberalism. As the years passed and globalisation and the network society grew ever stronger we began to think that Bauman’s transcendent axiom “… thinking and acting globally…” might supply a means of resistance and change. But we forgot the meaning of the modern (liquid, post or not - ’ all that is solid melts into air’) and most importantly the practical problem that identity politics and its relative lack of meaning in relation to emancipation, for in the search for identity, to legitimate an identity, there is no class, no necessity for place (as PHd students follow the flows of liquid modernity, the flows of capital, places are left.) If you live in the arena of the global - then your identity, whatever the hybrid identity is not going to remain local founded on a territory, it will be reterritorialized by capital as the network demonstrates as the social media constructs a vast array of fetishistic behaviour… tribes, groups, identities squabbling over nothing but their hybrid identities … for an identity is a fetish, commodified… So here we are in the midst of the axiom ”… thinking and acting globally…” and yet nothing has changed for the global it turns out is more fetishised than anyone imagined. Why the endless construction of identities which within capitalism are merely commodity forms, good for the generation of exchange value. Why the endless belief that your identity resists or is oppressed by capital when in truth it only cares about exchange value?
Hartmut Rosa (1) ...A little over Two Hundred and Fifty years
"The bourgeoisie, during the rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all the preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to man, machinery application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalization of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground - what earlier presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour…" (Marx and Engels - quoted in Hartmut Rosa - Social Acceleration… 2013)
fetishism (6) ... value as a sociopolitical concept...
In the middle of Bidet’s chapter ‘Value as Sociopolitical concept’ he says… “…Capital thus unpicks the explosive charge that is attached to the commodity relationship in the Grundisse, and translated there into the anthropological discourse of alienation and reification. In my view, as i shall go onto show, the discourse of ‘fetishism’ that is substituted for 'reification' is something quite different: no longer a discourse on man, but rather a discourse on ideology, on the ideological form specific to commodity relations. It is not a discourse on human nature, but rather on the representations of exchangers… (Bidet p 61 Exploring Marx’s Capital 1985/2009)
"… about identity, the knowledge classes, who nowadays also happen to form the articulated and self-reflexive core of the emerging global extra-territorial elite, tend to wax lyrical. Their members are busy composing , decomposing and recomposing their identities and cannot but be pleasantly impressed by the facility and relative cheapness with which the job is being done daily. Writers on culture tend to call such activity hybridisation, and its practitioners cultural hybrids….freed from their local ties and travelling easily through the networks of cyber connections, the knowledge classes wonder why others don’t follow their example…”
The image being presented is an “…ideological gloss on achieved or claimed extraterritoriality. It is, essentially, about a hard won and cherished freedom of trespass and free exit in a world criss-crossed by fences and sliced into territorially fixed sovereignties. Just as in the extraterritorial networks traversed and the ‘nowwherevilles' inhabited by the global elite…”
Identity is inevitably understood as heterogeneous and mutable, but the global elite here should not be understood as being restricted to the global ruling classes; for the cultural elites, the knowledge classes, think of the overseas PHd students working in universities and institutions that are increasingly extraterritorial are… As they pronounce on the hybrid identities they support and rarely critique - "…vaccinating themselves against the vicious bacteria of domesticity…" … and … "… as long as identity jigsaw puzzles come solely in commodity forms and can be found nowhere except in the shopping malls, the future of the market is assured… Those among us who have been drilled to mix identity cocktails and trained to delight in tasting them, and are in addition able to secure all the currently recommended (read: fashionable) cocktail ingredients, feel at home in the society of consumers...” (Bauman - Liquid life)
Against whom can we revolt if power is vacant and values corrupt?
“…Against whom can we revolt if power is vacant and values corrupt? Or, to put it more gravely, who can revolt if man has become a simple conglomeration of organs, who can revolt if man has become a patrimonial person, a person belonging to the patrimony, financially, genetically, and physiologically, a person barely free enough to use a remore control to choose his channel. I am oversimplifying and darkening this depiction of our current state in order to highlight what we all sense: not only that political revolt is being mired in compromise between parties whose differences are less and less obvious to us but especially that an essential component of European culture – a culture fashioned by doubt and critique – is losing its moral and aesthetic impact. This moral and aesthetic dimension finds itself marginalized and exists only as a decorative alibi tolerated buy the society of the spectacle, when it is not simply submerged, made impossible by entertainment culture, performance culture and show culture…” Julia Kristeva’s - Intimate Revolt.
when there is a reordering of the system/structure of hegemonic representations and images it occurs in the past. the action is carried out now on the past. Benjamin warned us long ago that the dead where not safe from the enemy.
