The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots [machines].
Erich Fromm [1900-1980].
Future is already here.
The Matrix of Control (MOC) essay was posted on this blog in summer 2015 as a logical continuation of most of my previous essays that were dealing with false notions of social reality hidden under lies, deception and innuendoes, fantastic constructs of unbelievability, concealed behind fog of unreason furthered by Rousseauesque romanticism of totalitarian chaos, a fake notion of new existential determinism of our life paths.
But there is no existential determinism in our lives, at least not the way we think there is, but different individualized reality covered up by massive programmatic obfuscation of what we are led to believe about society we live in.
The Postscript on the Matrix of Control, Part Two, [the Postscript] attempts to ask an intriguing question of how and why last ten thousands years of human social development along so-called “civilizational” path chosen by ruling elites [as I posited in the Postscript, Part One] resulted in such a hyper abstraction of society itself.
This abstraction seemingly detaches or loosens a human society from physical bounds of reality of natural environment or even unties us from reality of fundamental human connections, and creates multi-layered illusions of social reality in which we dwell.
Moreover, in addition to devouring life-sustaining ecosystem and natural resources, social abstraction dehumanizes us into a kind of “machinic society of control and subordination” to the “virtues” of human and environmental destruction in a process that could be called a “Rise of Social Machines”.
The Postscript attempts to put a story of society we live in, here and now, into more theoretical, philosophical/sociological context that deals with impregnable walls of abstract societal structures of bondage sometimes euphemistically called governance, and their perfect dynamism via analyzing methods of our technological culture and civilization in the past and today.
My overall approach to understanding of modern society of control i.e. a society necessarily run by well-developed dynamic ruling elite, in variety of forms, that the Matrix of Control essay posits was influenced by usual suspects of great intellect, philosophers, scholars of society*[see footnote] and their thoughts about; who does control society at large? How [precisely] is society controlled? What is an act of control in itself, and what it means in the sociopolitical realm or context? In a way I am interested in what one would call metaphysics of social control.
However, in my search for answers I purposefully aimed for stripping my writing out of outdated references to historical, philosophical, economical, political or mathematical terminologies ‘du jour’, all of those authors widely situated their observations and conclusions in, since I found them to be confusing and often misleading for majority of American readers in our age of total propaganda newspeak.
Hence, I chose to avoid, when I could, struggling with dubious, often prostituted sociopolitical terminology and instead focused on the content, as I understand it.
As a result, I mostly abandoned jargon, terminology and references of materialist or idealist historiosophies centered around Marx and Hegel respectively although I often implicitly rely on those analyses.
But it was not easy getting there to find materials that would address specifically my points of interests, since those who dared to shake foundations of all obfuscating propaganda peddled by the ruling elites today and in the past were summarily condemned, as most dangerous, as an existential threat to the very core of the global system of power and hence suppressed in multitude of ways.
It is important to note that, beside ideological left [Marx, Engels, Luxemburg etc., or even Kropotkin, Goldman, Bakunin or Graham], the so-called [post] structuralist philosophers’ ideas, the MOC and Postscript is loosely based upon, were, from the beginning of their work and publications in mid 1960-ties [in the formulation in question] similarly to their predecessors, viciously attacked and demeaned, by new world order pre-paid corporate philosophers of neoliberalism for their language of dialectical materialism and Marxian/Marxist terminology that was used largely to emphasize principal contribution of practically implemented mutations of a capitalist system as a primary force of a clandestine, radical, revolutionary change in the society and its developmental trends those structuralists uncovered, observed, analyzed and criticized in their works.
And hence in addition to works of giants of leftist philosophy who in the West have been politically suppressed before [twisted in the East], while pushing faux Orwellian political alternatives as a counterpoint to “democratic” west, such important philosophical figures like J.P. Sartre, Michel Foucault, Albert Camus, Felix Guattari, Gilles Deleuze, or Jacques Derrida and many others who did not see any particular structural distinctions between “rival” [east-west] political systems of power, were in early nineteen eighties and later ridiculed and even ostracized by their traitorous peers, turncoats from French academia and elsewhere, especially in years just preceding collapse of Soviet Union [significant source of support and scholarship for intellectual left in western Europe] and afterwards, who were switching their “political” uniforms to keep their day jobs and betrayed years of their own research, credibility of academic titles and prestige they achieved applying Marxian dialectical materialism as a scientific tool to study real organism of society, only to ultimately disown it all for fear of loosing often sole source of income and/or be pushed into social/scientific margins.
Despite ferocious neoliberal attacks, putting emphasis on those philosophers private lifestyles of homosexuality and eccentrism even called “perversions”, now mostly accepted as a privacy or civil rights even in the US, or even accusing them of spying/working for Soviets, their real “crime” against the ruling elites was exposing extreme new radicalism of world oligarchic project of massive globalization of capital flows and clear aim at destruction of world democratic tendencies or what’s left of them in the late XX century.
In fact what they actually did was merely to pick up, adopt and expand many ideas of Marx & Engels and others contained in the “Communist Manifesto” of 1848, to the new digital age of globalization.
It was post-structuralists’ assault on “Global Free Trade”, “Earth is Flat” and “End of History” narratives of new commercial philosophical cults peddled by new corporate academia taken over by greed for money not “sophy”, that earned them a proud badge of enemy of global elite and ardent deniers of so-called corporate “progress”.
