future present nausea

Posted by on May 25th, 2012 in evolution, networks

If you’re not indignant, you’re not paying attention” is a phrase that’s been going round my head the past week or so. I didn’t know what to do with it. Is it part of my campaign to become God Emperor of Earth? No, I decided. So I wrote it on a scrap of paper and continued to think about it…

Why aren’t people paying attention? The Media. By definition the layer between us and the raw truth. And that layer is run by corporations, who exist to generate profits. Necessarily skewing, infecting their performance of this task. A task they simplify by sticking to an agreed upon narrative, something negoitiated largely between these corporations, political parties and non government organisations; all watched over by our precious Academy. This is how the Truth is constructed. This is how attention is managed. This is how, from all the possible, nearly infinite, narratives that could’ve been generated by looking at the world, the few are pushed onto the citizenry and told that is what they have to choose from. “Left” or ”Right”. “Business” or “Labour”. etc, ad nausem. Or so it has been, until now.

When McLuhan said “The Medium is the Message“, part of what he was talking about was power structures. Broadcast media is top down control. This is still in effect, but everybody is on their social networks talking about it now, even within their ‘filter bubbles‘. But Facebook is the not the message. Twitter is not the message. The message is the Network.

But receiving this message comes with a cost. That cost is future present nausea.

What Bruce Sterling called Dark Euphoria:

Dark Euphoria is what the twenty-teens feels like. Things are just falling apart, you can’t believe the possibilities, it’s like anything is possible, but you never realized you’re going to have to dread it so much. It’s like a leap into the unknown. You’re falling toward earth at nine hundred kilometres an hour and then you realize there’s no earth there.

As I think it was Jhonen Vasquez who described the show Caprica: Everything’s amazing and no ones happy. This is the zeitgiest!

Because we’re starting to get a glimpse of the Abyss… raw truth coming in, unfiltered.

As Mark Pesce will now tell us, this is what it means to have hyperintelligence (emphasis his):

Hyperintelligence means each of us lives within everything everyone else knows. This is not mere trivia — the population of British India at the fin de siecle, or the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. This is the concrete, the useful, the salient. The things that matter and the things that can be made to matter: as we know more our priorities change. Things that might never have concerned us in our ignorance will vex us endlessly in our understanding.

There comes a point when one knows too much. Ignorance is bliss; it’s opposite is the moment when the interconnectedness of one’s knowing and one’s actions results in a liberation from habit and expectation, a mutiny from the mundane, crying non serviam to the quotidian.

Everything gives you cancer; everyone is corrupt; everything is corruption. It was ever thus, and will ever be, failure without end. This moment of utter damnation is the price of omniscience; to know everything is to bear witness to the sins of the world.

But equally this looms as the moment of utter revelation, and in that light all things become possible. Nothing is certain, not even the past. There is no pattern, only inclination, and we can choose to incline ourselves toward the parts of one another which affirm and strengthen. The darkness comes only from knowing and keeping our eyes tightly closed.

There is no top, no bottom, nor any middle, anywhere. There is no power, nor force. It is all finally in our heads, all of it: not just the psychological projections of fantasy and forethought, but the collected knowledge and experience of everyone, everywhere.

We are all unspeakably rich; we are all in fetters and rags. We are each of these things simultaneously, and this is why our knowing pains us. We are free, but conscious of our enslavement; we are powerless, yet swollen with capability. We confuse ourselves because we have always thought ourselves one-or-the-other, but have suddenly achieved both, or rather, gained all.

This is the triumph of the milieu, the accelerating middle which sweeps both top and bottom into its current and carries everything in its path toward some common destiny. It is not the end of difference, but its quintessence, because each point of difference is held in common. Our minds reject this as inconceivable; we find the mutiny even within ourselves. But we can not turn our back on the way the world now works. We can not divorce ourselves from hyperintelligence. It has become the spirit of the world, the hammer to our anvil.

This is a growing pain.


thanks to @interdome & @wolven for letting me ramble at them as I fleshed this out.

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2 Responses to “future present nausea”

  1. "Everything’s amazing and no ones happy." – Wasn't that Louis C.K. just describing the planet in '09? Otherwise, yup.

  2. I serendipitously found this after recently rereading The Invisibles. I agree with the sentiment but remain skeptical about when (if ever) it spills beyond that. There is something about apprehension here, and the double meaning of that word seems useful. Thank you for sharing this!