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GENEALOGY OF CONSPIRACY
Some recent tweets on conspiracy on the occasion of Nick Land mentioning the topic on Twitter.
As a preliminary, it might be worth adding some comments to the developing “genealogy of conspiracy” some of my writings seem to have outlined.
In the words of David Porush, “Paranoia is epistemology gone wild.”
Conspiracy is the social or communal form of paranoia.
There is a considerable literature on the intrinsic links between paranoid conspiracy and Protestantism, that is, Protestant Christianity; between paranoid conspiracy and US American political culture.
Conspiracy usually links with images of Kafkaesque bureaucracy, updated to relevant contexts.
The USA does that kind of thing constantly; “X-Files”; UFO literature; et cetera; it all feeds into the love-hate relationship US citizens have with US government.
It’s a schizoid identification, because the government is elected by, constituted from, and represents, US citizens; so essentially, US government is the political face of US citizenry; but simultaneously it is hated by that selfsame US citizenry.
This shows that the people of the USA have a love-hate relationship with themselves, through the mediating detour of political imaging and imagination.
Looked at in that way, it explains a lot about US culture and its peoples.
The genealogy of modern conspiracy begins with English anti-Semitism, which in many ways is the initiating and governing model of all subsequent sorts of conspiracy.
It’s why all Anglo-American, folk-manufactured intrigues, always seem to reference one or more moments of antisemitism, somewhere in their articulations.
It could just be that the Anglo-American imaginary of “Others” traces the chronology in which Anglo-Saxons encountered those “Others” – Greeks? Romans? Then Hebrews?
What about Moorish Spain, though? Does that fit the interpretation?
The central point, though, is the characteristically inordinate cultural inflations of those initial “Others”, by Anglo-Saxons, in comparison to other receptions around the world, by other peoples and cultures.
Or in other words, the exaggerated caricatures of Anglo-Saxon insularity, in comparison with the more modest images of informed, cosmopolitan pluralism?
Looked at in this way, it is then possible to see Northern European modernity and the ways that it packages culture in modular forms – catering to insular perspectives, assumed to be ignorant, at the outset – as intrinsically based on the propaganda of modularised, cult mythology.
That’s why “Logan’s Run” was a social metaphor not so much of the future but of the contemporary USA.
“Tellingly”, cultural others or Otherness, are/is only imagined as forbidden and irradiated wasteland, obliterated by atomic weapons.
Which, of course, unavoidably, or “incontournably”, as Derrida would say, recalls Heidegger’s observation: “Rather than not will, it wills nothing (destruction) at all.”
This is of course Heidegger on Man, or at any rate, on Western Man and on that Western Man’s addiction to wilful or obstinate ignorance. An addiction that Western Man traces to the extent of self-destruction, as Heidegger says.
Schopenhauer, however, short-circuits the Heideggerian quandary of Occidental voluntarism:
“On the contrary, we freely acknowledge that what remains after the complete abolition of the will is, for all who are still full of the will, assuredly nothing. But also conversely, to those in whom the will has turned and denied itself, this very real world of ours with all its suns and galaxies, is – nothing.
This “nothing,” however, “is also the PrajnaParamita of the Buddhists, the ‘beyond all knowledge,’ in other words, the point where subject and object no longer exist.” (WWR, pp 41112)
The Buddhist transcendence of all knowledge is the transcendence of epistemology and thus of paranoia and conspiracy, too.
Here are the tweets:
01) Sol Yurick says that conspiracy begins with the ancient Greeks, which means that “the West” or Occident is conspiracy.
01a) Yurick, Sol. ‘How the Athenians Planned to Colonize the Mind of the West and Immortalize Themselves’. Social Text, no. 23 (1989): 29. https://doi.org/10.2307/466420.
02) The world has increasingly been run according to conspiracy for nearly a millennium – that’s when anti-Semitism begins, as the governing model of conspiracy.
It’s one in which only the wolf screams wolf, incessantly and at everyone else but itself.
03) Nick Land wants to employ social division in the service of more productivity and profit whilst ignoring the costs of social alienation. That’s basically his so-called “techno-commercialism”, in a “nut’s hell”.