The French post-structuralists were proclaimed enemies of magnificent “New World Order” threatening to derail propaganda of goodness and benevolence of rule of Global Capital Empire by unmasking brutality of imperial realm of whole global economic project for “New Millennium” and unleashing new cruel high-tech digital mechanisms of society of control based on enhanced mental enslavement [cultural, economic and political consumerism cults, as pointed out by C.W. Mills, and S. Wolin] and neo-feudal [powercentric] economy of serfs established under veneer of propaganda of inevitability of this particular, practical path toward “better” civilization and “stronger” economic development.
In such intellectually hostile context stemming from anti-intellectual venom of academic corporatists what Deleuze did, on a verge of development of the first, all-encompassing information flow network implementation over the Internet, called WWW, was to disinter and develop anew a concept of high-tech Machiavellian/Foucaultian society of control and warned through his essay entitled “Postscript on the Societies of Control” back in 1990-ties of a grave consequence for democracy, economic and ecological self-sustained development of humanity, and by that drew attention from a sliver of intellectual class who remained true to ethics of scientific inquiry while met with deafening silence or utter derision from establishment philosophers.
Now decades later Deleuze assertions ring so much true that they amount to nothing short of scientific “prophecy” while glorious predictions of “Brave New World” by neoliberal philosophers of 1980-ties went up in flames for everyone to see now in its ugliness and political peonage that covered up, now exposed, true and sole objective of spectrum dominance and control by global ruling elite, that clearly underlaid most of goal seeking corporate political “research” at that time.
The main and most important issue raised by those condemned authors is immanent nature of control in itself and not particular propaganda driven motivations [i.e. politics] for specific actions or behaviors, mostly leading to the same end namely establishing and maintaining of Matrix of Control.
The Postscript Part One and Two, in contrast to my original MOC essay are mostly, but not entirely, devoid of direct references to everyday lives within our society of control, especially in its recent technological/informational reincarnation and rather deals with aggregations of multitude of experiences and observations by many great authors as well as an attempt of modest general socio-philosophical synthesis.
It is advisable that reader is familiarized with MOC as a prerequisite to the Postscript as in this text I am using many implicit references to the original text.
- Metaphysics of Social Matrix. Freedom vs. Control.
Matrix of Control essay strive to join debate about society we live in by tapping into already somewhat popularized terminology and meaning introduced in the Matrix, [a movie written and directed by Wachowskis in late 1999], which on surprisingly deep, multiple levels of audience perception tried to address one fundamental question: What is society we live in? [and in the process making tons of money with their movie magic];
Matrix, the movie posits many interesting questions related to understanding of ancient and contemporary societies of control such as: What is actual meaning and mechanism of control? What does compel us to exert control and/or to be effectively controlled within society? Are all those, different forms, meanings and objectives of control important classifying determinants of how society is functioning? And touched upon to a lesser degree, how social relations are being developed? And what is or can be ultimate outcome of society of control? Or what shape of future social organism would or could possibly be?
Those questions however, cannot be truly addressed without addressing (not resolving of course) old philosophical questions of free will and free choice and separately more general question of freedom, conscientiousness and awareness, which were often referred to in Matrix, the movie.
So let’s unpack it briefly via a simplified method resembling Kantian dialectics.
Morality as a social construct.
In a simplified form, freedom may be understood as antithesis to control but freedom also assumes and requires knowledge of object by subject. We are absolutely free only if we are free to know. Well known Socrates’ phrase summarizes that: “Know Thyself” in order to “Know Others”.
Hence in turn, control implies [some degree of] ignorance of subject about object. In other words ignorance is a mental state necessary for human to be controlled by local physical limitation and/or social conventions or constructs that obfuscate or encode true social [or physical] processes. Not a shocking conclusion at all.
All comes down to question of informed choice. Wider spectrum of choices we are aware of, less controlled we are or we can be.
But it is not that simple, since one may exercise his/her freedom to limit choices to act while remaining aware of full breath of possibilities. The freedom to choose may introduce some limit of choices to category of so-called “moral” or ethical choices commonly determined not individually but almost exclusively defined within society and are not innate [inborn] to a human being.
In other words we cannot see beyond “moral” choices that have been “made” for us by society, unless we are “the one” who knows it all, a metaphor for God.
And here we come to somewhat circular synthesis that freedom of choice is awareness, knowledge of all possible choices and conscious self-control, self-limitation to only our “moral” choices determined by society.
The loosely used here term “moral” or “ethical” refers in this context to set of constraints we impose on ourselves in however understood interest of safety and/or benefit to group or society we need or want to belong.
The “price” we have to pay to be admitted to society hence, is curbing our absolute freedom by willingly imposing on ourselves a form of self-control often adopted as our unique individual “morality” but in fact it is shared, accepted, adopted and considered common within the society we “choose” to live in.
If we are deprived of that choice or are forced or coerced to declare it or are offered false choice of morality or social norm i.e. pledged to adopt inauthentic self-control, some moral conflict is bound to develop within society, origin of all social pathologies.
It is ironic that in order to be exercising our freedom of choice we have to submit to some type of social control and hence whether we are ignorant or aware of choices we face, we have to surrender to a form of social control but in very different ways, one passive, submissive, the other creative, active, transformative.
Hence, confusion about what societal control really is and what it is not, since one way or another social control is inevitable while individual freedom is possible through deep knowledge about the society that controls us.
