[iDC] blogs, twitter, aphasia, speech

john sobol john at johnsobol.com
Sun Jun 21 15:51:27 UTC 2009

Food for thought, Jodi...lots of good questions

On 19-Jun-09, at 6:06 PM, Dean, Jodi wrote: (and I remixed slightly  
but hopefully left meanings intact)

> I say this because it could be productive to think in terms of a  
> monolithic conspiracy operating behind the scenes: what would it  
> take to subvert
> or escape it?

> If one proceeds as if evil bad guys devised a system to capture  
> attention and energy, and that made this capture totally enjoyable,  
> that made it seem like power (empowerment)
> when it wasn't, when it actually was providing free labor and  
> content for the bad guys, what would follow? What sorts of tactics  
> of evasion?

Well obviously I have been disputing that such a being, secret  
society, corporate plan or collective consciousness exists

but I see you are right that imagining a kind of Cartesian "Evil  
Dreamer" or "Big Other" as you call it, does allow for some creative  
thinking about resistance tactics, just as it spurred Descartes to  
discover the cogito. Not sure if any of us have found the equivalent  
insight but yes I see it as a kind of performance of possible  
politics based on a fiction. Very hybrid. Very ludic. Also very  
paranoid. But still, possibly poetically and politically useful...  
(the non-conspiracy version being of course just individual people in  
their human variety acting with more or less selfishness, vision,  
skill, stupidity and soul, in too often unfortunate and harebrained  

> What sort of alternatives not just for playing at resistance but  
> from over-throwing the bad guys would emerge?

People are distracted by arguing about what the bad guys are doing  
and how to stop them. Yet in so doing they are still using their  
ostensible 'oppressor's' own tools. Whereas i feel that the  
revolution lies in embracing the use of the new narratizing tools  
themselves, the tools that make the stories that move people to  
action. Of course the 'bad guys' use these tools too, and we don't  
know what they are going to do with all that data, the facts they  
capture. The good news is that the bad guys do not realize what we  
are going to do with all that digital talking and playing they are  

> Does imagining such a force make opposition harder than if one  
> imagines a complex multiplicity of forever undecideable and  
> changeable nodes and paths? Why?

Neither is rigorous enough, at least for me, because what I want to  
do is make common sense of nodes and paths but without the conspiracy  
theories or the contingency theories. A grounded, highly practical  
middle that describes things as they are not as schools of thought  
would have them be. Because in practice things are different. Health  
or illness. Applause or jeers. A smack with a baton on the back of  
the head. Contingency quickly dissipates. A choice has consequences.

> Additional thoughts on some of the political points raised in the  
> discussion:
> --that Obama won was in no way a revolution; there is nothing  
> surprising about the Democratic candidate beating the Republican  
> candidate in the wake of an unpopular Republican president
> and an economic meltdown;

all true. and i agree that it was a revolution only in certain very  
specific respects. those specific respects being the scale of the  
integrated use of certain social communication technologies (oral and  
digital) to unite people and inspire them to take a step towards a  
common soulful goal, and the personal revolutions of spirit  
experienced by millions of people feeling deeply inspired.

> --folks in the US should be mindful of election-contestation envy


> Jodi

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