Multinational Corporations and the control of culture....
Multinational Corporations and the control of culture. Some approximate market capitalization figures for fourteen of the biggest media multinational corporations in the media industries. (2102/2013 figurrs)
… class cohesion is the basis of the common interest and not of secret agreements and conspiracies. Besides I neither imagine nor show monsters. Bankers, generals, management consultants, as everyone knows, are not heroes of the Frankenstein -style strip cartoons, but are as well brought up and pleasant gentlemen as one could ever have met in Germany in the 1930s. Neither chamber music nor charitable impulses are strange to them. Their moral insanity does not proceed from their individual character not from their social function…’ H.M. Enzensberger.
The most controversial element of Hegel’s systematic treatment is a deep suspicion of the ontology often predisposed as an unquestioned matter of course in modern discussions of action, agency and freedom - the isolation of subjects as ontologically distinct individuals and of a subjects reasons as episodic or dispositional and perhaps uniquely causal mental states. As we shall see, for Hegel, by contrasts, a certain sort of mindfulness is constitutive of and so inseparable from the action itself, and being an individual subject is something like a collective or social normative achievement and the putative independence of of such subjects is thus always intertwined with a distinct sort of profound, even ontological dependence… (Robert Pippin (2008) Hegel’s Practical Philosophy - from the introduction)
…From here then its a small step to grasp why the multiple mediums of social and mass communications media are fetishized as they are considered as autonomous with an independent ‘will and soul of its own’, something which is said to have the ability to transcend the society in which they are constructed, inscribed. The media have been transformed into an actor in the world in which the dominant form is mass-consumptive and technologically rationalistic. This is the contemporary version of what were once natural and theocractic and explains why the upper classes can at times have the luxury of denouncing the actions of the media over which it generates monopolistic and sovereign control.The primary range of fetishes belonging to the social and mass and (communications) media can be considered through the following: the media as manipulated by the upper classes has been transformed into a fetishistized state through the use of such concepts as the network society, internet, free speech, content. This may lead you to consider this state as a series of myths, fetishes, some of which are so appalling… So lets end one or two here and now..
In the near future the fetishized differences between the new and old media will have vanished, instead we will be speaking and thinking once again of the media as a singular system which is closer to its actuality. A multiplicity of message bearing systems that can never escape from the modus operandi that is characteristic of the ideological process, which exists in the final instance (always already there), to ensure that the real forces that motivate it are either forgotten or silent, these forces aim to make us lose sight of the origins of the existing social order in such a way that individuals can, and usually do understand it as a natural order. The communications media is in this sense the great actor in our (always-already-consumptive) technological universe. It is proposed as the most dynamic aspect of the mass-consumptive society and that it demonstrates a certain social mobility. Enshrined in its core it has a concept of consumptive and productive revolution, one of false expectations whose origin is hidden and which ensures that the fetishized concept replaces all others. The communications media are consequently fetishized because it generates pseudo-causes, frequently using moral panics, which are then misunderstood as actual causes which are processed in an undifferentiated way. This masks the identity of the manipulators and the actual function of the ideas and concepts which support the requirements of the upper classes. This erases all signs of the systems of social stratification and presents the image of a headless society, one where the upper classes are subject to a universal undifferentiating determinism just as all other classes are. As part of this the concepts of consumerism, mass society, post-modern and modern society, opinion and so on, in all these concepts the constructs of social domination are hidden. These concepts when used around the communications media are used as an alibi for the apparatus of domination, the fetishism of modernity, consumption, advertising in the mass and social media. … In this way opinions circulate in the name of ‘public opinion’ around the mass and social media, once we would have said newspaper but now we speak of the media as the combination of new media and the mass media, which endlessly demands the repression of social movements and justifies the emptiness of structural change… This is the social imaginary of the media, the imaginary collective which deludes the human subject into imagining that the society in which they live occur within the sign of social harmony and that their is little need for the dialectic and conflict. What conflicts and antagonisms exist are marginalized into cultural and political conflicts between unchangeable and unquestionable cultures, such fantasies as the west, islam, (islamaphobia and islamaphilia) imperialism, finance, celebrity, human rights… some of these constructing micro-fascisms others macro-totalitarian gestures. The tendency is to explain away the conflicts and antagonisms either through natural law or through the use of ideological misunderstandings (the state, celebrity…(recent events such as Saville, Brand and Webb, Leveson demonstrating this well)) The reception of these media-events is the same operation across all the various types of media, from newspapers and magazines to twitter and facebook. In the mass communications media, the spectacle, every myth fulfills a determinate function restricting the forces capable of exposing or opposing the deception of the upper classes and the system that enables them to exist. When the representation occurs that exposes the contradictions in the system, the myths and fetishes do not suppress the empirical facts but instead masks the implication that it might have for social reality, by supplying an explanation which hides the contradictions in the system by making them individual.