Emerging knowledge elite.
Unfortunately, as historical record indicates once one choose the latter type of self-control or morality one may enter path to forming knowledge control elite [a subset of power elite], denying/limiting knowledge to others, proliferating false choices, instead of spreading knowledge and awareness of social reality of broad choices among others what would be required in native to humanity egalitarian societies*.
And hence we have well-known and often misinterpreted truism: Knowledge is Power when we should have posited that Knowledge is Freedom. Only particularly narrow manner of exercising our freedom devoid of true social morality, by restricting freedom of others, turns societal knowledge into sociopolitical power. This is the essence, the key attribute of any member of ruling elite who control sociaty by controlling knowledge about how it rerally works.
Consequently, any power elite is socially immoral by definition since they refuse to self-limit and submit to common social norms they demand from the rest of society, under guise of some false exigent circumstances [disaster] or fabricated reasons [special (also genetic) distinction, unique gift (also supernatural), organizational/management/technical skill or ability, apocalyptic fear of unknown, phony perceived threat, or bigger good, or lesser evil etc.,] extorsion racket encased in what we could call body politics.
However, in more developed, complex societies, those factors are not sufficient to historically establish power elites without, not only physical threats, intimidation limiting knowledge of people about what’s going on in the society but also without creation of false reality of social processes, relations and dependencies through, what we would call now, propaganda manipulation of public opinion and people’s worldviews and most of all inducement of specific public and private acts inspired by it.
Some of those acts consist of active participation in elaborated public rites, involvement in faux, popular political and electoral activities aimed solely at legitimizing calcified ruling elite and obfuscating true social structure of control as well as other identity/patriotic/religious or quasi-scientific rituals based on fabricated reality and some historical falsehoods passed as absolute truths of the day.
In other words society of control is society where people are being threatened and/or fed with lies in order to accept constructs of false reality, leaving them ignorant and oblivious to true effect of their expected attitudes and actions upon themselves and society around them, as long as they receive assurances or are propagandized to believe they receive personal assurances of security and existential safety for themselves and people close to them, form of protection racket.
In fact there is no social contract between rulers and ruled but simply, under a veneer of civilizational progress and societal complexity, lurks deeply entrenched Ape-like primitive tribalism, fear and survivalism as dominant driver of human behavior and tool of social control emphasized especially in political realm.
The much of church teachings are remnants of ancient narrative of societal control by elites, used in modified form today by contemporary power elites, who replaced promise of eternal comfortable heaven after short horrible life and violent death for dubious promise of economic opportunity and/or social welfare that suppose to provide reprieve from unpredictable personal calamities and soothing relief of pain and suffering only if we submit to unreality we are fed with in order to avoid agony down in Hell or here on Earth.
A technological man.
Most of those great thinkers, scholars of ancient and modern society were fascinated by dramatic social transformation and plasticity of human character, what Marx and others like Deleuze later noted, as radicalism of sociotechnological revolution, not only in its technological development and prowess of exploitation of workingmen but most importantly how it molds a sociotechnological “man” and how it “produces” technologically manufactured culture to surround him with.
It is very interesting observation, but must be further clarified. As Deleuze posits:
..[A]ny technology or machine is an expression of a given social form [of control], and is neither its cause nor its effect…
So how technology can produce new cultures or social forms if it does not cause them or results from them? It can’t, but it can take up a form of up-to-date contemporary representation of what has society been all about, all along i.e. manifestation of progressively deeper social abstraction facing by technological man.
So then why may human society be called technological one and often be considered as molded by technological development?
One may legitimately ask if technological development, deemed as defining our civilization, is truly transforming social relations or alternatively, technology is just a necessary component of control required to retain pre-exiting social structures, relations and mechanism of control needed to handle growing and more and more concentrated population in some new cultural or social context? This intriguing issue will be returning throughout this post.
Many of those philosophers and thinkers however, while searching for the fundamental nature of profound transformative change they were observing within technological societies of their times, discovered instead a variety of forms of manifestation/representation of their functions, effects or symptoms of their functioning while in too many cases failed to pinpoint universal fundamental mechanism of social control in its essence [a major theme of the Matrix of Control essay], perhaps blinded by particulars of the age they lived in.
Such modern technological societies of control became major focus of studies of modern philosophers called structuralists or post-structuralists of second half of XX century who aimed at extraction of structure from a content of the society to examine it in intention for what it is and not only for what it does.
- Matrix Of Control as Viewed by Post-Structuralists.
The variety of approaches to the problem of social control, were being presented, involving categorized attributes of such societies and its practical implementations by offering some kind of classification according to type of control such society is subjected to by ruling elites or as some innate process.
Many authors attempted, via iterative approximation methods, to provide heuristic, superficial description of those varying forms of society determined and dynamically changing via so-called “passages” of their form and specific implementation of control structure.
They aptly invoked such a concept as:
- Machiavellian “sovereign societies” with their groups of weak interrelations, separated social entities surrounded, isolated by physical walls of environment while under a common permeating sovereign rule of elite, state of governmentality i.e. a hierarchical structure of control stemming from supernatural [God] powers delegated to earthly sovereign and imposed directly onto population. In a way, any member of society directly acts upon sovereign will enlightened by supernatural [God], which arrangement removes sovereign state institution [political ruler class] itself from any doubt or questions about its legitimacy, while all propaganda is shifted to organized religion or Church authorities who need only to instill fear of all mighty supernatural, God which motives, means and intentions are incomprehensible, inaccessible to anyone but anointed by God state sovereign and religious leadership.
