Control Your Own Mind or Someone Else Will


STATE OF THE ART: The cry of Post-Postmodern art is "NOMO POMO: Stop! We've had enough!" We're full of data glut, quick-cut image glut, new media and new protocols. We've seen so much cool it's left us cold. We've Flashed into a collective spasm that verges on panic. We can't fight or flee the technological juggernaut, and why should we? The price of entry to this Brave New World is surrender of your belief barrier. We can use new media as our medium for self-expression, joyously making technological and experiential works, body-based works, and mythopoetic works. They aren't machine-made; they are informed, considered executions of our vision, not just mechanical programs or aesthetic accidents. Art connected to Source and the zeitgeist of its times has a living taproot in the matrix of evolution. There is as much unlimited digital aesthetic content as there is in nature. Our works "work" when they work themselves through our culture, based on that culture's underlying psychological need. They become meaningful if perceived as carrying revelatory weight that somehow illuminates our collective lives. They may not be "true", but good things come of this generative vision, reaffirming and celebrating our humanity. To be art, it just has to be significant, reflecting or steering culture. As artists, we use our own experiential vision to create perceptual embodiments in our medium of choice. We can still take a fresh look at the world, inspired by the entire spectrum of human artistic endeavor, without resurrecting or imitating the past, but taking it that strategic step further with contextualized elements. We have attained a degree of technological sophistication to open most, if not all, of the new realms to the creative process. Unexplored media in the quantum paintbox include truly tactile virtual reality, and various levels of induced altered awareness, such as hypnotism, which assault as many of the senses and emotions as possible in order to break open the door of the five senses and drive our audience into the infinitude beyond, newer vistas of participatory experience and expression. Soon artists will be designing new bodies, new senses, and synthetic environments. The path of our unManifest Destiny clearly leads toward a transhuman biological imperative in the evolutionary eventstream.

STATE OF THE HEART: Higher art must be intensely personal while being universal and universally accessible. It must show refined knowledge, understanding and respect for the art that has come before to enrich those around us. Much the same can be said for an artfully and heartfully lived life. We can apply a similar strategy to our spirituality, drawing on the best of what the past offers while keeping our practice and service contemporary and relevant. Our lives become multidimensional artful expressions without frames, embodied in living Light. Process-oriented spirituality is eclectic and intensely personal. The connection we have with the inspirational Source that nourishes creative life is the same source that sustains our spirits and funds our compassion. It is a deep well from which we can drink at will, the abundant lifesprings of our essential being. The Romantics, arguably beginning with Blake, turned art into a kind of substitute for religion. The East emphasizes a mystical-magical orientation, the West a humanist-rationalist POV. Romanticism is an essentially gnostic spirituality, a Mystery religion. But now there is no intergenerational priesthood to have our visions for us; we have them for ourselves. Rather than anti-scientifically considering cognition and technofacility an anti-artistic dirty little secret, digital art and multimedia embrace the fusion. There is no Romantic terror of human cognition nor need for anti-technical transcendence with direct interface on the horizon. Knowledge is power...over yourself. Mind your mind; control yourself with self-awareness and self-responsibility. There is no artificial distinction between the pursuit of knowledge and self-knowledge and aesthetics. Beauty is an affair of the heart but speaks to our whole being.

2006: POST-POMO DIGI/OSOPHY. Reality is the ultimate medium. To some extent we are all “reality-hackers” because we concoct unique worldviews about self, others and world. We learn ways to make the system work for us, but often fail to notice how it works on us, too. We can now make the electrons dance with Science-Art, and soon, moreso. On the horizon is Real Fantasy VR full immersion simulation, nanotech subatomic assembly and repair, neural biochip computer interface, cold fusion and/or free energy devices, intervention in the germ line, and healing with quantum bioholography. Biotech is poised to take us into the posthuman era.