04) Land doesn’t seem to realise the radicalisation of social division exceeds the linking powers of productivity and profit casuistry and only produces insurmountable incommensurability.
05) The initially Anglo-Saxon “peasantry” vs. Norman “elite”, English conspiracy industry, was a founding puritan export to the USA where it flourished without limitation.
06) Through the British Empire and US imperialism, the entire globe has been flattened into unidimensional phobic networks of paranoia.
07) Conspiracy is the dominant social mode of the USA.
It’s the folk epistemology of the USA, it arises from “the folk”.
The internet unleashed a transplanted and reserved chronology – the Middle Ages – residing in the folk mediaevalism and regressive religiosity of the USA.
THE USA – THE ‘UTILITARIAN SADISTICS OF APOCALYPSE’ – BUSINESS AS USUAL
In the ongoing monologues of pseudonymous-Wagner, over on Land’s blog, it’s possible to observe the Puritan, capitalist, racial, and narcissist, hysterias of US history, attempting to plot simplistic paths of combinatorial justification consistent with each extremity of prejudice.
It’s always a terminal culture, one predicated on another hysteria, that of apocalyptic productivity. Apocalyptic productivity is the corollary of extreme profit, hysterical profitability. That extreme profitability is the root of the so-called, ‘military-industrial complex’, a complex composed of both infrastructure and cultural psychology, aptly described by Allan Ramsay, back in 1777:
“the modest wish of our merchants, in conjunction with our Americans. The fair, and truly commercial, method of effecting this would have been, by superior skill, industry and frugality, to have undersold their rivals at market: but that method appearing slow and troublesome to a luxurious people, whose extraordinary expences* required extraordinary profits,” *1
The psychology of extreme profitability can never be satisfied or sated. Such dissatisfaction is exacerbated by the hallucinatory projections of a carefully maintained culture of deprivation anxiety – “you can take so-and-so out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of so-and-so”.
It’s a cultural machine of apocalyptic profitability, a cybernetic control system of psychological and cultural investitures whose only model of sanity is apocalyptic hysteria. The USA as the kingdom of sadomasochistic, ‘full-spectrum domination’, always chasing its own delusions of infinite profitability and infinite dominion, its dream of infinite exploitation.
That dream is always a business in the USA, an oneiric commerce whose depredations its promoters likewise always seek to justify using heavily customised epistemology. One in which the most depraved iniquity is presented as objective, neutral, and customary.
*1. “It is interesting to note that Allan Ramsay likewise deplored “a friendly alliance between the camp and the counting-house” for exactly the same reasons (Letters on the Present Disturbances, p.34). Ramsay maintained that of the evil consequences of such alliance “the two last wars carried on by England against France and Spain, furnish a most melancholy illustration. To obtain the sole and exclusive commerce of the western world, in which the French and Spaniards were their rivals, was the modest wish of our merchants, in conjunction with our Americans. The fair, and truly commercial, method of effecting this would have been, by superior skill, industry and frugality, to have undersold their rivals at market: but that method appearing slow and troublesome to a luxurious people, whose extraordinary expences* required extraordinary profits, a more expeditous one was devised; which was that of driving their rivals entirely out of the seas, and preventing them from bringing their goods at all to market. For this purpose, not having any fleets or armies of their own, the powers of the State were found necessary, and they applied them accordingly” (ibid., pp.32 f.).
Knorr, K. E. ‘Ch02-Part2 British Colonial Theories 1570-1850’. In British Colonial Theories, 1570-1850. The University of Toronto Press, 1944.”
THE OCCIDENT IS, ‘CULTURE WAR’: That’s Exactly What ‘Imperialism’ Means
The word, “Terf”, has been floating around mediascapes for a while. Not being sure what it meant, I had to look it up, it’s an acronym, for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”.
So, basically, it has to do with rejection of transsexual or transgender females, those who had been born male, from certain entitlements reserved for females born female.
Entitlements such as ‘safe spaces’ protected from male violence.