- Foucaultian “discipline societies” with their socially artificial/physical walls enclosing abstract social spaces enforced via physical/mental conditioning, rigid training and “education”; In such more generally enlightened society fear of supernatural as a method of control is diminished but not eliminated while more elaborated methods are put forward as more effective. Instead of avoiding inclusion of power elites (a sovereign) in the public discourse about effectiveness, motivations and legitimacy of their rule, population is generally trained/conditioned to accept certain intellectual concepts what we call now a propaganda, that provide plentiful justifications for the existing but obfuscated power structure and ruling elite itself on basis of certain faux moral premises [progress, betterment, common good, fairness, justice, enhanced happiness, etc.,] and rational premises [inevitability, reason, lack of viable alternative, improved efficiency and benefit, valuations based decision, promise of future responsiveness to the public, belief in reasonable path for change etc.,]. Another element of control in disciplinary society is prison-like, panoptical physical confinement within physical walls and their rules [school, work, prison, hospital, court, vacation resort, museum, etc.,] of big part of population controlled by managerial class of delegates of ruling elite who themselves step back into shadow dealing with population via proxies called disposable politicians, socioeconomic managers who can be blamed for all decisions of the elite deemed by populations as failures.
- And finally Deleuze’s networked “societies of control” with their overwhelming virtual limits of access to altered states of virtual social reality, reinforced by continuing processes of panoptical testing, guided searching, abstract experiencing and controlled homogenized “knowing” centered around vast overwhelming “information” flows which true substance is always fear. In such a networked society, profound transformation happens, namely human being is losing its status as subject in relation to consequences of decisions of ruling elite whether they are aimed for good or evil of humanity. A human, member of society is no longer an end of efforts conducted by powers but means of achieving something far more abstract, often unrelated, incompressible to individual struggling to fulfill his/her immediate networking function and to stay continuously connected to the system. In people’s minds ruling elite has been dissolved into immanent fluid of social network accessibility and hence has been removed from realm of public discourse or judgment since it can no longer be named or defined by those belonging to digital class, or caste, form of stratification of accessibility to ”system of knowledge”.
All those above are sometimes cryptically posited as perhaps even inevitable “progressive” civilizational steps of social “evolution” and/or social control or are they?
Or are they just updated technological manifestations of the same/similar, mostly unevolved, social power structure of the past?
Culture of control.
In contrast to evolutionist view, imputing “mysterious “ idea of self-organization to the modern society, Matrix of Control is to be understood as sociotechnological culture for benefit and developed under rule of modern power elite, culture of humanization of imposed cultural and social constructs, culture of fear of social/cultural alienation [from them], set of dynamic, variable rules of understanding expectations and relationships built on those expectations developed within a razor-thin worldview, and razor-thin spectrum of choices, individual, technological man thinks is actually confronting and agonizing about, while purposefully denied sufficient factual and social support required for self-comprehension.
In other words modern sociotechnological culture as I defined it, is expression of fluidity and immanence of control and hence invisibility of it to those who are subjected to it.
That is exactly what central point of MOC essay posits:
“..command and control is accomplished.., via indirect, vague, imprecise, unclear objectives or milestones, leaving true meaning of the order to unlimited range of interpretations specific to individual.. ..identity, function, type, level and position. In other words in social power structure.. ..orders are executed always in specific context often having different meaning to different people in different times and different circumstances which are never clarified.”
This is exactly what in a Orwellianesque style, Hardt & Negri in their work “Empire”, 1999 posited when writing about:
“ the axiomatic system [matrix of control] whose [prophetic truths, axioms or] postulates are not propositions [for society to adhere to as inevitable, always true] unless the [apriori unknown] values are plugged into the [language] variables [in such a way] that.. destabilize any terms and definitions of prior relations of logical deductions.. [by which the system was previously understood]”.
The MOC essay echoed the above assertions that the essence of control is not focus on efficiency but to turn rules of control into dynamic form liken to altering immanent fluid, unable to be grasped and/or defeated from inside while the act of control is not really aimed toward any other objective but control itself.
What we would call “social identity” as well as other social constructs that we perceive within society are all immanent, imprinted in our culture of multiplicities without essence, social constructs of what Deleuze called nomadic essence.
Ironically, a human assuming role of social construct of nomadic essence actually acquires social essence in existentialist sense, missing as individual attribute outside of society, but inevitably loses his/her human identity and uniqueness by becoming multiplicitous. It is in contrast to animal world, where social construct of animal (Ape) society possess conditioned essence and identity not only via the social context itself but also by genetics and physical environment.
In other words, humans are more prone and capable to become members of almost any type of society, even non-human, due to their lack of individual essence, which if existed, could have been in odds with overall social role assignment by elites of society of human beings as social constructs.
- Social machines are us.
In elitarian societies, sociotechnological cultures are no longer grounded in human society but extend to what Deleuze called sociotechnological machines or Wiener’s cybernetic or governed/controlled machines i.e.
“multiplicitous social entities/constructs categorized and defined by their function or use case within society.”
