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Freitag, 30. März 2018

Onwards, oh ye crystal boards - Borderliner Smartphone


[Onwards, oh ye crystal boards]

Textfile out of 2012 - today up to date...[German Version]

Translation by Malte Forstat 2018

2012 has been a year of sticking heads among the sand – as in: among the glass screens of mobile devices. Smartphones, iPads and iPhones are turning everybody into iDiots: A new form of i-machines and their colourful images. Youths stumbling around, grumpy people with their eyes glued to tiny screens, self-proclaimed guardians guarding the guardians with their camera phones on a hair trigger, and social networks that level out real personal interactions, actual empathy and the development of solidarity in society. In record time, a fantastic technology has been perverted into its polar opposite. From communication and unlimited opportunities for scientific advancement to infantile self-promotion, self-delusion and digitally induced borderline syndrome.

The head stuck in the sand transitions from the proverbial to the crassly real: a form of ‘totalitarian digital democracy’. These blinkered digi-twits, fettered by inadequate and primitive operating systems, are going through a kind of Stockholm syndrome with images that keep getting more extreme. (The world-wide extermination of homo sapiens by means virtual bioweapons has become commonplace on the screens of these chimp-phones.) With the zeal of the tech-religious, people believe that they are consuming something free and special. That these nuclear-powered interactive cartoons the size of a matchbox are boring and all alike seems not to enter their brains. And all this, despite the fact that very few of them actually own their mindless boxes which waste energy and suck on their intelligence. Nor are they able to access the inner workings of their devices. Not to mention overcoming their obsession with consumption or understanding or manipulating the connections to other networks of devices. The creative minds among the technical priesthood are either in the employ of the digital borderline industry or are labelled – and thus ostracised and persecuted – as hackers.

A machine whose inner workings you cannot access and manipulate does not truly belong to you! In the 20th and 21st centuries, hacking has been and will continue to be the one remaining road to actual freedom.

One example for the skewed logic inherent in these pseudo-interactive crystal boards is the anti-nuclear protest movement: Demonstrations, information campaigns and protests are generally organised through the technology that massively contributes to an increase in energy demand. In other words: Whenever another nuclear power plant goes boom, the sanctimonious protests against it generate a demand for more nuclear power. In other words: “He who sows the protest shall reap the law of unintended consequences.” Based on the technological state of the art, this is a thermodynamic certainty.

Thus the energy transition, that is being discussed in some of the most ruthlessly consumption fascistic nations, brings to light the ambivalence of the ego machines. As the thirst for energy of all of us will never be satisfied (the crystal boards keep multiplying according to the commandments of an ailing market), the future will see a more brutal form of selection: The first half of the last century was all dividing the world into three parts simply by way of military-industrial imperialism and just assume oneself to be the strongest and to have the right to strip the other two parts for all they were worth. Now, as a result of the globalisation of the might-makes-right principle, dividing world society into many castes has become flavour of the decade. Who gets what in terms of food, water, space and technology will in the future, even more so than today, be determined by money and access. You have lot of money and live in the right place? Plenty of access to technology! Little or no money or the wrong place? Live on a rubbish heap and with very little technology.

But this does not mean that there will be fewer boards out there. Just that the poor will have smaller boards than the slightly richer. But both these groups will be blind and helpless. The victors in this primitive technology and energy stampede will be small groups of quasi-feudal market warlords and their heirs. This social class has (once again) taken themselves out of a context of shared community: With great finesse, but little originality, ‘just rich’ (bourgeoisie etc.) is pitted against ‘really poor’ (middle class, blue-collar and white-collar workers, the homeless, civil servants, beggars). Small colourful images, seemingly there to be manipulated, distract us and act as immense marionette strings – or at least they take the place of religions. Little pictures on a screen are the new opium for the old masses.

Thus, the wonderful digital world becomes a parable on the global tragedy: Just because a few greed-driven profiteers live under the delusion that they have to rule the world, the rest of us are doomed to live in distraction and under externally determined social pressure, which in turn generates even more profits for this greedy bunch. The late iGod Steve Jobs and Bill G(H)ates, along with their daft operating systems, are just one more nail in the coffin of common sense that such evidently megalomaniacal life forms have been knocking together for millennia.

A real energy transition would have to involve new ideas, a turnaround and smart actions: New ideas in the sense of human-centred operating systems, with the primary OS being a globally fair education system with access for all. Only then should there be technologies that can be understood and used, without endangering everybody’s mental health. Turning around on this fury road that will eventually leave no space to live, run a server or grow food. And acting smart would mean questioning the phantasm of ‘choice, regardless of physical conditions’ and the borderline technologies that enhance the capabilities of all of us while actually making us more stupid. Smart education would start with the assertion that Saturn is a planet in our solar system and not a German retailer for electronic scrap.

Until then, however, I will save this text on my crystal board, swipe it into the BorderlineWeb like the chimp that I am and blindly and helplessly, like all of us, I stumble about among the iPirates, image junkies and consumption fascists. Sadly, the market warlords will be grateful……

Happy holidays – and most important of all – don’t forget your charger or the hardware you’re wearing will be as blind as you and I……ATARIHARDCORE 2012

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