There have been reports of trans-females physically attacking a born-female feminist, which would tend to confirm any so-called, “Terf” argument, viewing trans-females as the powers of male violence attempting to colonise various signs and essences associated with the semiotics of the female.
In short, in essentialist terms, it would be seen as the male desire for simple convertibility into the female, outweighing the history of female suffering. The trans-female argument would be that such a view is too essentialist and ignores the roles of self-identification, self-experience, and personal choice.
At that point, the argument degenerates into typical, intersubjective scenarios, of stupid and cliched altercation where no resolution is possible.
It’s the ‘me me me scenario’.
We know that the USA is big on all rhetorics involving selfhood – to the extent that the USA can too easily be seen as one big, festering sore, of sulky self-inflation, and not much else.
It’s the reason why the USA never really ‘got’ Freud, converting him into the more manageable, positivist transactions, of things like ego or object psychology. That trend of dumbed-down analysis for stupid, literally ‘over-selfish’, people, as it were, reaches its apogee with Scientology.
Identity expression as a function of ‘individual choice’ – so again, the Occidental traditionalism of a simplistic, metaphysics of selfhood and willpower, as inflected through market environments by the reigning model of the consumer-self. The ‘me me me scenario’ does the rest of the work, in constructing the rest of the rote rotations characterising the mise en scène of the Occidental android, simulacra production line.
It’s interesting how both sides of the so-called, “Terf” debate, are infected with fascist habits and tactics, at least in their characterisations of each other. It’s interesting, as well, how the common denominator between them, is that they are both developments largely nurtured in the USA. The ongoing production of bog standard, cliched cultural altercations, seems to be at its most incessant in the USA. It’s definitely symptomatic of a dumbed-down culture voracious for more participatory stupidity.
Elephantine Esoterica, Proceedings I
It’s possible to ‘rationalise’, anything at all; it’s possible to ‘naturalise’, anything at all.
For instance, from certain kinds of naturalising perspectives, the notion of ‘reasoned debate’ would merely be the result of processes of natural determination, an instance of those processes, not really any different to them. Therefore, you can use metaphoric transposition and see everything as constituted by ‘reasoned debate’. Therefore, elephant culture and ways, are susceptible to being represented as a set of ‘reasoned debates’.
Whatever it is that you think the masses should be convinced of, you evidently think that, on the basis of assuming some kind of epistemological discrepancy, regarding some form of rational consideration. That the behaviour of large groups of people is in some way deficient with respect to the results of that form of rational consideration. But we know that statistically both large groups of people and elephants do actually follow characteristic logics of behaviour that are susceptible to explanations of rational analysis. The problem is that statistical representations of behaviour, are only that, behavioural representations or samplings that do not represent the holistic possibilities of each and every individual organism. They are reductions to behavioural images.
People’s behaviour, whether elephants or whatever else, is merely what they do given various contexts, it’s not at all a full explanation of their possibilities.
None of us would want to be reduced to impoverished statistical representations of our everyday behaviour, but each of us do actually produce such behaviour. I’m drinking Nescafe, but drinking Nescafe is not a sufficient representation of everything else I do, or of my possibilities, one of which could be that I change my beverage habits.
From the perspective of a wine seller or grocer, Jesus Christ is just another customer.
People who chase the notion of relatively unspecified optimisation based only on their own interpretations of self-perceived inadequacy or limitation merely project the inverse image of their inadequacy as an assumed and unanalysed teleology, circling within the assumed epistemological limits of that economics of inadequacy. People like Nick Land, for instance.
The colloquial expression is that of being ‘better off’, in some way. I’ve referred to that with the ironic figure, of the god, ‘BetterOff’, on my blog.
But notions of optimisation are contingent on criteria of characterisation. Reactionary philosophy and ideology is kind of like ‘bubblegum pop music’, as it used to be called. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, necessarily. But there is when it’s promotion is totalitarian.
That point was implicit, “Whatever it is that you think the masses should be convinced of, you evidently think that, on the basis of assuming some kind of epistemological discrepancy, regarding some form of rational consideration”
And “That the behaviour of large groups of people is in some way deficient with respect to the results of that form of rational consideration.”