But another dehumanizing reality has been delineated by cultural theorist, Arthur Kroker: “what we traditionally have meant by human perception, (vision, insight, ethical judgment, discriminating between reality and illusion) has been effectively shut down, almost surgically replaced by the virtual vision machine of the militarized imagination. We are suddenly rendered vulnerable to the new virtual myths about the supposedly hygienic character of posthuman warfare.” Information warfare (PSYOPS; Agitprop; psychotronics) is bloodless but just as pernicious.

Kroker suggests we develop filters against such psychic infiltration. He suggests that in radical crisis the individual must courageously refuse to assent to totalitarian power. The destiny of individual freedom depends on maintaining critical ethical judgment and a clarity that can filter out propaganda and rebel against it. He seems to suggest being a rebel with a cause, a novel notion in the anarchist pomo world.

A post-Postmodern movement (Science-Art and Know Brow art) is delineating a new ethic, as one counterpoint to the postmodern message, which rejected all utopian ideals and humanism for cultural relativism, alienation, and disillusionment. We can have an optimistic spirit without insisting on perfecting society; we can prioritize social safety nets putting people’s real needs above ideology and corporate cycles of business and war.

Although postmodernism claims opposition to the arrogant values of the world order as it exists today, this rather hopeless view never offered positive advice for future generations. It fosters ambivalence, ennui, and resignation over the healthy self-esteem of recognition for accomplishments rather than negative attention from "acting out". This attitude is ironic because we lose some of our humanity toward our fellow beings and it has left a craving for attention from a continuously preoccupied world.

Postmodernism ratifies trauma and drama, offering no new meaning, encouraging no search for identity. It considered humanism and any idealism painfully banal; but is it any better, any less predictable once you know the rules of its transgressive game? How "bourgeois" will humanism be once humanity is posthuman? We realize science hasn't solved today's problems and remains poised to complicate existence further.

We already have freed ourselves from established order with transgression, emotion, intuition, fantasy, contemplation, mysticism, and eclecticism, even magick. We claimed the subconscious and elevated the trance state; we've recycled the entire iconography of human history. We've appropriated, sampled, and graffitied our global cultural heritage. We should have integrated the lexicon of both the rational and irrational by now.

Instead of just being anarchist, what's wrong with being free AND humane, turning our spirituality back to the real world? Can we find our humanity through apolitical ambivalence, pleasure-seeking narcissism, without identity, purpose, or attachment? This question is acute since we are among the last generations of purely organic humans. Human values, our understanding of right and wrong are linked to our nonreligious psychobiological instincts about human rights and dignity.

We are facing unprecedented challenge as a species. Biotech is on the verge of revolutionizing our species for good or evil. It's one thing to know about futuristic tech that can transform society, and something else to continuously adapt to it. Who will help us if we don't help one another? We'll still be here, just not quite human anymore, with obvious benefits and some subtle, physical and spiritual harms.

Maybe this is why New Age prophets claim history ends in 2012. Maybe that is the official end of our "human" history, and the beginning of a “posthuman” stage of history. History can’t really end until science ends. Mechanistic augmentation is already here from the heart transplant, pacemaker, and prosthetics, to the hearing aid, and beyond. Then there are the media extensions of our nervous system, from computer to cell phone. Military apps drive most of the technology upgrades. Ironically, we're fighting a posthuman war that recently destroyed precisely the artifacts of the dawn of human civilization in Mesopotamia and Sumeria.

Meanwhile, marketers are on the verge of deploying HyperSonic advertising, which aims an aural laser at your head and drills an advert wormhole into your thoughts and biophysical reactions. Hypersonic sound is inaudible to anyone standing outside the beam. Tightly focused ultrasound (HSS) can hit a single person in a crowd 200 feet away. Pitches will be matched to items on the shelves. Your purchasing ideas won't be your own and you won't know the difference. The frequency will put you in a receptive alpha state and sell you at the same time. You're a sitting duck; they are inside your head. HSS is also being incorporated into consumer electronics for direct sound TV and music.

