Certainly you command that I should be continent from the concupiscence of the flesh and of the eyes and from the ambition of the secular world . . . . But still there live in my memory images of such things, which my custom had fixed there; and they charge into my thoughts, though diminished in their power, even while I am awake: in sleep, however, they appear not only to the point of delight but even to the point of agreement of simulations and facts. And so powerful is the illusion of that appearance, both in my spirit and my flesh, that false visions persuade me of that which true ones cannot when I am awake. Do I not exist at that time [when I am asleep], my Lord Divine? And yet there is so much difference between me myself and me myself during the moment in which I make the transition from here to sleep or return from there here! Where is the reason then, by which the waking mind resists such suggestions, and, even if the things themselves are borne in, still remains unperturbed? Is it closed with my eyes? Is it lulled to sleep with my bodily senses?
– Augustine, Confessions, Book 10, Chapter 30.1
That ancient religion of a felicitous time was the perpetual celebration of the present. But once it idealized itself with the modern age, religion cast a temporal halo completely around the present, an empty milieu, one of idleness and regret, where the heart of man is abandoned to its own inquietude, where the passions pass the time on insouciance or on repetition, where finally Folly can spread itself freely.
– Foucault, “The Great Terror,” Madness and Civilization, 389.2
The only weapon of power, its only strategy against . . . defection, is to reinject realness and referentiality everywhere, in order to convince us of the reality of the social, of the gravity of the economy and the finalities of production. For that purpose it prefers the discourse of crisis, but also – why not? – the discourse of desire. “Take your desires for reality!” can be understood as the ultimate slogan of power, for in a nonreferential world even the confusion of the reality principle with the desire principle is less dangerous than contagious hyperreality. . . .
Hyperreality and simulation are deterrents of every principle and of every objective; they turn against power this deterrence which it so well utilized for a long time itself. For, finally, it was capital which was the first to feed throughout its history on the destruction of every referential, of every human goal, which shattered every ideal distinction between true and false, good and evil, in order to establish a radical law of equivalence and exchange, the iron law of its power. It was the first to practice deterrence, abstraction, disconnection, deterritorialization, etc.; and if it was capital which fostered reality, the reality principle, it was also the first to liquidate it in the extermination of every use value, of every real equivalence, of production and wealth, in the very sensation we have of the unreality of the stakes and the omnipotence of manipulation. Now, it is this very logic which is today hardened even more against it. And when it wants to fight this catastrophic spiral by secreting one last glimmer of reality, on which to found one last glimmer of power, it only multiplies the signs and accelerates the play of simulation.
– Jean Baudrillard, “Simulacra and Simulations,” 179-180, Trans. Paul Foss, Paul Patton and Philip Beitchman.3
We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep.
– Prospero (Shakespeare, The Tempest, IV, i, 156-158)
Is Simulation a form of Incarnation? Can Simulated History become Lived History? Can Images on the Screens of Electronic Consciousness become Agents of Revolution? Can a New Millennium begin with a new (Dis)Order of Things? Can it Not? May we peer deeply through the Lens of Information into all of these miraculous phenomena as they are made manifest in the Battle in Seattle?
A vision came to me when I was between waking and sleep, Lord, not on the screen of “my” consciousness, which is but a dim reflection of Yours, Sir, but rather on the Pixilated Mirage of Cyberspace that surfaces on the face of my Com-puter, the Digit-al next Incarnation of the Tele-vision, whose Miraculous power to De-ceive and In-form has been well known since the meditations of St. McLuhan. Amidst a Fog of acrid smoke that brings Tears to the eyes of the Just, from a crowd of hazed figures, turned this way and that in agitation, emerged a face both terrible and familiar, of a fellow man, but under an armor of plexiglass, a surface of crystallized oil, the blood of Industrialism made transparent by the Magic of Megatechnics, helmeted Police eyes peering out at me through reflections of a wobbling line of souls, these only armored in denim and plasticine parkas to keep out the rain, the eyes themselves merging with the images of those confronting their Host and by him confronted, along a new Line forming, Lord Boss, along the Second Millennium’s Edge. From there Pilgrims can, like Janus, look forward and back, to create a certain perspective on where “we” are, where we’re going, and where we’ve been.