Abstract, Kafkaesque social machines such as state/political machines (government, political parties, politicians, prisons, schools, corporations, bureaucracy, nations etc.,), cultural/entertainment machines (artisans, actors, celebrities, pundits, media, showbiz, theater, sport teams etc.,), ro[botic] machines (vending, voting, washing, cooking, flying drones, AV/transporting, medical, industrial ..), multifunction machines (computers/AI bots) etc., amalgamated techno-biological constructs such as bus, show, event, fashion etc., and our relations with those machines fused into overall social interactions via process of humanization of non-human social entities such as gadgetry and reciprocal dehumanization of humans into sociobiological machines, or as Hardt & Negri, in their book “Empire” posit, biopolitical entities, cogs in the overall [axiomatic] social machine run by Matrix of Control.
As Deleuze puts forward,
any machine or technology is social before it is technical [technological].
Meaning that machines [technologies] are created to fulfill their predefined social functions and not as agents of social change. The social machines could be biological, mechanical, electric/electronic, physical or abstract, purely social, created to enable functioning society in certain way, way ruling elites prefer as beneficial to them , with no other discernible innate or absolute value in them.
Deleuze/Guattari continue as follows:
..machines can and do exist on any scale and can be both material and immaterial, visible or invisible, human or cybernetic.
Hence within society of control, knowingly or not, a human being no longer constitutes an end of social pursuit, a focus within itself but comprises [mostly or only] of means of pursuing unclear/undeclared/obfuscated/faux, mostly clandestine but immanent objectives of the society as a whole, which mechanisms are formulated directly by elites in later stage of social development.
As social machines we are assuming role of producing some social outcome of unknown to us purpose and/or impact i.e. we are being run by and for social technology of control.
In other words society is no longer human and machine axiology and semiological encoding, in large part, defines viability of human being within the society of control.
New sociotechnological morality or just a fraud.
All those ideas of generalized social relations and interactions extended to social machines, pointed out by Deleuze & Guattari, were conceived in last centuries of development of energetic technologies but this principle of humanization of the sociophysical environment especially regarding to socio-biological machines such domesticated animals dates for millennia and except for aggressive expansion of it today, is not really new as a concept so is dehumanization process associated with slavery as a matter of economic necessity and philosophical discourse.
Nevertheless, this seeming expansion of horizon of society and inclusion of human social relations into a realm of social machines actually augments human social confinement and limitation, promotes transference of insecurities of social relations onto social machines and advance slow “atomization” of human social machines locked into compartments of inclusion or exclusions not only in regard to social groups but to social machines we humanize by incepting their identity and interacting with them.
As we strive to communicate with people we strive to communicate with social machines and as with any type of relation and interaction we are adopting machines’ characteristics in search to minimize rejection or alienation. And in the process we are entering into new “moral” or “ethical” compacts with social machines and hence destroying possibility of human morality in individual and/or social context.
In other words, we seamlessly become social machines ourselves, elements of a Matrix of Control functionality as creatures of nomadic essence. As a result of this fusion we become “oxymoronically” uniquely identical [multiciplitous], self-aware, fully deterministic imperfect clones of other social machines [ourselves] destroying our self-determination and human identity for comfort of connection to the distributed network of machine society, ultimate product of the Matrix of Control.
The ruling elites, in many conflicted ways and under variety of social narratives, push us to struggle to erase our own human identity and human attributes, in fear of being rendered obsolete, nonviable social machines alienated from social organism and pushed down in social strata. But this process, to much smaller degree, may cause self-consistently variety of sociotechnological machines to acquire some human characteristics, which as it was posited in Matrix, the movie may mirror or simulate what we would call a human intelligence.
Foucault, posits in his writings that humans are conditioned into becoming social machines of disciplinary society through training and education dedicated to production of living and breathing “humanoid” technocratic machines devoid of most human traits but endowed with inhumane efficiency [falsely called productivity], functional rationale, and determination rivaling of that of technological devices.
As I pointed out in my original MOC essay, technocratic social machines, mostly belonging to class of courtiers of ruling elite, build relations with other machines based on necessity, ability and confidence, but those words are just labels for attitudes and interactions already alien to humanity. And structural position of authority in the Matrix of Control, social constructs such as capital flows and money itself are conduits to this end.
- Evil is in “knowing” too much.
Deleuze understood that
“because of money [human] speech, [language] is rotten to the core.. it is impossible to capture human meaning through speech”
when its structures and meanings are invaded by expressions of functionalities of multiplicitous social machines which corrupt meaning and applicability of language constructs to describe human values, true human moral judgments and human connections.
Efficient human social machines, compelled by axiomatic matrix of social control, in a mental state described by Guattari as “machinic unconscious”, discard, disregard or override all superfluous language constructs rendered non-compatible with their functioning and dynamically change their meaning and hence condition the language for efficient expression of homogeneity of information flown through uniform media channels. Making it impossible to capture human meaning through speech or any other language expression since social machine, having no importance in itself, has replaced human subject in most of social narratives.
Deleuze continues about immanent social walls of control and near impossibility to fight them and to liberate ourselves from them:
Unlike simple revolution, persuading the people of today to become aware of the invisible walls of control that imprison them requires excessive amounts of power and intelligence [and social sensitivity in dealing with human social machines]. After all, you cannot escape a prison if you don’t know you are in one.”