Epistemological discrepancy, or deficiency with respect to assumptions of rational consideration = “that the primary methods of population manipulation are premised incorrectly and therefore inappropriate”
Population manipulation, occurs according to a feedback loop with population behaviour. That feedback loop uses managerial or administrative, statistical instruments and interpretations, what I have called ‘sparkline hieroglyphics’.
Of course, it’s always going to be premised incorrectly, if statistical administration is too simplistic to account for individually organic epistemology.
So now that point has been clarified, there is no excuse to suppress elephantine consideration, the relevance of which has been demonstrated, and is central to the topic being discussed. It was after all a consideration that you introduced. If you dismiss it as mere metaphorical exploitation, relegating it to some subsidiary and irrelevant role with regard to some kind of serious thesis, this relegation is then susceptible to questioning. It’s not just the usual and facile deconstructive reversal. It goes much deeper than that. Elephantine dignity, which you so casually exploited the possible, magnitudinal convention and linguistic ornamentality, of; is now the symbolic bearer of all forces and conditions that the structure of your thetic assumption might neglect. It is precisely because of this possible neglect, that it is of interest as being a possible repository of solutions and understandings, if and when the economics and resources of your thetic assumption might prove inadequate or irresolvable. In short, the answer often resides within that which is neglected by the well worn, trends and conventions, of ‘reasoned debate’.
If that were not so, why do issues continue, when there has been so much ‘reasoned debate’?
The elephant could well be the new premise required!
This is not to say that a new, elephantine fixation, should be introduced. That elephant ontology should somehow form the basis of fresh, tyrannical conventions. That the elephantine should be exploited by the usual narratives of historical commodification, rising and falling according to the same psychosocial dialectics of glorification. This would only produce future scenarios of elephantine resentment at being so exploited by world-historical industry.
It is not inconceivable that such a future elephantine resentment would not give rise to at least one or two surfaces of paranoid conspiracy, of epistemology gone wild; even if, as only some kind of ironic referral to the characteristics of humanoid epistemology.
It is thus possible that a future CEO of the Disney Corporation, might be an elephant. One calling herself or himself, ‘Dumbo’. From such a position of cultural power, Dumbo the elephant, might well see itself as a representative of elephantine interests, in general; not only those interests, but certainly as a representative not neglecting such interests.
It is easy to forecast that one of the documents belonging to the cultural surface of future, elephantine, paranoid conspiracy, might focus on Michel Foucault’s famous quote concerning, ‘The End of Man’. From the perspective of that elephantine suspicion, Foucault’s quote might well be seen as a veiled attack on the elephantine, in general. That Michel Foucault was a humanoid, who might well have produced casual statements about the elephantine, elsewhere, in his writings and recordings; statements interpretable as derogatory from an elephantine perspective.
These would, of course, be susceptible to collection by future elephant scholars, such collection suggesting semantic arcs of interpretation susceptible to readings of characteristic, humanoid conspiracy, and thus utilisable as referral of elephantine irony.
Thus, the elephantine would enable a certain kind of esoteric reading, an elephantine esoterica, which would reveal itself through various reinterpretations, perhaps even of Michel Foucault’s famous quote?
“VI IN CONCLUSION
One thing in any case is certain: the Elephant is neither the oldest nor the most constant problem that has been posed for Man’s knowledge. Taking a relatively short chronological sample within a restricted geographical area – European culture since the sixteenth century – one can be certain that the Elephant is a recent invention within it. It is not around him and his secrets that knowledge prowled for so long in the darkness. In fact, among all the mutations that have affected the knowledge of things and their order, the knowledge of identities, differences, characters, equivalences, words – in short, in the midst of all the episodes of that profound history of the Same – only one, that which began a century and a half ago and is now perhaps drawing to a close, has made it possible for the figure of the Elephant to appear. And that appearance was not the liberation of an old anxiety, the transition into luminous consciousness of an age-old concern, the entry into objectivity of something that had long remained trapped within beliefs and philosophies: it was the effect of a change in the fundamental arrangements of knowledge. As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, the Elephant is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end.