“The demonstrators danced in the streets, and of all the graffiti on the walls of the retail district, one seemed especially apt: we win. Still, those who imagine they’ve halted globalization – or eliminated the need for a traffic cop as it proceeds – are dreaming,” pronounced Kenneth Klee of that conduit of NEWS by the WEEK – both of these terms used to punctuate events and time, respectively in the Last Millennium amidst whose empty twilight, its Temporal Halo, I now write. I confess in this Light, right up front, my Maximal Enforcer, that I have always had a predilection to be a dreamer. The key to dreams is Context, without the consideration of which Texts have an inordinate power to deceive, as well as what amounts to the same Thing, to offer themselves as commodities: which makes them CON texts in quite another sense. Of course what comes with the text, the Dream Rock in which it is embedded, often takes on the form of the glowing Apparition, miraculously revealing the haloed meaning contained therein. So on the WEB page adjoining the reinjection of the Real and referentiality into the Dreams of Revolt quoted above, appears a Blinking Digit-al Logo for the Magazine in question, one face of which reads, “Give Them the World Wrapped Up Every Week.”4 Now to Guardians of the Electropolis, Protectors of the Transcendental Signified bounding the Forms of Thinkable Thought, to the Priests of Referentiality and what counts as NEWS for the Global Information Order: to Them, “Dreamers” are lost souls who cannot come to Terms with Reality, with the Inevitability of Capitalist Globalization, cannot accept the Planetary Mall, each country with its Stall and Salable Perspective on Merchandise, just as the World appears in my own Home, Lord, and current temple of Your Spirit under the Ethic of Capital, Epcot the Center and vortex of Commodities from which emanate the Rules of the Marketplace for All. This is the True Spiritual and Political Center: Walt’s Trade Organization, the spiritual WTO of which all others, like the pre-Commoditized societies represented there, are mere shadows of their New Commercialized Selves. But of course there are problems in Paradise.
“Le monde n’est pas un marchandise,” read a banner amidst a 1995 Parisian demonstration against the WTO, spreading by Negation the Dangerously Great Notion that all are not Believers in the Religion of Commerce, RC, that Sacramental Logo of a onetime Cola that has fizzled before the Globalizing Host-Coke(tm).5 I dreamed, Lord, that the ocean was No Longer Aqueous Blue but Brown and Full of Bubbles, foaming with CO2 for ME and YOU, at least in your Respirating Incarnation(s): little Power Bubbles of Capitalist Discourse turning the Biosphere into LIQUID ASSETS worth, as St. Dylan once put it, “a dozen dead oceans,” embraced by the Omniverous Tentacles of Walt (OTW) encircling Our Hallowed Oasis in the Heavens. Amidst the Empty Milieu that is shattering like the falling Crystal Palace into the Mille Mileaux of Late Modernity, spaces abound for contemplation and for action, the via contempliva and the via activa that merge in the Idiom of Dreams, Street Dreams, peopled by Communicative Actors on the Globe’s stage, Biopolitical Personae, Living Signs of Defiance in the Hallucinating mind of the Media. Here are McLuhan’s children confronting the Referentiality of Rubber Bullets and Pepper Spray and Weeping the Tears of our Lady of the Gas, who stood above the Trenches and Wept in the Great War, her Ghostly presence sometimes visible in the afterglow around the black-and-white Images on the History Channel, our filmic-videographic Memory of the Eurocentric Mania to Rule by Guns and Consumption to the last Drop of the Underclass’s Blood: now called, in a Neo-Imperial Euphemism of admirable Obfuscatory power, World Trade. What Its “Organization” fears is “Anarchy,” naturally, unless it’s expressed as the lawlessness and ethical heedlessness of Free Trade – as you Know, my Cosmic Financier, Whose Hucksterity (the Platonic Form of Greed) far outdoes the Earthly fiscal policy of Republicans and whose Hypocrisy, my Playwright, dazzlingly upstages the Antics of the Democrats.
