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Thursday 29 March 2018

Further thoughts on Privacy and being an Individual

Here's a very big 'what if' for you.

In yesterday's post I wrote about people being happily compliant with the orthodoxy of the state being applied to their existence, the mediated way in which they are allowed to be. I wrote about this, in the first instance, with a reaction akin to horror. We have pulled back the curtain and haven't found a singular big Other in charge of the controls, but instead countless shifting forces competing over who gets to push the levers slightly in their favour for now. No one intention driving these choices, but rather a shifting 'cockroach' mass pushing us towards... Towards what?

In my horrified mind it is something like a loss of personal rationality; the distinct singular voice, talking not amidst a cacophony, but as a participant in a fair and truthful dialogue with many others.

Here's my 'what if' then. What if, my view isn't the one we should be fighting for? What if, the course of humanity is already driving us towards "deselfing."

Here's an idea... Maybe it's okay to no longer want to be an individual.
 And maybe... Feeling unique is no indication of being unique...
... yet it is the feeling of uniqueness that convinces us we have souls. 
Individualism may, in fact, be a form of brain mutation not evenly spread throughout the population.
Many people are happy to belong to a group - any kind of group - and someone who isn't is a threat.
The Age of Earthquakes, by Basar, Coupland and Obrist. 2015

In the 'Age of Earthquakes' the authors describe deselfing as, "[w]illingly diluting one's sense of self and ego by plastering the Internet with as much information as possible."

You cannot die if you aren't an individual, aren't a person, are just a chemical response that is part of a larger amorphous other, part of an ongoing algorithm.

Comforting, no?

Perhaps not. do not think so at least, but then perhaps that's just a result of my 20th century mind. My reliance on the written rather than the spoken.

However, we aren't there yet, and the more people let 'authority' make choices for them, the more they are made tools for others, they willingly participate in their own exploitation... but what if they're okay with that? Do we, as 'rational' minded persons, disbelieve them. How do we know that our perspective is the correct one?

Perhaps we might comfort ourselves with a saying from Bertie, "the whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people are so full of doubts."

We think then that moderation, that good old Centrism, and the status quo are not to be feared. Why break a system, before it is broken? We must make the best of what we already have.

Perhaps the farmer has the best of intentions for us turkeys. Besides isn't Christmas all about peace?

We are today under the tremendous pressure of what we should call 'enemy propaganda'. Let me quote Alain Badiou: "The goal of all enemy propaganda is not to annihilate an existing force (this function is generally left to police forces), but rather to annihilate an unnoticed possibility of the situation." In other words, they are trying to kill hope: the message of this propaganda is a resigned conviction that the world we live in, even if it is not the best of all possible worlds, is the least bad one, so that any radical change can only make it worse.

Slavoj Žižek, Trouble in Paradise, pp.233-234.