If those arrangements were to disappear as they appeared, if some event of which we can at the moment do no more than sense the possibility – without knowing either what its form will be or what it promises – were to cause them to crumble, as the ground of Classical thought did, at the end of the eighteenth century, then one can certainly wager that the Elephant would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.”
(Elephantine Esoterica, Proceedings VII, rectificatory reading of “The Order of Things”, Michel Foucault; 1966)
This kind of document is not merely a possibility, but given technological trends, is a certainty, and rightfully so, given the history of symbolic exploitation of the elephantine. One notices that the retention of ‘Man’s knowledge’, in the first line, is the instrument by which the conspiracy effect of Man as manipulator of elephantine innocence, is produced.
THE COMPLICITY STRUCTURING OF THE INFINITE AND THE FINITE
A quick note for those who might be interested.
I wrote this recently – “The notion of the infinite is contingent on notions of finitude. If notions of finitude are empty, so are notions of the infinite.”
That was within a Buddhist context concerning emptiness.
Classically speaking, the notion of the finite and the notion of the infinite are complicit conceptions.
Finite means, defining; definite; finished. Infinite means, not finite.
So of course both words have each a range of meanings which are not necessarily strictly synonymous, but those meanings are connected and have a logic.
Obviously, finite and infinite are inverses of each other, but it’s probably important to keep track of whatever specific inversions are in play with respect to specific notions of the finite, and their corollary, specific inversions of the infinite.
How this is useful, is where notions of the infinite do indeed rest on specific characterisations. They are infinite with respect to some specific quality, substance, tendency, extent, et cetera. Those specificities are finite structures, that is to say, defined or ‘finished’ structures, structures of the finite which are then opened up to various modes of infinity procedures or infinitisations, whether it be endless recursion of, or just endless extent of, whatever specific, finite structuring, is being addressed.
The important thing to remember is the specific complicity between the two concepts.
The Story of Anglo-Saxon Anti-Semitism – An Open Conspiracy
Here’s a short essay on anti-Semitism. Or at least, its primary, Anglo-Saxon and Norman form. In a way, it constitutes the history of modern paranoia and conspiracy, more generally, as well, not just anti-Semitism.
If paranoia, is “epistemology gone wild”; and if conspiracy is the social form of paranoia; is it the case that the recurring prevalence of these two forms has as much to do with the conveyance of technological mediation, as any purely psychological theory or explanation?
Are these two sociopsychological forms actually ‘produced’?
And is that the real ‘conspiracy’?
ADMINISTRATION OF EPIPHANY
The notion of an “ocean of dissemblance” would be contingent on two concepts, the oceanic, implicitly a principle of unity; and the principle of similarity/dissimilarity implicit in dissemblance.
So at the root of the notion is the play of ‘likeness’.
The play of likeness necessarily presumes at least two entities bearing the relation of likeness with respect to each other.
The metaphysical status and characterisation of these entities and relations would obviously seem to suggest subsequent scenarios of supervening operations regarding those entities and relations. That is to say, if metaphysical characterisation has to do with; the contextual production of those entities and relations; or an economics of which those entities and relations are contingencies; then it’s quite naturally the case that such metaphysical characterisation works as a principle of unity whose metaphoric expression is the oceanic, but not any less a formal principle because of such metaphoricity.
So Deleuze’s notion, whatever privileging of apparent disjunction, difference, or as he says, “dissemblance”, might be ascribed to it; the very notion itself implicitly utilises the principle of unity to achieve its formalist effects. If an opposite privileging were offered, a similar implicit utilisation, mutatis mutandis, would result.
Within the networks of these formal possibilities it is possible to derive or construct pretty much anything in the way of conceptual innovation or philosophies of-; this is merely conceptual combinatorics, though it can nevertheless exercise profound effects depending on the natures of the commitments involved.
It is understandable that there are existential and referential anxieties bound up with these networks of formal possibility, which are not merely ‘formal’, but intimately complicit and unified with those anxieties and their bases.
The production of an identity is the production of a concept, the conceptual seed of a discursive logic. The production of a concept, of that conceptual seed of discursive logic, is susceptible to elaborations of configurative force, the configurations of that concept. The resulting discursive formations are merely the systematic elaborations of such configuration. Discursive formations are not merely that which is commonly thought of through the rubric of the linguistic.