Hyper-space even makes common time and space obsolete, eliminating customary boundaries. This nihilism reflected the prevailing skepticism of the late 20th Century, with it's meltdown Millennial Fever and, but hardly reflects life moving well into the 21st Century. It substitutes an ideological Truth in the vacuum it created by rejecting existential truth for functional truth. In the end, how alive or lively can we be without ideals and love?

The Information Age is obsessed with meaning and lack of meaning. The relationship between sign and meaning is complex. At this stage, most Postmodern art is more symptomatic than memorable, more eclectic than revelatory, more predictable than ironic. Private artistic universes, such as installation and performance art, are obsolete, because now we are all performers in the world of new media. Their predictive element is gone. Everyone stars in his or her own reality show.

In the end, Postmodernism is just a body of complex academic theory without much heart or compassion. But we need to find a sociological way to fund that art, heart and compassion in disaffected youth who have been psychically abused and disenfranchised without spiritual hope for the future. A broader view shows that more than one thing happens. The most progressive thinkers can fear the future they envision, and the most anarchistic person can care deeply for his or her peers. So why hide behind an outmoded trendy academic philosophy, which shaped the 90s but now is just another mask of tattooed conformity?

Reality can be manipulated through physics and technology, through cultural engineering, through media, through hypnosis, through creativity, through contagious ideas, agitprop, psychological propaganda and misdirection. The global dispersal of illicit and pharmaceutical drugs, weapons, and consumer goods is not unrelated to the secret war for your mind, which ranges from economic and sociopolitical objectives to overt spiritual manipulation. If you are an end-user, you are the final link in a causal chain of supply and demand driven by brainwashing.

Democracy went extinct in a hostile corporate takeover. Corporate raiders are now gutting the US economy just as they did the Third World nations. Religion and metaphysics have been hijacked as tools of manipulation of large populations. Marx said as much last century, calling it the "opium of the masses". We might say the same now for plasma TV, X-Box, Play Station and even the web.

Likewise, much of the so-called New Age consists largely of numbed-out dilettante idealists: blue-hairs, beamers, and bliss bunnies. Your cherished beliefs, focus and attention are the most potent weapons of a system gone mad. The battle for your mind is a competition for your screen, including the internal Theater of your Mind. Soon it will be the race for your neural interface. To the extent you are a passive consumer, they have essentially won. If you have otherworldly concerns, you have abdicated control of the only reality we can know: this one. Someone else’s ideas are playing your strings.

DIGIOSOPHY is a metaphysical perspective, a philosophy with its own technopriests, structure of unseen realms (virtualities), subtle bodies, energy/matter fields, technological metaphors (systems, processing, software, networking, interface), rituals (protocols), and visions of the future of mankind. Its rite of passage is a golden ticket to the 21st Century. It may or may not be a human survival technology since its very nature is leading inexorably toward transhumanism. However, it is a form of culture that creates its own context, process, and content.

We've already fused our nervous systems with electronics, essentially making ourselves cyborgs. Next comes the biochip implant, the transducer/biology interface that will be able to automatically modulate mood and regulate the body more optimally than our metabolism. Then comes its first cousin, the nanites to repair and restore the tissues and battle intruders. The inevitable future of medicine, communications, data management and nanotech can only make it more so. The interfaces for computer and communications tech will become less and less noticeable and more organic, a seamless interface between user and information.

The digital universe consists of a matrix of 1’s ad 0’s; input and output: I/O. Likewise, our subjective experience consists solely of Input and Output. Human beings can’t be reduced to purely mechanistic descriptions. Still, the maxim "garbage in, garbage out" holds in both organic and mechanical logic. Often we generate our own garbage internally, playing on our own nervous systems with self-generated signals, self talk, emotional reactions, and self-defeating patterns. Negative patterns both arise from and take root in the lacunae of our unconscious. But faulty ideas take root in both the rational and emotional parts of our mind.