If we look at the attitudes adopted by the right towards the processes of social change such as media reform there are many examples. The reforms are explained as being restrictions on a free press, according to the media, and consequently in the minds of the upper classes any pressure for media reform will be explained away as being the results of agitators, the selfish protests of celebrities. The causes can never be considered as being the results of real conditions of ownership, backwardness due to historical reasons, real oppression of people by the media and so on. The mythology developed by the media is that free speech in the media means that it is inconceivable that it is really in the publics interest to reform the media. This is a systematic attitude which excuses the structure which makes up the system of domination.
Myth, fetishism empties the social of any real content leaving the media systems innocent, endlessly pure, whilst concepts like ideology and discourse strip away the innocence and return us to what we can recognize as reality. Placing historical reality and objects and things before us. Thus reality is untamed and released from the pseudo-reality as the media represents it… The media, especially in its new extended forms is a product of the new technologies which being always already social aim to create and maintain normality… (the upper classes as a parameter of objectivity and universality) … The fetishistic behavior of the regular users of the social folds directly back into this model, a simple example will suffice: repeating the seemingly endless chain of moral panics, the ‘evils’ they inherit which leads to the invention on a daily basis of (banal) new monsters, beyond the monsters (delusions) of our parents and ancestors, but these monsters never existed either, for they never do. For what we can see, is that the monsters and delusions that matter are those we cannot see, because in some way we believe in them as true, whether its free speech, scientism, celebrities or the everyday apocalypses, these are mere fetishes…. Fetishes can never be tested…
Scientism has crippled our capacity to to think through and adapt our ideology to different political conditions…. The tendency is to think of ideology through a notion of false consciousness which assumes that we can differentiate between forms of social consciousness as true or false representations of reality. In denying that ideology was false consciousness the tendency towards making historical materialism a Marxist science, a practice with a decisive autonomy from the social formation as Hirst puts it. This then assumes knowledge of social relations as being able to direct mass practices based on imaginary lived relations to those relations.( Except however many words one uses the imaginary remains finally equivalent to a false consciousness just without true or false…) Rather we should understand that truth cannot be assigned to political ideologies no matter how scientific they are thought to be. There is no autonomy of theoretical knowledge and the representational nature of socially conditioned experience can only help us approach questions of (political and personal (everything is political)) ideology and knowledge in a more constructive fashion. So to understand this is to reference the imaginary which is always a false consciousness… The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas: hence of the relationships which make one class the ruling one, the ideas of its dominance… (Marx and Engels) Still its clear nothing is inevitable because the epistemological distinction between science, truth and ideology is very very slight indeed … [insufficiently structural] In this then the indifference should be apparent and the equivalence between them is clear.
