THE HEARTBREAK SATANS
THE CURRENCY OF GUILT
STATE OF EXCEPTION
THE FUTURE IMAGINARY
Ideas about the future are only ever thought in the present. They are aspects of contemporary ritual practice. Images of happy possible futures and scary possible futures are presented to us all the time. The “future” is offered as something to believe in, lean towards, act in terms of… always in the present. This future is thus materially an aspect of the present. But this aspect has a particular function in the present, which is to deflect attention and alternative action away from the materiality of the present. This false future serves to prevent the present from being altered–from leading to any future different from its present. The systemic representation of the false future in the present thus operates to foil any real future.
- “We need to increase defense spending significantly…” and related assertions in the same voice are readings of the statement of principles of the Project for a New American Century.
Power always produces a false future.
THE HEARTBREAK SATANS
The military industrial complex, the privatization of everything, violent penetration in the Global South, and of you, through your cell phone and computer. Neocolonial, “neoliberal” arrangements are first set up through special forces, physical and financial: lethal blows, lethal purchases, lethal apps. Blackwater moves from Iraq through Afghanistan to Academi. Economic hitmen gut national wealth for dysfunctional dams that displace millions. Apps mapping our gestures compile evidence against us.
- Eric Prince, founder and former CEO of private mercenary company Blackwater USA, now Academi, argues for the privatization of the War in Afghanistan.
- John Perkins, who describes himself as an “economic hit man” who “cheat[ed] countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars,” explains the collaboration of military and economic actors in neocolonial exploitation.
- Edward Snowden, who worked for the CIA and NSA and revealed sweeping global surveillance programs, discusses the implications of big data.
PRESENT PRODUCTION: KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION
”Knowledge”: a body of signs and procedures that “represent” what is. “Knowledge” fills libraries and hard drives. It is here with us, in our present. It represents a present, in a present. This representation of some present is itself produced, and in this way, (especially since we look at the representation more than at the surrounding present) some aspect of the real present is produced. A certain represented present holds our gaze in the material present, and this gazing, and what we see, are what we are really doing, here in the real present.
We ourselves are also produced in this process, as aspects of this present. Our self is one thing we know. Signs represent our “selves” to our “selves”: as created, as evolved, as animal, as spirit, as matter. And we “know” that “we” know. Being coherent, unified knowers is a core part of what we “know” we are. “Homo sapiens”: thinking, knowing man. Cogito ergo sum. I think therefore I am. This is a core dogmatic component of what we think we are. Yet this knowledge of who we are is produced.
The present, and who we are in this present, are produced. There are specific institutions which produce and distribute these representations purporting to represent reality. One center of such production is The Academy–the University system. Real bodies in the real/present are (in)formed by such industries, folded in this construct and transformed into the intellectual property of the Academy, “interpellated” and interpreted, archived and assimilated. Like the media, like the schools, like the churches, The Academy produces the knowledge of who we are, and what is real.
But who should control the means of the production of knowledge? And what knowledges should they produce? What presents should be represented? What futures? What pasts?
- Economist Milton Friedman introduces himself.
- Laurence Fishburn, as Morpheus, introduces “the construct,” the basic framework supporting virtual training regimes.
- Cognitive Scientist Daniel Dennett presents “consciousness” as “a bunch of tricks in the brain” and free will as a correlate of mental symbolic representation.
- Philosopher Jacques Derrida discusses “subjectivity” and its deconstruction, but not its dissolution.
- Physicist Richard Feyman introduces elementary aspects of physical reality like magnetic repulsion.
- Linguist Noam Chomsky critiques dominant paradigms which limit human cognition: assumptions about the mechanistic world and mathematical abstraction.
- Rajiv Malhotra, defender of Indian culture and critic of American Academia, diagrams global production chains underpinning academic knowledge production.
PAST PRODUCTION: THE CURRENCY OF GUILT
Debt: a present obligation explained in terms of the past. Who I am now is legally and behaviorally linked with what I agreed to then, what I spent then, what I borrowed then and now owe. In my present, I live the debt of the past. At the same time, somewhere beyond me, my debt is bought and sold. My agreement with familiar parties is now owed to an anonymous consortium making claims on my future. Thus debt is also future production. It produces the future as threat and extraction. It represents my future activity as equal to a certain speculative value. My future in this billing cycle wears the face of guilt, the legitimate demand, the specter of authority. You owe us! Get to work! Guilt is my current; I am the currency of guilt.
- “Why haven’t you got your heater on? Because I can’t afford to put it on! I don’t get paid to January!”
- “I’m thinking yesterday.”
- “Is this how my life is gonna end?”
Witches find fissures and cracks in the construct. The produced present and the produced past that pins the present, and the produced future that is promised but never arrives… are reproduced, overlaid, pulsed through space, saturated, diluted, adjusted. Their production is discontinuous and its effectiveness is variable. One layer smears the next. Some layers contradict, yielding a motive or magnetic force. Moreover, there persists through the materiality of each misleading sign the presence of another present, the features of multiple futures, and the potential pastness of the present hegemony. Some mixture of meaning and meaninglessness, rhythm and arrhythmia, implosion and insurrection: “time” ruptures. Habits and techniques can be developed drawing from these reservoirs and more that make it possible to slice apart and step away from the time prison, the construct.
- Witches Casting Spells on Politicians: a Curse on Corruption.
- H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael, 1968.
STATE OF EXCEPTION
Summer of 2020, while police moved in to clear peaceful protests outside the White House with military tactics. A Minneapolis police station is torched during the protests. It is unclear who is responsible for the destruction, whether it is Antifa or the Boogaloo Bois, but blame falls squarely on the Black Lives Matter movement, opening the door to occupation by unidentified paramilitary forces, proclamation of curfews and suspension of rule of law.