We are subjected to philosophical, religious and political propaganda continuously. Culturalization colonizes us at the belief system layer of psyche and infects our self talk and self-image from birth forward. The same process happens at the national and multinational level. People are controlled and manipulated through their belief systems, often based on the most outrageous primary assumptions about how things work. But what if they/we are completely wrong? Our beliefs condition how we think, feel and act.

But our beliefs are recursively conditioned by centuries of cultural programming and mythic patterns that control and manipulates entire populations, socio-politically and spiritually. What if your most cherished beliefs about your spiritual life were undermined with less glamorous revelations about the manipulation of human nature? Why do we seek Truth, and more importantly, why do we seek it outside ourselves in some mysterious authority or mystical signs?

We have to learn how to stop gobbling down propaganda, consumerism, and phony beliefs and make ourselves immune to such manipulation because the onslaught is virtually relentless. Why is the Information Age riddled with gurus? Different classes of belief diseases poison not only what we think, but also HOW we think. Our beliefs about belief are the deeper problem.

We need to build our psychological immunity to such psychotropic infections with DIY mind control. Organized arrays of opinions on economics, philosophy and theology battle for our human minds, seducing and then abandoning us when their false promises fail to manifest. But perhaps if we believe we can, we can solve the problems we claim are unsolvable because of our stupefication, without resort to “higher powers”. We have to focus on what these arcane and banal beliefs deflect us from thinking about, learning to cope without mental crutches. Propaganda misdirects our attention down a dead end path.

First we have to reclaim our brains and our true power of manipulating and regulating our own nervous systems because beliefs work through punishment and reward and the thrills of discovery and belonging. They work by playing a neurotransmitter symphony on our sympathetic and parasympathetic systems of sensory overload and deprivation, our enthusiasm and ennui. The neurochemistry of love works through the same pathways creating addictive patterns that rivet our focus in delight and obsession. We need to learn some measure of self-soothing and self-care.

We’re supposed to love Truth, yet there is none. We’re supposed to love Beauty but we are drugged into a zombified oblivion by the narcotizing false standards of consumer culture that would homogenize us all. We’re supposed to love love itself, which science reveals as an obsessive, addictive process. The more we are calculatedly instructed to be freedom loving the less we can realize it. If that doesn't numb you, they give you Prozac. Shareholder values control your life, the plutocracy, the oil-ogarchy, global corporate feudalism. We are stuck between myths and the system, the decaying American Dream and unaffordable, non-sustainable globalization.

Even though it's an entertaining idea, let's not go down the cinematic black hole that claims we're storage batteries for alien life in the digital Matrix. The tides of human history are sufficient to program most of us into a myopic self-absorbed stupor. Everyone is missing the Big Picture because their attention is waylaid by survival, mindless entertainment, or cultural and religious myths. Just try working yourself out of that labyrinth.

Self-organization and self-steering provide alternative dynamics for the subjective experience of will in Chaosmos. We think we are autonomous, but consciousness studies cannot confirm free will or True Will. We may tell ourselves we have intentionally aligned our will with cosmos for some greater good and experience "cosmic flow", but that could be a bigger fantasy than The Matrix. You may as well rage against the Machine. As long as sociopolitical forces anticipate your next thought you are conditioned to think that way. We think we experience free choice if the determinants are hidden from us. What, if anything, makes our discontent "divine"?

Free Will is arguably as improbable as Free Lunch or Free Energy, according to today's Science. If it exists, we can't find it or tap into it at this time, except conceptually. But we like to speculate and dream about these potential freedoms, which could magically fulfill our desires, security, and power needs. THEN, we might feel "in control". But we fear we aren't in control of our lives except in small ways; the world at large is completely different than we have been led to believe. And freedom remains a "potential". The structure of digital information is decentralized, heralding the end of cultural and individual control fantasies.