If Prospero was right, that Humanity is constructed on the stuff of Dreams, and St. Freud was right, that this Stuff inhabits what appears to Consciousness as the Un-Conscious, then perhaps St. Jameson is right, that the Backdrop for the conscious politics expressed in the Official Political Vehicles of the Free World is the Political Unconscious: the Skein of Dreams from behind which Masked Rebellion steps on Stage like an Emissary for Prospero’s poor cousin: St. Thomas’s Tristero.6 The Consciousness of the Pecuniary Order, the Free White Mind of Trade, is Encoded in its Always Wakeful Order of Lucre (AWOL from the Rest of us) the WTO (William’s Toy Outlet) and the OTW (Walt’s omniverous tentacles which first rippled their way into this Meditation just a paragraph ago!) and their Official Information Legislators like the New York Times, NewsWeek, BusinessWeek and, my Celestial Clockwork, Time – whose Enlightened Pronouncements are the veritable Words Of Exchange: the logic of that Planetary WOE called GLOBALIZATION (George [Jr. Or Sr.] Lucre Omnivorousness Bill Al moreLucre Interventionsm ZapatistasfightingbackandZNet7 Accumulation Trade Interest Oligarchy Now, the reverse of which is NO). NO, Lord, is a Powerful Word that Wells up from the Political Unconscious in multifarious ways, Sea Turtles like mirages treading visible and audible on the Streets Of Seattle, sending a Planetary SOS to Me and You: Acrid Tears and Troubled Voices Crying “No, No to WTO.”8
Once, my SchizoGenitor, I was a Manichee, and now I am enthralled by the Manichean Outpourings in the Unctious Struggle for the Electropolis under the planetary Halo of Epcot Center sounding the Knell for US or for THEM, and by Street Minstrels sounding the Historic Opportunities of People Engage.9 Let me repeat these as an offering for Reflection and Resound, as through the Miracle of that Great Technological Elaboration of speech, the Phonetic Alphabet, we may open our eyes and Hear the voices. What better place to begin than with
Mainstream Lamentation Over The Anarchist Trashing Of Consumer Icons:
“Enter the anarchists. A few dozen evidently came from a Eugene, Ore.-based group that had staged a similar, violent protest in their home downtown earlier this year. Their philosophical leader, 56-year-old anarchist author John Zerzan, was also in town. Whoever they were, in fatigues and black masks, they opened their knapsacks and got out their hammers, spray paint and M-80 firecrackers. With the police still occupied closer to the convention hall, they began their assault on the brand-name retailers: FAO Schwarz, Starbucks, Old Navy and others. They broke windows and painted their A-in-a-circle logo on walls.”
– Kenneth Klee, Newsweek, see note 1.
A View From The Clergy:
“You cannot see his face, and he will wear the mask until there is no longer any need for it. And his name is, The Lone Ranger.”
– Parish Priest of the Mission Church, The Lone Ranger (1956).10
Lamentation from the Keepers of Time:
“‘The mere words socialism and communism,’ wrote George Orwell 62 years ago, ‘draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex maniac, Quaker, “Nature Cure” quack, pacifist and feminist in England.’ Today it is the bogeymen of globalization and world trade that bring out their own kooky crowd. There they were in Seattle last week: Zapatistas, anti-Nike-ites, butterfly defenders. They joined steelworkers and the Sierra Club, Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan in a giant anti-trade jamboree.”
– Charles Krauthhammer, Time.11
Chorus on the Street, a Youth’s Staccato Reply:
Seattle, Saturday, 12/04/1999 — “Hello all, Sarah Sherman reporting here from Seattle under Marshall law. . . .The past two nights in our Capitol Hill Neighborhood police gassed, beat, shot rubber bullets, threw M-80s and maced people, including innocent bystanders coming out from their apartment to see what the shots were. Undercover, plain clothes policemen were walking around macing people. On Tuesday night after the march, after the city declared a “curfew” on the downtown area of Seattle. At 7pm when the thousands of people had not dispersed the cops took tactical action. And as the media reported, with precision the police took back downtown block by block, using tear gas and rubber bullets. . . . Shit, and what a burn that is! I don’t think I ever would have thought in my life that I would be subjected to tear gas, especially if I WAS DOING NOTHING AT ALL!!! I started thinking that this could be a pre-cursor to the millennium, like it is just the practice for the police in case anything like this happens on New Years Eve.”12
An Elder Empowered to Proclaim, “All the News that’s Fit to Print”:
“There were a few signs of life after Mr. Clinton’s election, but he was focused on the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, then the Senate battle to ratify a new accord that created the World Trade Organization, the earlier agreement’s successor, as a truly powerful enforcer of world trading rules”
– David Sanger, New York Times.13
Voices From The Youth Chorus:
“So the government instigated a ‘riot’ to discredit the movement against the WTO because they couldn’t dilute it. I am not guessing about this. I was there. I saw it happening. And I will tell you I am frankly shocked to see, close up, just how little our leaders care what happens to ordinary people. Clinton can pose and speak a lot of flowery stuff but the truth is – we are nothing to them. I saw this with my own eyes.” – Jim Desyllas, student reporter from Portland.14
Quotes of the week on Seattle local TV news Tuesday night: “I was in Birmingham Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement when people were making history and the media didn’t understand the significance of what they were witnessing. All they could talk about was how sad it was that people weren’t shopping downtown.” Thursday night: “If they’re gonna gas the kids again tonight, they’re going to have to gas the grandmothers too, because we’re going to be out there.”
