Whenever I turn on television news I’m seeing stories that I already learned about yesterday or worse, but when I go online, I am participating in discussions about these stories, and get a variety of perspectives. Sometimes I contribute something to consensus, and sometimes I am wrong about things. I used to get news from a bag in the driveway…things washing up on my shore. Flat items with fewer perspectives, flat messages, flat mediums.
There were things i learned in history class that have been totally disproved. There was a very shallow interpretation of history fiercely protected by academia to protect those positions, those paternal seats of authority that we call “experts”. Cadres of informants who protect the state by feeding the population information that favor compliance, unquestioning obedience to the state, trust in religious organizations. At the same time, in other parts of the world, different narratives employing much the same techniques were creating rival histories, different anthropomorphisms of natural events, different favorable retelling of wars and larger skirmishes. In America, I was raised “knowing” I lived in a 1st World Country. There wasn’t anything definitively 2nd World. i never once heard about a 2nd world country. We just called them “developing nations” and the media often put these countries in our faces so we could keep tabs on things happening in those strange and mysterious places that might affect our dollar, or our faith. We had ties there that affected our power structures. And Third World countries? Obviously, these areas were not well known about, and seemingly brimming with naked, poor, ignorant souls completely disorganized, unable to grasp the technology we use in our daily lives, and usually worshiping another God. These were Other People, who were Strange. From the other end of a gun scope is how I was taught to regard those people.
History was a list of struggles among the upper class, with the rare individual making headway by leading hordes of the lower class in bloody revolt against this or that inhuman law, of which there were plenty. We learned about the Abolition of slavery, but not about the fact that there were still laws on the book that made kidnapping of women and children still relatively acceptable, punishable by fine. Horse-thievin’ would get you hanged, but stealing someone’s kid’s would cost you some take home pay.
It was positevely unheard of to deviate from the narrative. We were victims of our own institutions’ self-aggrandizement. These were the humanities.Meanwhile, halfway around the dumbass, science was quickly making exciting headway into lucrative studded of polymers, derivative abstract economic exotica, of medicine. There was never any examination of information itself.
I was lucky to become an exchange student and get to see the papers landing at the end of foreign driveways, pick up on the non-American, non-Christian, non-1st World perspective. There, in Malaysia in my Muslim household in the hills of a remote village, I got a much different story. The CIA was a global boogeyman that lead the Bullshit Brigade anywhere USA corporate interest wanted a foothold. You simply had to decide how big a grain of salt you were going to accept. In short, people were receptacles, end of story, story told, game over.
But, then the internet happened. Punk rock happened. As manufacturing abandoned the United States, and waves of recession washed over the hard-working people of the USA in the 70s, people began to search for alternative histories. What was post-modern became post-post-. modern. The idea of meta narratives, ideology and propaganda surfaced again. We entered the Age of Information, we were told.
Is Angola in the Information Age. Who the fuck knows. You don’t get that news on TV. Is Uganda promoting alternative fossil fuel research? How is Cambodia’s advancements against deadly malaria working out? Who knows. The people who control the media are sitting in the laps of major corporations who know one thing and one thing only: compliance leads to profits. but the people who control the military industrial complex know the opposite also applies.
If you are harvesting resources from unorganized no-name Strange People and the security risks increase because of internal conflict or anti-American sentiment, corporations will pass the cost onto the consumer. In short, danger, and death become a way to expand the profit margin.
But, with jerks like me going to foreign countries and making inroads into discovering unsettling truths about the both horrible exclusion of real information and the ability to be act on this information and be self-reliant, powering the greed machine becomes more difficult.
Enter the Unifying Enemy, shades of 1984 and Brave New World. The state has total control, and determine if your fate will be a plus or a negative on its big ass scales. If you can document and educate people on risks involved in working in this seemingly dangerous and unstable world – like we’re in the middle of a Pax Romana or something – then you can then start creating the risks that power the justification for raising costs to produce goods. Paranoia is growing.
If Nike harvests cotton in Afghanistan because we can control wages back down to zero, occasionally bomb a village of slave laboroers, it’s win-win for everyone controlling the scenario. the military gets a contract to protect and militarize the flow of information. The power structure gets to rationalize subhuman behavior against its dissidents. The poor get mighty protectors. And we get garments at a slightly higher price, but these organizations pump the idea into people’s heads that buying these goods matters.
If you trace the components to your electronic gizmos, to the clothes you buy, to the source of the rubber you use in the plastics that encapsulate your lives, you find slavery and oppression. My family in Malaysia was supported by a logging job, and a job cutting the ends off of toothpaste tubes. No one there had access to medicine. One night my host mother’s front tooth fell out at dinner. So, she just threw it out in the yard. The valuable crystals in your phones used to transfer data are mined by children. Your clothes are woven by starving Haitians living in heaps of tin and cardboard. the news is washing up on the shores of urban America. The garbage is coming in on the tides.
The hepsters are mad that the Consumers are Crazy. They revert to efficient, quasi-Amish utilzation of repurposed objects, archaeologists of the near-past. Everything is speeding up. In the 80s, people emulated the 50s in pop culture. Now, we merch out shit that was cool, then not cool just a few months ago. I call this celebration of the cool/notcool/cool again the Fauxgly. It’s like a wave, with amplitude and frequency determined by nearly stochastic, Brownian randomness, schizophrenic, perfectly heterogeneous means of distribution.
Which brings me to the Age of Crowdsourcing, or and Age of Instrumentation. Whereas the exclusion of the populace was used to serve the scarce, powerful and the illuminated sequestered in their courts of powerful nations, we have the inversion occurring. A way to capitalize on this strange reversal of the flow of Bullshit River is to shadow and reproduce avenues of production. the age of the rhizome. it’s not the rose anymore, It’s the thorny stem that grows. The blossom is like that of a distant star, quaint and lovely.
I would love to have a business comprised of a recycling center, 3D printing warehouse an army of designers and inventors, with a community that is totally self-reliant and anti-insular.
The way to make markets qualitative, to make heterogeneity work? To make Headless Capitalism thrive? End the dollar. Create Qualitative forms of currency. Make the dollar perform differently according to the specific transaction, until this abstracted method of deriving wages from work to get abstracted quanta of value(money) to return to the banks in return for objects of desire, this “currency” to flow in different ways.
I once saw a painting in the Prado in Spain that showed money cascading down from God into a multiplied hierarchy of elevating platforms, like an inverted tree with branches of cascading gold coins landing in more and more fountains. However, it’s the inversion which is true. The pate is passed empty, and goes back full.
That’s 2000 years of bullshit. Gone.
Every time you get paid, the banks print money to pay the debt it owes corporations to pay you. That’s wage slavery. Some make out better than others, some work all day and can’t buy a loaf of bread on the shelves while the “professional class” eats it for them.
There’s a phrase that comes to mid that sums this essay up, but it totally escapes me.
It’s going to drive me bananas.