Nobody controls anything. It's so complex, everything affects everything else, and we can't anticipate, plan for, or escape it all, despite our intentions or the quantum-mind magic buzzword, "intentionality". Perhaps we seek a domain of control of our lives and health and futures precisely because we feel so OUT of control. We see the flux of chaos and sense the fear and pain in its wake.

In his theory of the virtual class, Pomo social and political theorist Arthur Kroker raises this fear to double irony, to hysteria, to spasm in his reflections on technoculture. In 'Hacking the Media', he says "We like the notion of overidentifying with the feared and desired object, to such a point of obsession that you begin to take a bath in its acid juices. You travel so deeply and quickly in cyberculture that you force it to do things it never wanted to. I try to live my philosophy through cyberculture."

The mind is a factory of illusions, therefore disillusionment. The directed mind also has the capacity to SEE THROUGH its former illusions. We are constantly under the influence of subliminal and overt messages, both internal and external, that create natural trance states and associated beliefs. They color our self-image, relationships, worldview, existential and spiritual beliefs. They self-generate signals that attempt to fill the existential void with some repertoire of multisensory iconography, the linguistic and visual grammar and vernacular of a belief system.

Metaphysics is more than an umbrella term for eclectic spiritual practice or a spiritual study of the Arcane, magick, and hierarchies of altered states and Unknowable Truths. It is the domain of philosophy. In physics it means that which by its very nature is beyond physics, beyond physical corporeality and observability and experimentation. In thought, truth passes as the resonance felt when an old opinion marries a new fact. If it performs this function for you, you consider it “true”; you vibrate with the bliss of recognition, the “ring” of truth.

But metaphysics has been fused with the gnostic lie: The fundamental idea being that there are no knowable ideas, only Mysteries which some elite people have been given the key to and others haven't. God likes some and doesn't like others, and that's all there is to it, and we know who we are, and we know who you are. Like Parsifal in the mythic struggle of the Grail Quest, you have to ask yourself, “Who do these things serve?" Then follow the money. Some myths are worth believing; they have a cash value.

Again, it is well to notice what your attention is being misdirected from while pondering the imponderables in the echochamber of religions. The whole arena is a tableau of magician's misdirection. While you became drowsy digesting the gluttonous banquet of the global cultural content of the collective unconscious something else is going on in the world. You have to ask, where are these ideas really coming from; where did they originate, and what was their functional purpose in society? The real questions is WHAT IS IT PREVENTING YOU FROM THINKING ABOUT - WHAT OTHER COMPELLING PERSONAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES?

Passion for unattainable Truth and Beauty is just as big a deflection as the narcissistic pragmatics of ambition, lust and greed. They can both be carrots to chase. Both naturalism and pragmatism may be doomed by the exponential acceleration toward a transhuman technofuture. Manipulative intervention is possible at multiple points in these belief cycles to reinforce them. In the end, they are concepts of ways of being and becoming. The history of metaphysical ideas is riddled with political and social intrigue. They are deployed to strengthen and manifest downright feudal agendas. There are many new names for old ways of thinking and being.

Ontology is the philosophical investigation of existence, or being. It may be directed towards the concept of being, asking what ‘being’ means, or what it is for something to exist and/or what exists?’, or ‘what general sorts of thing are there?’ It is common to speak of a philosopher’s ontology, meaning the kinds of thing they take to exist, or the ontology of a theory, meaning the things that would have to exist for that theory to be true. All seekers have these basic assumptions about reality based on their experience and worldview.

Epistemology describes how we know what we know and what it is subjectively like, metaphorically. It is concerned with the nature, sources and limits of knowledge. There is a vast array of views about those topics, but one virtually universal presupposition is that knowledge is true belief, but not mere true belief. Our own personal epistemological metaphors are how we describe our subjective experiences to ourselves. They condition our experience, but they can be morphed in therapy, through trauma, by propaganda and enculturation.