– Amory Starr.15
Wealth Speaks on His Own, without Nostalgia or Irony:
“To someone who marched on Washington and joined the Peace Corps in the ’60s, as I did, there is a vestigial pull to identify with the Seattle protestors venting their anger at the WTO. But I realize that it is nothing more than a faux nostalgia for the form — not the substance — of protest. . . . One of the worst aspects of the Battle in Seattle veterans was their lack of irony. . . . But it is the arrogance of the protestors that is most upsetting. To anyone who has lived overseas, who has seen on-the-edge-of-death poverty up close, Americans preaching to Asians and Latin Americans about such things as child labor is simply unpardonable. Families send their children to work to survive in the Philippines and elsewhere, not because they are callous or ignorant of education.” – Bruce Nussbaum, Businessweek.16
Critical Reason Has The Last Word, After All:
“Summarizing, the expected consequences of the victory for “American values” at the WTO are: (1) a “new tool” for far-reaching U.S. intervention into the internal affairs of others; (2) the takeover of a crucial sector of foreign economies by U.S.-based corporations; (3) benefits for business sectors and the wealthy; (4) shifting of costs to the general population; (5) new and potentially powerful weapons against the threat of democracy.” – Noam Chomsky, Zeta Magazine.17
These Digital Scripts are all Emanations from the World Wide Web, my Communicator, where the Power of Appearance has become the Power of Evocation, the Incarnations of Light in Simulations, virtual entities without originals, Simulacra, coursing along the Information Highway, many of them Hucksters, many Nationalists, Ethnocentrists, Soldiers of Fortune, Sons of Hitler, Porno Objectifiers and, of course, Consumers, but Some are Revolutionaries, Activist Bodies Electric, Street Fighters in the spirit of St. Abbot Hoffman, that Revolutionary for the Hell of It, who Acted Out his Knowledge on the Stage of the Electropolis: “Politics is Theater.” The Rebellion in Seattle was admirably a battle of Biosocial Actors in the Industrial City, yet its greater Political Power was in its Emanation, as Virtual Bodies in Revolt against Globalization became Simulacra in the Rebellion of the Hyperreal. St. Hoffman, deputized by Marshall McLuhan way back in those 1960’s when Covered Wagons still appeared in the Rear-View Mirrors of Amerika’s Auto-Mobiles:18 a Dawning Post-Industrial Electronic order: a digital PIE to be thrown in the Face of the Mighty. What the Managers of the Planet Fear, besides the joy of YIPPIE! politics, is quite simply Democracy, whose Potential is Obvious when the People have the Power of Communication, and Obscured when we do Not.