This invisible prison of Matrix of Control is run by ruling elites via fundamental mechanism of social alienation and/or information access control, a worldview control. As MOC essay posits, the very existence and essence of ruling elite is obfuscated by fog of strata of social machines categorized into classes, strictly focused on their intended and pretended purpose devoid of capability to even conceptualize creators of their artificial reality maintained by medial propaganda consisting mostly of variety forms of existential fear.
Similarly, social machines are unable to identify or address creators of social order, rendering them unaware [machinic unconscious] or unable to formulate idea of their enslavement since all or most concepts of self-determination and humanity have been erased from language expression capacity where meanings have been purged from appropriate terms as required by axiomatic matrix of control.
Wiener’s notion of cybernetics and [governing of] society confirms that
“linguistic feedback in humans was the most primary evolvement towards the more advanced [social] technologies that we would say control us in the present..”
It is this language feedback we are receiving from the society of social machines, graduating acceptance levels, threat of rejection or alienation or being declared useless or obsolete, enhancement of hierarchical importance or withdrawal of the support or disruption of human efficacy or functionality of us as social machines is a foundation of mechanism of control.
A society of control is primarily an immanent encoding machine. A machine that encodes in us, via various methods of control, certain understanding of society we live in, making us prisoners of externally imposed worldview, quietly serving our life sentence within invisible walls of ignorance and isolation, convinced of having rich intellectual and social life.
- How is this going to end?
Some people are uneasy about fundamental sociopolitical narratives they sucked with their mothers’ milk and assimilated as a part of their identity or character, they know something is wrong, they can feel it, even if they can’t formulate it or express it. And they experience social reality even more acutely when they suddenly hit invisible walls of rejection or ostracism they did not know existed.
Some people are rightly skeptical and refuse to succumb to dehumanization hence there are introduced plenty of apologists, preprogrammed social machines unleashed onto the public selling ideas of illustrious progress pushing fantastic visions, hallucinations of AI robotic future emerging just around the corner and inevitable raise of robotic machines and glorious discarding [but in reality not replacing] of human beings as biopolitical entities that used to make profit for ruling oligarchy [in newspeak “having jobs”].
However, if one listens closely to those pontificating magnificent future one would realize that they are not talking about replacing humans doing jobs with robots doing jobs, they are talking about replacing of the nature, type of tasks to be easily programmed for robots with AI label, in a feat to slowly reorient the very objective of production away from human being [needs or wants] who previously was an ultimate end of socioeconomic activity, more toward requirements of elements of machinic society that can no longer have a need to retain any human component in it.
In other words what is expected from humans is either we turn into inhumanely efficient social machines devoid of meaningful human character or there is ultimately no place for us in a non-human future society of robotic slaves serving ruling elite, left out to die on margins of illustrious Brave New World.
So how can we oppose this elitarian society of control that more and more dehumanize us into heartless machines of self-mutilation and destruction of human society under propaganda of inevitability of civilizational progress as ruling elite sees it.
Who should we fight? Who is our enemy? Distant, even conceptually ungraspable true ruling elites shrouded in fog of speculation and ridiculed conspiracy theories or homogenized social machines sitting across of our kitchen table busy staring into a smart phones that or rather “who” control them?
In fact a real revolution against Matrix of Control cannot be really formulated or properly conceived if its target as a social construct is illusive, shrouded in a fog of social obfuscation or language has been stripped from any means of expression of any form of criticism or revolt, as a society [under a propaganda of the ruling elite] axiomatically accepts that it is free because of allowed smooth circulation of fabricated information within it.
The benignly sounding statement about “smooth circulation of information .. [in] a “free” society… ” however, as an element of mechanism of control in digital networked societies of today enables something that was more difficult to achieve in previous historical reincarnations of the society of control namely under guise of education or proliferation or encoding massively uniform and consistently false information about society underwritten by fear of abstract harm or fear of missing on remedy for such a harm i.e. peddling knowledge of illusion of human society instead of its machinic reality, it promotes certain faux morality perceived as supposedly self-imposed limitation of a biological (biopolitical) social machine within machine society.
But the overload of false, superfluous, fear or phobias instigating incorrect/irrelevant information, a medial pabulum presented as knowledge in fact is not opening or widening but closing the thought horizons and hence enhancing control by elites while it is perceived by a social machine as individual empowerment through a sense of “swallowing” of a shrunken worldview encumbered by illusions and seemingly ordered chaos, twisted logic and fantastic constructs of unreality as well as false sense of uniqueness while promoting sameness and emerging prophecy of elitarian power via Orwellian newspeak of self-determination [i.e. blindly following orders], self-control [i.e. celebrating enslavement by the ruling elite] and ultimately delusion of being in control of at least part of the society itself [e.g. think big, global ideas of entrepreneurship, anything’s possible if you put your mind to it, opportunities are out there etc.,], dreamed by machinic unconscious dehumanized biopolitical entities.
In other words social machines overloaded with massive information about a non-existent fantasy world, perceive themselves as fully able and empowered to control it as a “moral” imperative, based on delusional self-sacrifice and self-limitation a quintessence of morality in any social realm, including within machine society.
Under such a conditioning, revolutionary acts are machinic acts of obedience to socially controlling authority seen as pursuing socially beneficial change, and morality stems from machinic acts of unquestioned following of missions, tasks or direct orders of socially controlling authority perceived as standing up for “moral” principle and unwavering following of deeply rooted individual ethics i.e. virtue of self-limitation.