Metaphysics is a broad area of philosophy marked out by two types of inquiry. The first aims to be the most general investigation possible into the nature of reality: are there principles applying to everything that is real, to all that is? We can abstract from the particular nature of existing things what distinguishes them from each other, and what can we know about them simply because they exist?

The second type of inquiry seeks to uncover what is ultimately real, frequently offering answers in sharp contrast to our everyday experience of the world. Understood in terms of these two questions, metaphysics is very closely related to ontology, which is usually taken to involve both ‘what is existence (being)?’ and ‘what (fundamentally distinct) types of thing exist?’

Even the philosopher with a low opinion of the prospects for traditional and "woo woo" metaphysics can believe that there is a general framework which we in fact use for thinking about reality, and can undertake to describe and explore it. We can inquire into our most general patterns of thought, and the nature of things themselves only indirectly, if at all. Perhaps it does imply that there is a small but fairly stable core of human thought for it to investigate, but this collides with Postmodern thought which rejects meta-narratives.

When we waken from one of these philosophical dreams into another, we find the crumbling 'truths' were simulations or simulacra all along. What felt authentic, even sacred, at the time is revealed as a sham. A change of heart correlates with the revisioning. The belief's charge of divinity came from the believer's attribution, not its inherent qualities. It is now revealed as a projection.

We have scientific explanations for most of the phenomena that were considered divine powers until a few decades ago. Pre-scientific explanations usually included magic or divine intervention. We've plumbed the galaxies and universe back to the beginning of time, cracked the codes of life, and the workings of the brain. But we can't explain ourselves, much less how we are frequently duped by our subjective experience - or our interpretations of that experience.

Our environment is no longer more mysterious than the unsolved Mystery inside ourselves. We've consumed subject after subject in science and metaphysics in a feeding frenzy. But, we still haven't plumbed the depths of our own consciousness, which is riddled with paradoxes and weird properties. Our sense of Self imposes a sense of unity on our morphing essence, but science can't find this core self in our hardwiring. The "I's have it" and try to make sense of what the other "I's" are doing.

Consciousness eludes both scientists and the common person, but we remain sure we exist, even though physics has shown that the basis of all existence is quite ephemeral. The world of objects has disappeared in the waves of a quantum magic wand. So-called Reality is not at all solid, emerging from the primordial Nothingness beyond the mystic veil of biological and inorganic corporeality.

Nothing Matters. Nothing has been the same since science convinced us we DO live in a vacuum (fluctuation). The ideological equivalent was the diversified relativity of Postmodernism, a bleak vision which can be summed up as the philosophical, intellectual and aesthetic equivalent of "Been There; Done That".

NO NAKED FREE LUNCH: There is no Common Sense; it is the least common attribute. There are plenty of compulsives, sociopaths, toxic narcissists and hyperactives. Illogical reasoning abounds; critical thinking is virtually nonexistent. Intuition works no better though it is trotted out as buzzword and viable alternative. Often intuition means "anti-rational" or "anti-scientific" to those who "trust" it. They can recite a litany of how it has worked for them, conveniently overlooking times it did not.

Intuition is described as a mystic resonance, and zealously defended, but is essentially an emotional argument tied to "felt" sense. I'm not saying we shouldn't listen to intuition; it is a basic way of apprehending, but why is it being reified now? It's another way of pretending there is choice and control; in other words, a form of denial of reality. The fantasy of meaningful intuition is a way of seeking divine connection, mystic signs, confirmation and validation from the Beyond. Meaning has imploded into digital binaries of electronic society. Reality has imploded into hyperreality in life and art. Imagination is reality.

What happens to our social instincts in the age of media? Nothing is as it seems at "face value". Metaphor is a linguistic and visual shorthand of primal sensory experiences that help us map and understand domains of experience. Something stands for something else. When metaphor is a transaction between two concepts, interpretation of each concept is changed in the catalytic process. They trade meaning. Metaphor creates and expresses rather than reveals similarities.