The Revolution will be Digitized yet, in an more Radical Turn by an Anarchist Driver, again transmuted into the Analog, the Paralanguage of the Body. Biosocial Actors on “real” streets now act as Communicative Actors on Global Roads: Here is Our Power and, if We don’t ACT, Theirs. I told you I was a Manichee once, Lord of Light, and I’m still inclined to think that Even You need the Darkness: of the Cave, of the Body, of Sleep and of Dreams. But in that largely Undiscovered Country, that new Cave of Cyberspace, what Dreams may Tread and what Brave new Actors may come to Life? Informatic Bodies, Human Genome Protein-Synthetic Constructs, now Rise Together as in a Great Ark on a Phosphorescent Crest, my Navigator, of a New Wave of RevoEvolution, where Nature has become Culture and Life a form of Art. Out of the Great Darkness, Emerges the Great Anarchy, out of the Noise of Entropy, rises the Net Demon, St. Maxwell’s Child, and even more St. Szilard’s:19 Your NEW ARCHRIVAL. For, though I say this with Trepidation, Sir, I must Confess the Deepest Suspicion of My Soul, that Even You were Co-Opted by Illegitimate Power, in the Era of the Feudal Manor as in the Era of the Industrial Capitalist Company, so that Now, in the Age of Information, where You have received Considerable Competition from Apparitions of Elvis, I Propose a Change in the Address of my Prayers! For if You, Deus, were the “Mind” of Europe or, as some would have it, the World, so She, Dea, was the Body, the Earth, the Womb, the Cave, long Dominated by that Patriarch Zeus and his Patrilineal Progeny. She appeared, Recently, in a Miraculous Oil Stain on the Window of A Financial Facade, in ClearWater Florida,20 Land of Flowers and of Youth’s Fountain, Land of Redemption through Traffic and Urban Sprawl, and, Finally, Land of Disney World, Epcot Center My Home, and its New Commodity Community: Celebration. There She, according the Accounts and Events to which I was both an Eye and Ear Witness (for the Testament of the Ear, as I Confess in Book X Chapter xxxiii of my Confessiones, is also to be Heard), Appeared as Mary, Mother of the Son and so of the Father too. And so I’m inclined to think (especially after attending Secret Organizing Meetings Anarchistic of Radical Mariolatrists in the Catacombs of Orlando), that I’ll now Pray to Her, and Confess too, Father, though, to be Democratic, I’ll CC my prayers to You.
Now the Body is Become the Mind: the Miracle of our Age. In the Age of Philosophy in the Flesh,21 in the Age of Bioinformatics,22 the distinction that haunted Descartes, between res cogitans and res extensa (thinking and extended substance), is NO problem, except as a Ghostly Hangover of Modernity. “A critique of general political economy (or a critical theory of value) and a theory of symbolic exchange are one and the same thing. It is the basis of a revolutionary anthropology,” says St. Baudrillard. The language of Bourgeois anthropology, my Poetess, is the Binary order of Logic, by means of which Metaphor and her sister Metonymy were banned, along with their mother Gestural Body, from the polis.23 Logical organization is Digital organization, the very “grammar” of communication that represses analog forms (breaks them up into bits of Boolean design and reconstitutes them as simulacra: in one side of the Digital Engine, the Virgin, out the other side, behold, Tinker Bell). Yet on the biosocial and artistic stages of communicative action, the Analog, the Metaphor, the language of the Body, of Sappho, of Imagination, of Entropy, of An-Archy is rising in a new Chorus not to challenge but to Encircle and Embrace the Logic of Oedipus the Information King with a Comic Bear Hug, in a new Politics of Friendship:24 The reawakening of the Communicative Body in a Radical GynEcology.
The Dance of Information and Entropy incarnates logic and imagination in one Body, as in the Dance of Shiva – the God who is also a Goddess, and in the Human who is also a Turtle or a Butterfly or a Swan, the very metaphoric code of that Old Sacrament by which Bread becomes Body and Wind Blood.25 These are Hybrid Bodies, copies without originals, the Animating Powers of the Living. Their Choreography is the Play of Information on stages both Biomorphic and Cybernetic, on which we are all Players Now. Simulacra are new Activist Metaphors, Dreams rising into Hyperreality from Modernity’s Unconscious, from the Genders and Ethnicities and Bodies and Ecological Complexities suppressed by the Mind of Descartes, Plato and Zeus: Simulacra in Virtual Mirage rising to reinhabit the Biosphere, Incarnations without, as the Buddhists say, Karma. The Forces of Folly Freeing themselves At Last, Entropy’s Actors, are taking the Stage of Seattle and Cyberspace to animate, to shake up, the Old World Order with the Startling Possibilities of Democracy and Perpetual Creativity.
I’d say more, Notre Dame, but I’ve got to give a Sermon at the Disney Millennium Celebration. With love, I confess, to you, on this First Day of January, 2000, Annus Deae.
PS: My Homily will be entitled, “The Next History-Herstory.”
1. From Augustine: Confessions. 2 vols. Trans. William Watts. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. This particular translation is my own.
2. From Histoire de la folie a l’age classique, Editions Gallimard, 1972. The translation is my own.
3. In Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings, Ed. Mark Poster, Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 166-184.
4. “The Siege of Seattle,” Newsweek, December 13, 1999, Online: <http://newsweek.com/nw-srv/printed/us/na/a9032-1999dec5.htm> The slogan mentioned appears on this and connected pages. All references to Newsweek are to the online archive at <http://www.newsweek.com>.
