Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Once Upon a Time, Information became Technology

Image Source: Pinterest.

One of the marvels of the middle ages, a moment when technology jumped, is the flying buttress. Perfected by the 12th century, the elegance and grandeur of flying buttresses are obvious. As an architectural innovation, they leap toward the modern world's astounding tall buildings. They have a lesson for us, too, because flying buttresses tell us what technology really means and why we use it.

Image Source: Pinterest.

The flying buttress was not invented for its own sake. The point to the buttress - even with everything it did for architecture - was not the buttress. Its invention was a means to an end. The buttress was incidental to a larger goal that had nothing to do with the buttress itself.

The flying buttress was invented to solve a problem of faith. It was deliberately conceived to narrate a great architectural story about how human beings can reach higher. At that time, the metaphor for that adventure was religious; the flying buttress was created to vault ornate ceilings into the heavens, to make buildings which touched the edge of God's celestial dominion.

Images Source: Pinterest.

Images Source: Thought Co.

Image Source: Aramaic Bible.

Technology is a servant of higher impulses in human nature; it is supposed to expand our tool-using capacity to accomplish greater things. The past decade has confused the meaning of technology, with corporations portraying tech gadgets as autonomous objects, birthed in rapturous marketing campaigns. They present the technology as an end in itself. Some say this is a nihilistic message, and its implications are evident in recent scandals.

Apple Official iPhone 8 Trailer 2017 (26 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Another Benchmark in the Downfall of Modern Society (26 July 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

This summer, I have covered several wild conspiracy theories and the evolving dynamics of memes, alt-news, and fake news in an effort to understand what part information plays as we use technology to reach beyond worship of the gadget. My posts are not advocating or seeking to prove conspiracy theories, rather indicating where their use takes us.

The established mainstream media attack the alt-media as the latter attract huge audiences on the Internet. The MSM insist that only the corporate media may define the narrative of what is happening in the world. They are grounded in reputation, domination, professionalism; these are the compensated establishment voices who wish to control the way we consume information.

Unless the MSM speak of a cherished citizen journalist who supports the mainstream narrative, there is an established media backlash against nearly all alt-media as 'fake news.' Do not believe the unbranded, no-name voices in the online realm of the disreputable, flawed, amateur, or ideologically threatening. For all this criticism, the MSM journalists have spent little effort trying to understand what practical purpose is served by fake news, conspiracy theories, and other dubious information.

To return to the flying buttress, technology serves a purpose larger than itself. In virtual reality, information becomes a technology. Information and disinformation are tools which can build new realities and new potentials. This utility is little understood by those who take information at face value, as an end in itself. Treat information as a new kind of technology, and the endgame of conspiracy theories, alt-news, and fake news makes more sense.

Image Source: Pinterest.

Establishment news and propaganda depend on reputation and authority to control the news narrative. They demand that you 'just trust' them. But people suffering inside the system no longer trust that system, by definition. The recession ruined automatic, unquestioning faith in the establishment. Every day, legitimate scandals, WikiLeaks, and conspiracy Websites entrench the idea that the whole system is corrupt and compromised. Their message is: you can't trust the system, and you shouldn't.

The more the MSM cast themselves as voices of the (corrupt) establishment, the more they discredit themselves in popular eyes. By this logic, anything the MSM label as fake news must be something real which threatens the broken establishment. Fake news must be real news, hidden, concealed, controlled, and abusively covered up.

Image Source: Pinterest.

Why would alienated citizens listen to the voice of reason and authority? Trusting that voice got them into this mess in the first place. Just look - these doubters would say - at the state of the world! Reverse psychology seeks the wild, opposite path. In this context, the more disreputable a source, the more reputable it ironically is.

Image Source: Twitter.

A few other considerations encourage alt-news and fake news. First, economic crises diminish consumerism and materialism. If the dominant message of developed societies is that you must spend money to get objects to solidify your reality and make it 'real,' what happens when you can't afford the objects anymore? Destroy the economy, and find that people will cleave to unreality, to the world of non-objects, to the imaginary and the fantastic. Without conspicuous consumption, they are decoupled from the material world.

Image Source: The Chive.

Second, add to this that at the exact moment the economy collapsed in 2008, social media exploded. Right at the moment when consumers were feeling most shaky about the security of materialism, they were presented with a virtual reality playground.

Image Source: Youtube.

Image Source: Crave Online.

Third, also at this time, information became unstable. Software became universally available to manipulate and alter images. Websites could be changed without tracks of edits. Search engines allowed instantaneous collection and comparison of images. These search results created an online culture of discovery and discussion; as people recognized (or thought they recognized) patterns in the data, many new conspiracy theories developed.

Fourth, in a global society shuddering from exponential cultural innovation, the more 'out there' the explanation of unprecedented 'out there' world events, the more plausible it sounds.

Image Source: Pinterest.

Finally, all of this produces a story about mass victimhood, a narrative of weakened, abused and helpless citizens taking back control, using forbidden, denied, or suppressed information. This is why alienated netizens identify with child victims of the establishment, whether those victims are real or not. By defending missing and abused children, hacktivists save themselves as well. These conditions set the stage for the Pedogate rumour and broader disinformation which exploded during 2016. The practical outcome of that disinformation is the subject of my next post.

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