In Psychohistorical terms, the New European principles of constant progress and general enrichment, which became amenable to politicisation from the 19th C onwards, are essentially projections of team visions from the early days of nautical globalisation back onto the national and social horizon. The constitute attempts to transfer the categorical forwards of seafaring back onto the circumstances of settled life. One can read Ernst Bloch’s writing - to name one example of generalised progressivism- as if he had reformulated socialism from the position of the seaside and recommended it as a dream of emigration to mew worlds filtered through reason. Progress is emigration in time; as if it were wisdom to make people believe that, with the aid of productive forces freed from greed for property, one could turn the entire world into a south seas paradise. For this reason, the party of objectively fulfillable wishes must always be right… Peter Sloterdijk (2005/2013)
The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas: hence of the relationships which make one class the ruling one, the ideas of its dominance... (Marx and Engels) The ruling ideology fulfills a practical function: to give the system a level of coherence and relative unity. It constitutes itself within the diverse social imaginary and actual areas of individual and collective activity consolidating and unifying (as Gramsci would say) the social structure. This consistency allows individuals and groups in their practices to exist within the social and economic system, with the consequence that they reproduce a structure of domination without being aware that they are carrying these tasks out… The central characteristic of the ideological (and discourse) processes is that, in the final instance it is always already true that the motivating forces are always silent or absent. In short then it serves to make one misrecognize the origins of the social order as in some sense containing supportable elements or perhaps even worse as a natural order… It is the supportable elements that should concern us more - for it leads to statements supporting such ideological moments as: the free speech of journalists, the teaching of fascist philosophy to young people and hatreds being expressed about people on the left by leftists. The self-denigration of these ideological moments hardly needs discussing further at all…
"To safeguard the earth or respect the weather, the wind and rain, we would have to think toward the long term and because we don’t live out in the weather, we’ve unlearned how to think in accordance with its rhythms and its scope. Concerned with maintaining his position, the politician makes plans that rarely go beyond the next election, the administrator reigns over the next fiscal budgetary year, and news goes out on a daily and weekly basis, As for contemporary science, its born in journal articles that almost never go back more than ten years; even if work on the paleoclimate recapitulates tens of millennia, it goes back less than three decades itself."
[That Serres does not address the long term engineering projects, from roadworks to more serious decommissioning projects is more than an accident of when he was writing, but a matter of ideology and discourse.]
A week of meetings… It was only this afternoon after the third day of meetings that I realized that what i was attending was (in reality behind the discussion of the technology and the details of how we will be generating income from it) about the implementation of a cultural policy linked to a strategy of re-industrialization, to enable the corporations, our customers to have the technical ability to penetrate still deeper into the lives of their staff. Where this had previously been done through the now ubiquitous technologies of laptops, phones, networks, the extensions being discussed now take the corporations and the workplace even deeper into there everyday lived existences. These discussions, where relevant to this, are about the extensions that 4G enables, the blue sky aspect is the placing of corporate 3D printers as distributed factories in the houses, vans and everyday lives of their workers. This level of penetration places corporation, the factory deeper into their lives than even the spectacle (mass-consumption) managed… ‘Working from home’ becomes extended so that the ownership of the social imaginary, which is frequently misunderstood as being irrational, but the imaginary [ as collective values that provide for unitary meaning but which are logically unprovable] is not irrational for it is always rational for capitalism to extend the tendrils of the mode of production as deeply into human lives as possible…
The change in the social imaginaries (being established here ) will be more complex than what currently exists. With the technical changes it’s evident that as it extends deeper into our everyday lives, our imaginaries will be changed, our uneasiness will become greater. And I imagine that psychotherapy in the traditional anti-spectacular sense will become essential, enjoy therapy, you’ll need it to deal with the complex interactions about to be extended…
Resources are always finite… Hardin argues that groups or individual human subjects acting independently and irrationally/rationally working deliberately in their own self-interest, will always deplete a shared resource. Because whilst their shared responsibility for the finite resource is small their short term personal gain would be great. The larger the resource, the smaller the personal or group responsibility, the greater the exploitation… Hence the requirement for controls on finite resources. (reference here) The media as such is a finite privately owned resource…
If you find this difficult to accept this logic, think about the the way we are both collectively and personally approaching the issue of climate change whether; individually, producers, consumers and as national and international regulators. Hardin’s description of this fundamental issue as the tragedy of the commons, works.
Has not philosophy restricted itself to exploring - inadequately - the ‘on’ with respect to transcendence, the ‘under’, with respect to substance and the subject and the ‘in’ with respect to the immanence of the world and the self? Does this not leave room for expansion, in following out the ‘with’ of communication and contract, the ‘across’ of translation, the ‘among’ and ‘between’ of interferences, the ‘through’ of the channels through which Hermes and the Angels pass, the ‘alongside’ of the parasite, the ‘beyond’ of detachment… all the spatio-temporal variations preposed by all the prepositions, declensions and inflections? (Serres 1994: 83)
… veil, canvas, tissue, chiffon, fabric, goatskin and sheepskin… all the forms of planes or twists in space, bodily envelopes or writing supports, able to flutter like a curtain, neither liquid nor solid, to be sure, but participating in both conditions. Pliable, tearable, stretchable…topological. (Serres 1994: 45)
I want to finish drawing this navigational map, this inventory – fluctuating and mobile – before I die. Once this work is done it will be clearly seen that all the rapports I traced out either followed or invented a possible road across the ensemble of movements from place to place. (Serres and Latour 1995: 105)
Italo Svevo: The search for causes is an immense misunderstanding, a deep rooted superstition that prevents things, events from occurring as they are.