5. See “Seattle from the Seine,” The Nation, January 3, 2000, 5-6.
6. Tristero is the name of Thomas Pynchon’s anarchistic underground mail system for the dispossessed: see The Crying of Lot 49, New York: Harper and Row 1986, p. 44.
8. See “Seattle’s Sea Turtles Say No To WTO.” Photograph. ZNET: <http://zena.secureforum.com/wto-watch/photo.cfm?PhotoID=48&>.
9. See “Street Performers Singing on University Street.” Photograph. ZNET: <http://zena.secureforum.com/wto-watch/photo.cfm?PhotoID=33&>.
10. Directed by Stuart Heisler, with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, 1956. In this adventure, the Lone Ranger and Tonto help to prevent a war started by the evil cattle rancher, Reese Kilgore, who is trying to drive the “Indians” (to be distinguished from actual Native Americans, of course, given the premises of this genre) off of the reservation, co-opting the sheriff to achieve his ends. His psychology is described by his wife, as follows: Ms. Kilgore: “He doesn’t deserve any loyalty, either from me or from Lila [his daughter, who has been abducted, and then set free, by the Indians]. I can tell you this, he won’t stop when he knows she’s safe. His intentions right along were to exterminate the Indians, and he plans to do it now.” Lone Ranger, “But why?” Ms. Kilgore, “I don’t know.” LR: “Does he want their land?” Ms. K: “That was only at first. He would sit for hours looking off at Spirit Mountain, thinking about the vast acres around it. And it made him angry that a thing in the reach of his eyes should belong to some else – to Indians.” LR: “You say that was only at first, but what is it now?” Ms. K: “The mountain: he wants to own Spirit Mountain.”
11. “Return of the Luddites.” Time, December 13, 1999. Time.com: <http://www.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,35531,00>.
12. Sarah Sherman, “Capitol Hill/Encounter with Newscaster.” ZNET: <http://zena.secureforum.com/wto-watch/report.cfm?ItemID=91>.
13. “The Trade Deal: The Drama; At the Last Hour, Down to the Last Trick, and It Worked” NYT, November 17, 1999.
14. “Collateral Damage in Seattle.” ZNET: <http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/Globalism/collateral_damage.htm>.
15. “23 direct actors collective report on the week in Seattle.” ZNET: <http://zena.secureforum.com/wto-watch/report.cfm?ItemID=105>.
16. “The Battle in Seattle: A Misguided Mob Blinded by Arrogance.” Businessweek Online: <http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/dec1999/nf91203c.htm>. The author concludes, “Indeed, the whole process of globalization is evolutionary. Over the course of centuries, regions joined together to form nations (sometimes, as in the U.S. Civil War, with force). People resented giving up their local culture but usually did because the economic benefits of integration proved overwhelming. NAFTA, the European Union, and Mercosur are bigger, transnational forms of integration. Globalization, integrating nearly all nations within a worldwide economy, is but the latest iteration.” Nussbaum’s conclusion provides an apt illustration of why Donna Haraway and others have argued that the idea of nature is indelibly political. If the WTO is just the latest stage of “evolution,” then the political culture that goes with it, aptly described by Chomsky below, is inevitable.
17. “The Passion for Free Markets: Exporting American values through the new World Trade Organization.” ZNET: <http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/may97chomsky.html>.
18. See Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Massage, Produced by Jerome Agel, 1967; reprinted San Francisco: Hardwired, 1996, pp. 74-75.
19. Clerk Maxwell asked us to imagine “. . . a being whose faculties are so sharpened that he can follow every molecule in his course, and would be able to do what is at present impossible to us . . . . Let us suppose that a vessel is divided into two portions A and B by a division in which there is a small hole, and that a being who can see the individual molecules opens and closes this hole, so as to allow only the swifter molecules to pass from A to B and only the slower ones to pass from B to A. He will, thus, without expenditure of work raise the temperature of B and lower that of A, in contradiction to the second law of thermodynamics” (1871; quoted in Feld and Szilard 1972, 32).
