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SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY* AND CALIBAN

March 23, 2013

BECAUSE HE CAN

Technology pulls you on within a mythology itself of future aggregate consumer activity and “happiness”(?); and on your vital horizon is only the laughter of your children and your possibility of being able to pay for their socks and breakfast cereal.

And on you go.

The mid 1990s were some very significant times in this sense; the introduction in the banking system of better and faster software and computers allowed, in itself, for the technical possibility of a total systemic dominance through time (what I call diachronic control) of bank-deposited funds through time-but in a way that up to then had not been possible.

You also got, at the same time, the consolidation of a much more perniciously predatory-in a psychological sense-strategy on the part of advertizing as “cultural invasion”, following Klein (No Logo, 1999).

And mobile telephones also took hold of society-first in Europe and then everywhere else (I am ignorant of the details of the evolution of Japanese society in this sense at the time).

And one of the first web pages that I would frequently look at in the early 2000s was a page out of Spain called Kriptopolis, although its interest in encryption and explicating the judicial relationship between individuals and the rule of law on Internet has faded, as far as I can see, from the realm of public discourse altogether.

Now I understand why, or because of what de facto positions and on the part of whom.

The question of private sector collaboration in regards to cell phone data on individuals with law enforcement was, at least in Spain, a seriously questioned issue.

But my understanding now, almost 20 years later and in regards to the US is that there is no need for the private sector to collaborate at all anymore-that today the in-many-ways de facto nature of the internet and its relationship to society, aggregate data and the basically extra-judicial way it is obtained-because it technically can be!-is control as the social medium itself and not really through monitoring.

And at about the same time as the establishment of the banking system’s dominance over aggregate consumer activity at the financial level through the technical possibility of ascribing significant monetary value to days, hours and minutes in regards to account balances, along comes the socialization of GPS systems and the eventual constant localization of properly equipped objects used by the owner or the owner’s employees.

And because the medium of human activity is almost completely the Internet itself, control as medium also applies to a great part of aggregate human vitality itself.

But Caliban’s problem is actually not technology; it is his disregard for people outside of their extrinsic, systemic value this technology, unmediated, functionally ascribes to individuals.

Caliban just goes right ahead and imposes himself through this technology because he simply sees no reason not to.

Because he has no real ethical considerations for people intrinsically that would prevent him form doing so.

And because he just can.

And so he does.

And this is what some evil mother’s told Caliban in his childhood:

           …that everything is just dirt

            You know that, women, never really faint

            And that villains always blink their eyes,

            And that, y’know, children are the only ones who blush

            And that, life, is just to die**

And Caliban has no regard for the intrinsic value of people in themselves because it is only through the extrinsic value of association with brands and status and symbols of affluence and comfort that he ultimately values himself.

And as Caliban lives far from emotional tenderness with regards to his own self, at the deepest levels of true concern and care for others, he is also distant and removed in his essential coldness.

And it is the emotional and vital repression in the American psyche that ultimately leads to a deadness in life of feeling and of the vital soul.

Because graphic corporal and erotic mental images are overwhelming for you as a direct and mortal threat of impending destruction-most especially the ones you come up with your self-those are the worst of all!

And they are directly tied, in your psyche, with images of death itself.

And your essential frivolousness is a strategy of psychological protection and it is your frivolousness that keeps you vitally engaged –even alive-because you live in the self-suppression of your own vital nature as part of the historical evolution of your culture.

Don’t think for a second the 1960s and 70s somehow “took care of this”-it did not go away, people.

That and your need to impose yourself over others as a psychological mechanism itself of extrinsically ascribing meaning to your own self –through the utilization as subordination of other human beings!

And it is, to a great extent, Caliban’s emptiness that so weighs him down.

And Caliban, because of this, is unruly in his nature; he believes, ultimately, in nothing accept the satisfaction of his own primary needs as comfort.

Comfort, finally, form his own intrinsic emptiness as self.

Because of this Caliban is a savage; and because of this he needs to be socially contained and essentially immobilized.

And American society is, because of Caliban, a society of social and vital contention as control.

And it is Caliban at the heart of US law enforcement, essentially because Cabilian is at the heart of US society itself.

But Caliban dies!

The World depends on it.

And the World is waiting:

* Term I have come across in an article about the book, SuperVision: An Introduction to Surveillance Society, by J. Gilliom and T. Monahan, (Univeristy of Chicago Press, 2012)

**Lyrics (fragment) from the song Sweet Jane (1970)

 

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