The real is of the order of generality: the world is of the order of singularity. That is to say, of an absolute difference, a radical difference, something more different than difference - at the farthest possible remove from this confusion of the world and its double…
"Every activity and every product within capitalist society participates in the world and in the logic of the commodity. The very language that allows the meaning of any activity or product to be communicated to the public is the language of the merchant, who is transformed into the custodian of all language. The form of the market is the general form of exchange. The activity and the product of communication cannot get away from the ruling social relationship. In order to confer legitimacy on, and consolidate the market form of communication, to make it a natural activity, and one which may be carried out without those who are dominated by it, or who receive it, becoming aware of its nature as in instrument of class domination, the communications medium will be subjected to the process of fetishization undergone by every every product and activity. By means of fetishism living men are transformed into things (factors of production) and things assume a life: thus money works and capital produces. Similarly the communications medium acts…” (Matterlart)
So why fetish then? This is not an intentionally rhetorical question; because the spectacle is so all pervading, extending beyond the more recent control society form which is restricted to the the information societies, the alienation it generates is so wide ranging that we are being offered a privileged look at something that is usually obscured by the messages themselves, which is to say the medium itself. Let’s be clear though that the medium is not merely the image, though it may as well be, nor even language but extends far beyond this. And to resurrect the concept of fetish when thinking of this after saying: alienation, seems only to appropriate. To read that quote from Armand Mattelart from 1972 is a salutary reminder of what the dangers of fetishism are in any approach to our mode of production, which given my interests here covers everything from the production of flowers, rockets, antibiotics, text, the commodification of human relationships and the ability to send pictures of teddy bears across the planet. This then is the production of the spectacle and control society, in what for us is still in its mass and social forms.
For to maintain its legitimacy capitalism requires a vast and ever increasing array of fetishes to enable the rationality (and its perfectly clear that you can call it that) of its social domination. The continuing appearance of these fetishes is closely linked to the continuing development of the forces of production and consumption. (This explains why the fetish of advanced technology is such a difference from those technologies which gave meaning and cohesion to the earlier versions of the capitalist mode of production, the early stages of industrialization. Most significantly for my purposes the change is marked as taking place with the invention of the spectacle in the 1920s.) However this is a secondary issue as what is of interest here is the extent to which what is produced and consumed is fetishistic, and nothing is more fetishistic than the social media and other contemporary consumptive forms including such as the emerging 3D printing…
…A fetish is understood through both the Marxist and psychoanalytical lines of thought, Marx wrote of the fetish character of the commodity and money inherent in the capitalist mode of production. The category of the fetish is to 'crystallize it in the form of an object set apart', comprehensively abstracting it from the conditions of production and consumption. Consequently the upper classes make things like science, art, love, politics, technology, the network and wealth into a fetish, which are crystallized into objects of pseudo-value, separated from the process of accumulation (production and consumption) within which money and capital flows uphill to the classes that own and manage the means of production and consumption. This is the same process through which liberal economists and social and cultural theorists create a fetish when advocating a market based economy and world (something), which is the determination of value by the nature of things, the products and consumption itself, specifically from human relationships onwards. So when Marx shows us this fetish with the explanation of the concept of the value of labour and the two underlying concepts; value of the labour force and labour as the creator of values. This refers to the still evolving rational mechanisms that obscure the social relations of production and consumption that dominate capitalist societies. These economic, political and juridical modes allow the upper classes to control the means of existence of people and the world they live in, however it is what has been added to this with everything that surrounds the mass communications industries, the media. These are the social and political technologies of indoctrination. The control of the technologies signifies the control of consciousness , (the construction of subjects) by the ongoing legitimation of the power of the upper classes.