Maxwell’s analysis led Leo Szilard to publish a critique entitled, significantly, “On the Decrease of Entropy in a Thermodynamic System by the Intervention of Intelligent Beings” (1929). Szilard’s investigation was “to find the conditions which apparently allow the construction of a perpetual-motion machine . . . if one permits an intelligent being to intervene in a thermodynamic system” (301). He argued that this reduction of entropy and so the apparent establishment of perpetual motion in a mechanical system required “a sort of memory faculty, manifested by a system where measurements occur, that might cause a permanent decrease of entropy and thus a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics , were it not for the fact that the measurements themselves are necessarily accompanied by a production of entropy.” By postulating an “inanimate device able to make measurements . . . under continual entropy production,” he calculated that the resulting quantity of entropy was “exactly as great as is necessary for full compensation” (301). In other words, the quantity of energy used by the measuring device is the same as the quantity of entropy production, so that the Second Law is not contravened. The Demon must use energy and hence increase entropy exactly proportionate to the reduction of entropy it as achieved by sorting the molecules. Hence, differentiation is energized, as in differance.
See Leo Szilard, “On the Decrease of Entropy in a Thermodynamic System by the Intervention of Intelligent Beings,” translation of Uber die Entropieverminderung in einem thermodynamischen System by Eingriffen intelligenter Wesen, Zeitschrift fur Physik, 1929, 53, 840-856, English and German text reprinted in Bernart T. Feld and Gertrude W. Szilard, eds. The Collected Works of Leo Szilard: Scientific Papers. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1972, pp. 120-133; English translation reprinted from Behavioural Science, vol. 9, no. 4 (1964).
20. “Augustine of Epcot: Confessions of a Hypermiraculous Age.” CTHEORY. Event-Scene 37 (March 1997), </event/e037.html>; reprinted in Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, eds., Digital Delirium, New York and Montreal: St. Martins and New World Perspectives, 1997, pp. 212-219.
21. See George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought, New York: Basic Books, 1999.
22. See Eugene Thacker, “../bio_informatics.html/materiality & data between information theory and genetic research.” CTHEORY, Article 63, 28 October 1998;
23. The separation of the critique of political economy from those of use value, the sign and systems of signs, as well as symbolic exchange, has prevented the creation of a radical anthropology. The key to these separations, as Baudrillard puts it, is what Wilden following Lacan following Freud call the logic of Primary Process, the language of Cartesian Consciousness: “The bar which separates use value from exchange value, and that which separates the signified from the signifier is the line of formal logical implication,” Baudrillard argues. “And the logical organization of this entire system [of political economy] denies, represses and reduces symbolic exchange” (62-63) “The Political Economy of the Sign,” Trans. Charles Levin, in Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings (see note 3), pp. 57-97; see pp.62-63.
So (St.) Anthony Wilden argues: “In order to avoid the most obvious of the possible confusions about the supposed metaphor-metonymical processes ‘in’ the unconscious, two distinctions are essential. The first is that in the sense of similarity and contiguity, metaphor (condensation) and metonymy (displacement) are not primarily digital, linguistic processes but primarily analog processes . . . . The second distinction has already been pointed out: it is that analog coding and digital coding are fundamentally different in form. Whereas a digital code lies ‘outside’ the sender and the receiver and depends on an ‘objective’ repertoire of discrete elements (distinctions) for the selective and combinatory choices that are made, the analog code is neither ‘outside’ nor composed of discrete elements. The analog code is nothing more or less than the very relationship between sender and receiver, hence its primacy. It is thus available for digitalization, via the Imaginary, for example, but it is not digital in itself.” (System and Structure: Essays in Communication and Exchange, 2nd Edition, London: Tavistock, 1980, pp. 455-456). The point is that what Baudrillard points to as the “bar” separating use from exchange value and creating the structure of political economy under capitalism is, in Wilden’s terms, the digital logic of reference and reification characteristic of the Cartesian consciousness currently self-entrusted with planetary management. Now, however, the “unconscious” ana-logical coding of the un-conscious is surfacing – as masked anarchists, human amphibians and other stage metaphors – in a radical return of the repressed. These new hybrid forms have no originals: they are simulacra in a “communication revolution” of what Douglas Coupland calls “microserfs” in his novel by that name. The result is reverberating through Cyberspace and prodding the WTO toward nervous breakdown: the necessary entropic forerunner to the generation of new cultural-political forms.
24. See Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship, Trans. George Collins. London: Verso, 1997.
25. See Gregory Bateson, “Metalogue: Why a Swan?,” Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Northvale N.J.: Aronson, 1987, 33-37; for discussion of metaphor and sacrament see pp. 35-36.