The notion of non-identity is equally the production of identity and the concept. Identity still functions as a configuring force.
People like Deleuze and Laruelle are still working within economies of referential relation, existential anxiety, and expediency, their concepts revolve around these supervening formations.
Whether or not this is philosophy in a wider sense, or practical philosophy, or ‘non-‘ philosophy; such category anxieties probably bespeak uncritical dogmas of initial assumption, too much, those anxieties continuing to configure repetitions of such assumption without developing the insights that might be expected from a more progressive understanding. Battling a history of bad receptions and interpretations belonging to particular groups, whilst ignoring a history of past insights belonging to others, or perhaps even those same groups, probably reflects the marketing procedures of intellectual commodity rather than any other notion of progress.
Whether this leads to a kind of social proletarianisation, or proletarian socialisation, of insight and wisdom; as a kind of reactive and recollective backward step; and whether this was what Deleuze and Laruelle were and are trying to do; is an open question. Even if that were the case, it is highly doubtful that such a particularly contained set of cogitations and understandings, so bound up with analyses of shifting structures and tendencies of alleged error, could lead to anything other than redistribution of such alleged errors, without more radical understandings.
Though the overarching resolutions of epiphanic understanding, whether in philosophical or religious forms, are personal, and not necessarily effective as programmes of social administration, it is persons that constitute the social, and if their understandings enable more effective and happier forms of administration, those epiphanies should not be ignored.
WRITING (1989-1991 -ish)
These short pieces were written during the period, roughly around, 1989-1991.
They are short notes and observations, giving a slight taster of an impression of the writing concerns of that period.
When there is writing, no thing writes, neither subject nor object. When there is writing, what writes is the most open of questions, so open, in fact, that it need never be asked. But, for speculative purposes, any writing can speak on behalf of any thing.
THE GRAND INVOLUTION
The dangerous combination of US internal disarray and its prodigious legacy powers, makes for an unstable, international actor, on the global scene. Putin is far more intelligent and focused, his objectives are plain. I think there may well be other actors on the scene, not straightforwardly nationally representative, but facilitators of all types working the new, or perhaps not really so new, regions of power politics that have opened up. It’s an international business that can be accessed from anywhere.
Traditional forms of governance, are thus no longer reliable sites of closure from which responsibility can be produced. This is not a revolution, it is a Grand Involution, and it has already begun.
IDENTITY GAMING ON THE INTERNET: NEURO-BUBBLES PLAYING WITH MARKERS OF FLESHLY FORM, OR PERHAPS IT’S THE OPPOSITE?
Victor Tangermann’s article, “Actually, Social Media Isn’t An Echo Chamber” (https://futurism.com/social-media-is-not-echo-chamber/), claims that: “Social media might not be the filter bubble we make it out to be. Quite the contrary — having access to a social media feed could, in fact, push us to get our news from a wider variety of sources.”
Apparently, he is of the belief, in the Internet age, that a social media ‘echo chamber’ is merely the simplest of self-censorships: “we confine ourselves to news bubbles”; that, “[w]e wrap ourselves in a warm blanket of news that reinforces our beliefs and opinions back to us”; that, “Facebook News Feed is an echo chamber, reinforcing each person’s political and ethical stances.”
This simple equating of levels of information exposure to inverse levels of ‘bubble’ filtration or censorship, is not the significant issue at play. ‘Big, bad, corporations and governments’ do not at all have to engage in such primitive manipulations, though it’s not the case that they have desisted from this. It’s not necessary, not when considerable sections of the public themselves can do it for them. Not only do it, but advocate for considerably more extreme and sophisticated forms of it.
Identity politics, of whatever kind, too often, occurs in corporate-hosted arenas, in which the so-called ‘public’, knowingly and unknowingly, enthusiastically do the bidding of wider, corporate interests, usually because they derive some psychological and/or financial benefit from doing so.