As we have observed, many authors of a Marxist bent want to portray neoliberalism as the simple deployment of class power over the unsuspecting masses, but encounter difficulty in specifying the chains of causality stretching from the elusive executive committee of the capitalist class to the shopper at Wal-Mart. To paper over the gap many reach for Foucault and governmentality to evoke how shifts from state to market are modulated inn the microcontexts of everyday life. But of course, the later Foucault abjured their Marxism; and furthermore his own appeals to the hard discipline of the market merely recapitulated the invisible hand jive of the neoliberals themselves. The incompatibility with Marxism should have been blindingly obvious…. Philip Mirowski - Never let a serious crisis go to waste. (2013)
“The state is not a universal nor in itself an autonomous source of power. The state is nothing else but the effect, the profile, the mobile shape of a perpetual statification or statifications, in the sense of incessant transactions which modify, or move, or drastically change, or insidiously shift sources of finance, modes of investment, decision-making centers, forms and types of control, relationships between local powers, the central authority, and so on. In short, the state has no heart, as we well know, but not just in the sense that it has no feelings, either good or bad, but it has no heart in the sense that it has no interior. The state is nothing else but the mobile effect of a regime of multiple governmentalities.”—
Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, 31 January 1979, p.77 (via darkvvaste)
proletarianization (2), commodiification and control
"… All are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use according to their age and sex" (Marx and Engels. Communist Manifesto penguin edition) This expense is what Marx and Engels call labour power, which is, then, no longer a knowledge but becomes instead a commodity. From a bearer of tools… the worker has become a tool and an instrument in the service of a tool bearing machine…. As was precisely indicated by Marx and Engels this is the fate of all producers, and not only of workers. "…The proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population…" Stiegler (2009/10)
This reference is important because it places the concept within the series of contemporary total critiques of capitalism and democracy that interests me, proletarianization, proletarianized consumers, the integrated spectacle, the control society and so on… In the Communist Manifesto and other texts by Marx and Engels proletarianization is presented as being primarily related to the working class. However this limitation is related to the specific historical moment, a stage in the ongoing development of the capitalist mode of production, which was to develop and evolve further during the subsequent years, "… bringing the process of proletarianization to all of those whose knowledge is absorbed by the developed systems from machines, apparatuses, expert systems, services, networks, technological objects and other socio-technical systems" of all kinds. The proletariat is not simply the working classes then but now extends beyond production into consumption: "by allowing the harnessing of the attention of consumers and, through that, the harnessing of their libidinal energy, made possible by destroying their savoir-vivre and not only their saviir-faire. " …. The proletarianization of consumers and consequently consumption is what made this possible, through the construction of mass markets, this was required because of the necessity of resisting “the tendency of the rate of profit to fall”, which is the technical reason for the invention of the spectacle and the recent development of the control society. This conferring of buying power upon consumers, to accord them more than simply the renewal of their labour power, and to fundamentally and practically weaken the (Marxist theory of) class struggle….
(quotes and paraphrasing from Stiegler (2009/10) for the sake of brevity)
The proletarian, we read in Simonden, is a disindividuated worker, a labourer whose knowledge has passed into the machine in such a way that it is no longer the worker who is individuated through bearing tools and putting them into practice. Rather, the labourer serves the machine-tool, and it is the latter that has become the technical individual -in the sense that it is within the machine-tool and the technical system to which it belongs that an individuation is produced. The technical individuation is, according to Simonden, a process of concretization though which the system of industrial objects becomes functionally integrated and thereby transformed -as does the sociotechnical milieu. The proletarianized labourer, however, is literally excluded from this transformation - dissociated from it, not associated with it. Such a labourer is not co-individuated. He does not ex-ist.
This dissociation is in reality a rupture to the transindividual fabric which constitutes the labour environment, as it does all symbolic milieus, given that work is also one such symbolic milieu. In the milieu of associated work, the workers, through their work, fashion an experience in which they cause their milieu to evolve - their tools, for example, or the way in which they are used, not to mention, of course the products they use. They open up this milieu of which they are the workers. Proletarianization is that which excludes this participation of the producer from the evolution of the conditions of production and through which he works.