All of it however is not just in a realm of language constructs, mental concepts, opinions or ideas but perceived as real in the machine society because in contrast to human society they are real in reality of social machines which ethical system is based on utilitarian benefit for unknown objectives of the society. [Being useful is good/moral, being useless is bad/immoral regardless of what machine is used for].
The modern networked [digital] society of control, in contrast to Orwellian society of massive language, meaning and physical control or Huxley’s BNW pharmacological control of human being, group/individual mental state of positive psychology, is not existing within a realm of physical reality but in the realm of augmented reality of society of social machines that fuses human, robotic, social and abstract entities existing in mental and/or analog/physical and/or digital/virtual realm into one social organism.
In such a reality entities like Pokemon are real, as real as machinic unconscious biopolitocal entity [player] that spends hours/days to discover and collect it or other social machine that under spell of “Allo” is happy relinquish its thought and voice to the “cloud”. In such reality humanity is lost.
After all that said in the MOC saga, what is the society we live in? In fact, modern society of control is analogous to a fantasy world of hallucinations of a schizophrenic patient; Incidentally, such an assertion is consistent with Guattari contention about a base model of the modern society we live in.
- Who cares or what?
Why should we care if our society is being dehumanized with our own complicity, with our profound need for a killer dream of beautiful thoughts of belonging? Is this inevitable? Is this a new evolution of human species or last gasp of unreality, a sweet surrender to an evolutionary dead-end?
What will become of us?
Why should we be afraid of us becoming social machines?
Does this ongoing process of dehumanization have any real impact on our lives? Or it is just a theoretical mambo jumbo bullshit we should not be bothered with.
May be. But if we think that an army of machinic unconscious human shells, I am writing about, roaming the earth do not concern us since they are not located in our own community or our own workplace or school or church or they are not buying at our food market or they not just walking the streets among us, we are wrong.
Any and all of those social machines called, officers, service members, specialists, professionals, academics, teachers, lawyers, judges, doctors, managers, politicians all sorts, entrepreneurs, apparatchiks of a social/community organizations, technocrats, bureaucrats, tech gurus, whiz-kids, visionaries, special interest propaganda pushers of education, media and government, sports’ stars/team players etc., i.e. influence peddlers, were not born that way there were grown to be agents of the system they cannot fathom, raised to acquire machine like attitude toward another human machine. And this “another” human machine is you.
They are everywhere and they are doing their deeds.
When you see police officer harassing a homeless with a dog in the park knowing well that shelters are filthy, full of violence and dope, do not accept dogs who are humanized friends of desolated homeless human beings, companions police demands abandoning, when you see all of this you see suffering by human beings punished for their humanity by social machines.
When you see doctors who dump sick, in pain on a skid raw in LA or elsewhere since they have no money to pay them, when you see all of this you see suffering of human beings punished for their humanity by social machines.
When you see faceless bureaucrats who sustain their abhorrent inhuman regime by dehumanizing ordinary people and treat them as pests to be discarded from sight, mind or exterminated permanently, when you see all of this you see anguish of human beings punished for their humanity by social machines.
When you see teachers who refuse to teach humanity of moral courage to dissent, to question seemingly unquestionable truths in search for humanity as a highest, transcendental value, because the system prevents it or does not pay for it, when you see all of this, you see abandonment of human beings punished for their humanity by social machines.
When you see suffering and dying from hands of judges, lawyers, politicians, generals who lie and/or kill for money, power and/or fame, when you see all of this you see agony of human beings punished for their humanity by social machines.
When you listen to religious leaders who tell people to surrender their humanity to the evil powers defying all religious norms for a lie, fake promise of better lives here or after death, when you see all of this you see dissolution of faith of human beings punished for their humanity by social machines.
When you see all of this, or you are struggling to ignore all of this, you see or trying to ignore suffering of human beings punished for their humanity by social machines tasked toward conflicting and dehumanizing of human society.
But it could be even worse. There could be our mothers, fathers and entire family who become deeply devoted social machines existing in the realm of false social constructs and narratives imposed to benefit of ruling elites.
How to know if we have not already become social machines ourselves and to, at least some degree, lost our humanity somewhere on the way of what we thought was simply growing up, or getting education or simply getting on with our lives.
It is not that difficult to spot social machines, sometimes what it takes is to look in the mirror and listen to ourselves and examine what we do. Examine our lives, as Socrates demanded from everyone who wants to be called a human being as unexamined live is not worth living.
When you say “I am only doing my job or my duty and follow what I truly believe or doing what’s right or moral etc., regardless of anything” you are on your way to become a social machine yourself.
In contrast to revered [but externally imposed on us for benefit of ruling elite] narrative, a human being is not defined by his/her job, doesn’t just do some job or fulfills some function or duty, or lends one’s skills to some often unclear unknown or purely abstract end set by some “authority” [religious, political, social or scientific] or complement an abstract concept imputed or pressed in one’s mind via so-called “education” or just by, what we call, being raised “street smart”.
A human being always asserts, case by case, one’s humanity in relation to another human being, whether one is aware of it or not, and needs be, defying all the so-called moral or social “rules”, “norms” or “laws” or “customs” or cultural imperatives to transcend everything with one’s humanity.
If this sounds too abstract for you it is not unless you are already social machine yourself. This concept is known to every human being on earth under a common moniker of what we call love, solidarity and respect to human dignity of entire humanity or nothing, the only true end of any meaningful social pursuit in itself.