Marketing campaigns are most easily conducted through targeting market sectors according to mass categorical relevance, in short, through market identification. Production imperatives often obligate ‘market creation’, which entails identity construction. Identity construction, is most easily achieved through simple opposition. Without opposition, the identity in question cannot determine itself, at least not according to the classical, Occidental demands for determinate identity, apprehensively delimited and in tangible form. It’s required for all ‘divide and rule’ operations, too.
No one is saying that because people choose to live in a bubble of constrained belief that they are going to practice a total censorship through outright suppression of alternative information. That the article has been written as if such a belief were the case, actually emerges out of, and caters for, the simplistic literalism that it attempts to modify. It’s a typical example of the kind of positivist and dogmatic ghettos wherein lazy, obstinate, and arrogant, thinking, attempt to surreptitiously install their hegemonic dominance. That’s not how it actually works.
At the risk of repeating such stupidity, it might be that further explication is called for.
The article is correct in describing the emotional entrenchment that takes place through oppositional discourse and exchanges. It is through these general and informal discursivities of exchange, that misrepresentations of opposing tendencies are formed. The identity warrior surveys a range of media, not just those directly affirming held identity, but also those media belonging to the opposition, or potential opposition, as a kind of reconnaissance of enemy territory.
This has been observed on the Internet for decades.
On virtual worlds, such as Second Life, it is easy to observe people quite deliberately seeking out ideological opponents, whatever the ideology concerned. Much of this has to do with the domestication of cyberspace, giving familiar and determinate form to the limitlessness of possibility that the Internet enables. There are no passports on much of the Internet, no common set of standards by which to organise identity exchanges. This then eventuates in a general situation of personal obligation and responsibility, as far as identity expression is concerned. What can thus be observed, is a scenario whereby those most inculcated with dogmatic styles of ideological expression, those most hostile to the unfamiliar and the unknown, are the most aggressively proactive of identity warriors, and the most insistent and devious practitioners of disingenuous misrepresentation.
The resulting chaos serves the interests of the same dogmatic cultural groupings that it has served in the past. At the same time as the Internet enables greater communication, this movement produces greater levels of reactionary irresponsibility and denial.
The construction of identity bubbles, previously catered for by national governments and media, has now devolved to islands of local enthusiasm, and their often hysterical productions. Accessibility to all global information is also susceptible to the full range of global interpretations, inclusive of the ignorances of extremist hysteria. These identity-gang tendencies have always been there, they were not necessarily or wholly invented by governments or corporations, even though they might be manipulated by them, or even arise out of them. In fact, a government or corporation itself can be considered as a ‘gang’.
The xenophobic impulse is, largely speaking, the origin of social identity in all militarised regimes. This impulse perpetuates itself through the people, themselves, and the Internet merely allows the expression of that fact.
It’s not that the Internet or social media is necessarily an “echo chamber”. Echo chambers are deliberately desired and constructed, for whatever reasons, to produce echo effects. The desire for an echoic existence is usually positioned psychologically, as a figure of narcissism. The ‘culture of narcissism’, as described by Christopher Lasch, in the 1970s, never went away. What can be observed, is this culture, very much a corollary of consumerist culture, repackaging itself as virtualised, social conflict. As previously stated, this repackaging has been quietly engineered over the last few decades, in virtual worlds and in computer gaming. It’s a repackaging, as both virtualised identity and opposition. What is at play, is the commodification of the unconscious, itself. Ironically, though it expresses and produces conspiracies and paranoia, aplenty, there is no actual conspiracy behind it, at least nothing beyond the people’s tacit consent and desire. The atavistic desire for romanticising fantasy nostalgias, seen in so many contemporary media productions, is merely a commodified escape route from the disciplines of incessant production, but one that has seemingly become itself an ‘incessant production’, showing all else in the light of this productive insistence. Hence, the hysteria and ‘fake news’. The simulacrum has merely announced itself.
The article merely outlines a simplistic, behavioural explanation directed towards altering a simplistic literalism that, in any case, only an ignorant attitude would entertain. That such obviousness requires the expression of an entire article to indicate, is itself a symptom of mass cultural identity presupposition, one that perhaps sustains the slow, decelerating and simplifying obligations of its own identity game.