HYPERMEDIA: For the simplest example, digital art can be a copy of a photo of a painting, that is further tweeked into a reflection of the artist's vision in the theater of the mind. Where photography stops, digital art begins it's fractal reiterations of reality. So the Digital Art image or icon is a copy of a copy of a copy of the original. It bears only a surface resemblance having become hyperreal, what Umberto Eco might call an authentic fake, a recombinant commodity. Multiplied stylized images take on a life of their own, shattering the grid of representation.

There is an implicit aesthetic in our experience, and in our virtual experiences. We are hyper-connected yet perhaps less intimate than ever in our technological disembodiment. There are many brands of technological determinism, from utopian to neo-conservative. The utopian 'global village' is replaced with the hyperreal simulation. (Deleuze, Guattari).

Likewise, cultural life has become a hyperreal parody of itself, in the arenas of new media, class, science, politics, celebrity, money, sexuality, power, work, relationships, health, madness, and values. There is no empirical science, just subjective relativism. The virtual class is invisible, dispersed. Cyberpunk is stuck somewhere between resistance and arrogance that everyone "will be assimilated" or become merely obsolete eaters.

Neither the artworld nor spirituality has escaped this flux. Both are full of self-styled gurus and pundits. Classically, the means employed by fakirs are simple misdirection, hypnosis and Psychology 101, which seem to gain in effect as they are divinized and employed beyond the consulting room. After all the psychobabble, vergiberage and bafflegab, we don't need more interpretations or programming; we need to WAKE UP.

Instead of promoting human-centered value systems, fashionable buzzwords twist their meanings often into the functional equivalents of their exact opposites in New Speak. We go to war to insure a peace that never materializes. Our 'salvation' comes at the expense of the whole biosphere; 'rapture' justifies rape of the planet. Human values are touted as reasons to infringe on our autonomy and civil rights. Love means hate; peace means war; security means corporate slavery. Health means mechanization, hybridization. Democratization means corporate looting and exploitation. "Sick" means cool; "Peace Out" notices there is certainly none within us.

There is a subliminal war being waged for our minds, which the Not-Sees would like to hijack for their agenda. Democracy has crashed. Culture only requires a few progressive or innovative thinkers, and a vast army of passive followers who can't or won't think for themselves. Those who don't passively follow the groupthink are labelled weird or eccentric, dancing to a different drum. "Eccentric" means you use your brain instead of letting an external phenomenon condition your brain. The more "conscious" you are, the more eccentric "they" consider you. Well, maybe "they" are boring and predictable.

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Cultural Theorist

Q: What do you think Marshall McLuhan would say today if he were alive?

McLuhan might say that in moving so quickly from hot wars to cold wars and then to viral warfare, under the sign of biotechnology, that warfare itself has become its own virtual simulacrum: a self-contained, self-promoting, self-transforming virtual phenomenon stretching from the hard physics of dropping bombs and abusive physical violence to the psychological colonization of human perception. In this case, war is the skin worn by an empire that knows only the language of violence. For McLuhan, the empire of technology performs “psychic surgery” on the global village by means of the war on terrorism. While often viewed as a technotopian, McLuhan’s perspective on technology and its possible applications was deeply pessimistic. He was always too much of a critical Catholic humanist
to rest easy with the media hype of the war machine.

Q: If you could give advice on the topic of developing filters to see through the military-mediated reality, what would it be?

I would restate the advice given by [German philosopher] Karl Jaspers in Man in the Modern Age. He said, “In times of radical crisis, everything depends on the individual who says no, who, acting out of the courageous impulses of human solitude, refuses to assent to a power that would be totalizing.” Critical ethical judgment on the destiny of individual freedom is the very best filter of perception. As Albert Camus said in his wonderful book, The Rebel, “I rebel, therefore we exist.”

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