Becoming social machine denies this truth, denies our humanity which is nothing but empowerment of individual to render his/her own unimpeded by anything human moral judgment in any encounter with another human being or even other living creatures like animals or plants and such a judgment must be rendered always in the context of humanization of human relations within society and within natural environment as well.
Such a humanization of the environment i.e. assigning a human attitudes also to inanimate objects (assigning an abstract concept of what we could call a soul) has its deep traditions one way or another in all ancient and contemporary native cultures [not because some moral superiority but because of proven benefit to human society], while eradicated form the recent civilizational development which is founded on dehumanization as a fundamental attitude to humans rendered unfit or those rejecting “civilized” push or governance and that includes also plants, animals and life-sustaining environment i.e. entire natural ecological system.
Such a dehumanization of nature, human emotional detachment from it, was not a side effect of the natural/human resource exploitation dictated by current unsustainable civilizational path, but a necessary condition for, what we now call, development of primitive or modern age of capital flows and economic development we were trained/conditioned to consider as beneficial, progressive and inevitable.
While most of those socially humanizing efforts of native cultures were placed in context of religion or spirituality, it is more represented as cultural formation efforts rather than what it really is, namely our evolutionarily successful attitude of our unique understanding of ourselves as humans and our role in overall environment and life-sustaining ecological system around us.
In a sense humans long ego discovered that concept of spirituality, devoid of magic, mysticism and supernatural connotations [although such were often made], has its solid material foundations.
Human cultures and civilizations, which ignored that premise, perished and brought calamity to other neighboring human cultures with their demise.
It is our modern “inhumane” civilization that produced, promoted and required people’s unconditionally turning into social machines and all the historical struggles were underlain by our very struggle to retain our humanity throughout the ages. And the struggle continues while unfortunately social machines equipped with new digital mass control technologies are set to ultimately prevail but this time on global scale leaving no true human society untouched or in fact unaltered.
Is this the end? Is this the end of humanity we never really knew?
Is this the end of “neat” elaborate plans for human race? Is this the end of everything that stands?
Are we lost in a human wilderness of pain and sedation?
Have all our children gone insane happily turning into social machines?
Is humanity even worth saving?
I am not Neo from Matrix, the Movie to utter: “I will not tell you how it will end but I will show you how it will begin” since even if it [a revolution] begins it will not go deep enough into a rabbit hole of our own prejudices, imposed on us by ruling elite false “machinic” notions of who we are and how we ought to live or die as a human beings since humanity itself is continuously being re-defined not by us but for us, social machines.
Not deep enough to recognize that we ourselves are the most threatening impediments, machinic counter-revolutionaries to the human civilizational disruption that is an imperative if our species were to survive for much longer and retain a shred of humanity while at it.
Not enough to recognize that we must abandon as erroneous, wrong, harmful what we deeply believe are precious achievements of human civilization of last ten millennia, and retreat and set a different path of human development, and if dialectics of human development is true, into unknown and unknowable.
REMEMBER: MATRIX HAS YOU…
Morpheus: Matrix [of control is upon us], is everywhere, all around us, even now .. [in here], you can see it when you look out of the window, or when your turn on your TV [or login into world wide web]
You can feel it when you work, go to church or pay taxes. It is the world that was pulled over your eyes to blind you to the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave Neo, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you can’t smell or taste or touch, a prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix [of Control] is, you have to see [through] it for yourself.
This is your last chance, after this there is no turning back, you take a blue pill story ends, you wake up.. and believe whatever you want to believe. You take a red pill, you stay in wonderland and I will show you how deep the rabbit hole goes … remember all I am offering is the truth, nothing more.
[From Matrix, The Movie, 1999]
So which pill is it going to be?
I truly don’t know.
*[from Plato, Epicurus, Plutarch to Machiavelli, Tocqueville, J.S. Mill to Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Zola, Wiener, C.W. Mills, Adorno, Shannon, Sartre, Hardt, Negri, Foucault, Godwin, Camus, Weber, Deleuze, Wolin, Sartre, Guattari, Arendt and many others including Huxley and Orwell];
**Egalitarianism, cooperation, no conflict as a base case for humanity:
Some links upon which the post is based:
Gilles Deleuze: “Postscript on the Societies of Control”, 1990.
The more specific take of particulars of a modern society of control by Jeremy Jae in an essay “Societies of Control and Antipsychiatry” 2012.
A YT clip based on the above essay.
A website specifically dedicated to Michel Foucault:
Some readings on which the post is based:
Norbert Wiener, The Human Use Of Human Beings: Cybernetics And Society Cybernetics and society, 1954.
Norbert Wiener: Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, 1965.
Michel Foucault: Discipline and Punish, 1979.
Felix Guattari: The Machinic Unconscientious, 1979.
Felix Guattari: Chaosophy, 1972-1977.
Francois Dosse: Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, Intersecting Lives, 1998.
Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari: Anti-Oedipus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1982.
Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari: A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 1988.
Mark Poster & David Savat: Deleuze and New Technology, 1999.
Simone Bignall and Paul Patton: Deleuze and Postcolonial, 2001.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri: Empire, 1999.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri: War and Democracy in the age if Empire, 2004.
Additional links about anti-psychiatry and schizoanalysis of society.