In other words proletarianization is a process of losing knowledge - that is, also, a loss of savior and of existence - which is engendered by grammatization insofar as it short-circuits the processes of transindividuation through which by becoming individuated through work, that is thorough learning something, the worker individuates the milieu of their work, It is just such a short-circuit which constitutes the stakes of that loss of knowledge by which Marx and Engels defined proletarianization in the Communist Manifesto of 1848…
… This is what the Ars Industrialis has been describing for the past five years, and it is what the struggle for free software is about, and more generally the philosophy of ‘open source’ and ‘creative commons’, and the numerous unprecedented practices emerging from collaborative technologies, all of which foreshadow what we call and economy of contribution…. Such struggles pose anew the questions of individual and collective investment, of property, of the proper and ex-appropriation, and of new forms of psychic and collective individuation - which is also to say, of sublimation - elaborated through these struggles. This is why Ars Industrialis unconditionally supports free software activists: their struggle is firstly that of engineers and technicians, subjected to the proletarianized condition that has been imposed on them by the cybernetic division of labour, which thereby ceases to be a work and becomes merely a job... (Stiegler 2010/2013)
The spectacle is surveillance (2)... Prism and the Corporate Media
The spectacle is surveillance, it used to be possible to consider that the surveillance aspect of the spectacle was still under development but as we have seen over the past few weeks, surveillance has become central in all areas of western society. When did Global society become obsessed with surveillance ? Was it when security became a global obsession at the turn of the century or after 9/11 or was it in the 1980s as credit cards spread across the world enabling the tracking of what was purchased and where ? These are mere symptoms in my view, for surveillance became central as the fast networks spread across the world and as the network society became the world in which we live. For with the network society the global society revealed its totalizing dimension interfering with in every aspect of individual and collective existance. “…Control societies, organized according to a managerial mode are still in place, bolstered by the imperatives of financial capital. Autonomy, creativity, responsiveness and adaptability have become cardinal components of the new regime of truth. Its reverse side consists of management targets and a culture of results…” (Mattelart).
A “regime of truth" … Not surprising then that the NSA in the PRISM programme had direct access user data from US multinational network corporations. The slides that were leaked talk about collection ‘from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers’.The NSA’s Director confirmed PRISM existed and defended its existence.We have been told that for the NSA “communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis”. Including “the content of your communications”. Verizon has to provide the NSA with information on national and international phone calls daily. Technically the details of the electronic surveillance operations are unknown and completely irrelevant. It is not surprising that all those involved have minimized the extent of the operations: The CEO of Google said that the NSA had and has no direct access to Google’s servers. As did Facebook’s CEO , Microsft, Apple and Yahoo all said the same. AOL said they did not know anything about PRISM. However the statements of the corporations contradict the details in the leaked documents, in which the NSA says it has direct access to the data.
Only a few years ago Google admitted that it was involved in overt public surveillance in the Street View surveillance operation. They confessed “we discovered that a statement made in a blog post on April 27 was incorrect. In that blog post, and in a technical note sent to data protection authorities the same day, we said that while Google did collect publicly broadcast SSID information (the WiFi network name) and MAC addresses (the unique number given to a device like a WiFi router) using Street View cars, we did not collect payload data (information sent over the network). But it’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products”.
The purpose of the spectacular-corporations is to turn personal and collective data into capital and as Google showed, not only do they avoid publishing the extent of their surveillance activities but they scarcely even know the extent of their surveillance activities. The only rational (and sensible) position is to accept that corporations have the public under continuous and from their perspective necessary surveillance. The spectacle surveys the public in both its corporate and governmental modes. In the following reference quotes both Microsoft and Facebook minimize the extent of the surveillance carried out. Consider the following: Microsoft says that in the second half of 2012, it provided the US government access to “between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts … This only impacts a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”. Facebook says that in the same period it released data for around 19 000 accounts: “With more than 1.1 billion monthly active users worldwide, this means that a tiny fraction of one percent of our user accounts were the subject of any kind of U.S. state, local, or federal U.S. government request (including criminal and national security-related requests) in the past six months”. Apple says that between December 2012 and May 2013 it released data from around 10 000 accounts to US government institutions.
(To give an idea of the extent of the surveillance involved here let’s briefly consider the US liberals favorite example of a surveillance state, the GDR, the Ministry of State Security was responsible for the electronic surveillance of citizens, a surveillance operation directly equivalent to the NSA and GCHQ operations. The relevant statistics shows that in 1985 they monitored 7941 telephone accounts. The GDR had approx 1.5 million telephone mainlines and 15 000 telex lines in the mid-1980s. Th interesting thing about this is that it becomes clear quite quickly that the level of Governmental surveillance carried out in the GDR is infinitely less that the mixed Corporate and Governmental surveillance being carried out in the USA’s spectacular society. And yet when commenting on this the commentariat consistently refer to the Stasi/GDR as the representative of surveillance evil.)
The corporations consistently underplay the extent of the surveillance they carry out and the level of interaction with the governmental apparatus being discussed here. The actual level of surveillance being carried out here by Corporations and US government institutions is higher than the one conducted by the GDR/Stasi system. The volume of surveillance being carried out today is extraordinarily large. We don’t know (yet) how extensive the NSA\US surveillance operation was, but we can assume that the NSA was planning direct access to all the surveillance data of the seven multinationals named and mentioned in the documents. The PRISM system is not, as the multinationals want to make us believe, a small operation, but is a large-scale global surveillance project. As we know that in 3 of the corporations cases around 60 000 accounts were monitored during a half year period, it is likely that the total number for all 7 companies is around 150 000 user accounts.
This collusion between the government and the corporations shows that the future of spectacle, of the control society is total surveillance, that multinational corporations not only control the manufacture of culture but that with its ever closer alliance with sovereignty constitutes a surveillance-information-industrial complex which is a thing of great beauty. It is not that the social media corporations have become unwillingly entangled in this surveillance nightmare it is rather that this is (to borrow a phrase) their manifest destiny. There arebetween one and two billion users of the social media currently and the social media corporations hold the largest volume of personal data in the world. Social media corporations exist to appropriate and commodify the data users’ interests, communications, locations, online behaviour and social networks. They are central to the control societies managerial mode touched on above, all creativity, all autonomy that exists within the spectacle will be commodified .
The data that users online activities generate will be commodified. They constantly monitor usage behavior for this economic purpose. In the 21st century and rather obviously with the network society there has been intensification and extension of surveillance that is based on commodification, ideologies that can require monitoring technologies, big data analysis and predictive algorithms… (the ideology of terrorism is a mere side show). It is a small leap of the imagination to understand that surveillance data, media data is a commodity sold to the state..
The behavior of the state organizations engaged in this from the NSA, GCHQ onwards is an overlay on this vast network structure of surveillance. It is the extension of the spectacle with the associated surveillance ideology that has enabled the intelligence agencies to use the big data held by social media corporations. The social media surveillance targets everyone, mostly for the generation of exchange value and with the unfortunate terrorists, protestors and other activists activists being the secondary targets caught in the surveillance net.
Private corporations have always collaborated with governments, and the social media is just another form of media technology that the spectacular surveillance-industrial enjoys, it is possible to obtain detailed access to the multitude of commodified activities conducted in social spaces that were one once external to the spectacle.
In the collective that has developed in the network society, in the societies we all collectivity live in " a type of habitation has occurred; it has widened the threshold of tolerance (of surveillance) and led many people to consent, sometimes without realizing it, to significant losses of privacy and fundamental rights. This is happening not only with regard to surveillance and identification techniques, but also the instruments used by the media-advertising complex to measure and capture individual lifestyles…." (Mattelart) Instrumentalist understandings of social-media, mass-media, information, communication and culture permeate all aspects of society from the progressive and democratic through to the reactionary, liberal and frankly fascistic sectors of our societies. That there is no separation, that there can be no separation between corporate and state surveillance is the harsh lesson here…
“The Copernican revolution in historical perception is as follows. Formerly it was thought that a fixed point had been found in “what has been” and one saw the present engaged in tentatively concentrating the forces of knowledge on this ground. Now this relation is to be overturned, and what has been is to become the dialectical reversal-the flash of awakened consciousness. Politics attains primacy over history. The facts become something that just now first happened to us, first struck us; to establish them is the affair of memory. Indeed, awakening is the great exemplar of memory: the occasion on which it is given us to remember what is closest, tritest, most obvious. What Proust intends with the experimental rearrangement of furniture in matinal half-slumber, what Bloch recognizes as the darkness of the lived moment, is nothing other than what here is to be secured on the level of the historical, and collectively. There is a not-yet-conscious knowledge of what has been: its advancement has the structure of awakening.
[K1,2]”—Benjamin, The Arcades Project, [K1,2] (via rykalski)
“What we’re seeing is the development of a surveillance society far more insidious than any historical totalitarian regime. You can still think and say whatever you want, but you’re always being watched; your right to privacy has disappeared without you even noticing it. In some sinister concrete server complex there’s a digital file on you, containing everything you’ve said and done. Government agencies listen in on your telephone calls, software built in to your iPhone records your exact location, web cookies track your browsing habits. This is what radical openness means; it’s a laceration. The government-corporation complex is with you at every moment, and should it decide that it doesn’t like what you’re thinking and saying, it has the power to murder you on a whim.”—Sam Kriss, Prism: The Psychopathology of Internet Surveillance (via fourwindsshotgun)