Month: March 2014

Let’s get one thing straight:

It is very important for me to be smart. The smartest. Since childhood it has been the only thing that I have been. It has some nasty effects. An example is that I am very keen on name dropping, on dragging up theories that people know nothing about (I usually try to explain them in some sort of hands-on way, but…). A connected example is the fact that I often feel intimidated by other smart people. I rather be quiet than show people that I am not smart enough. Example: one of the parents at my sons daycare have a PhD in philosophy. When I found that out my first reaction was ‘I better keep my mouth shut’ (others might think it a great way to expand their knowledge). Which brings us back to the first example: it often works as a defence mechanism. When I fee that my de facto identity is challenged, I bullshit my way out of it.

I just think it is important that you know who you are dealing with. I am foremost a poser and a fanboy.

EDIT: a point of notice. What I’ve written above is not the rambling confession of some sort of sociopath with low self esteem. I actually feel inadequate and not only threatened among ‘smarter’ people. Partly it is because I have a hard time (as do everyone) to defend my world view against people with the self-assurance that education (of the sort that I respect , that is) brings.

I don’t know if I make myself clearer by this edit, or if I just come of even more as a falsely modest douche.

The Carcereal

The world, in all its glory,
is set up to contain us.
Every aspect of it
a prison for the flesh
working and creating the mind.
An omniscient Existance
where we no longer know
or care what is watching.
And I, knowing that there is
nothing to watch me
nothing that cares
nothing that I in any way can properly understand, or that operates according to parameters that could be said to, in our limited language and understanding thereof, show any interest in anything (he operates on a scale peculiar to himself),
I am despite this knowledge in no way free.
Every act of resistance brings me closer to the center.

An attempt at a little bit of Foucault-inspired death worship. Considering my lack of creative talent, I thought it turned out half way decent. In no way original, but that’s postmodernism for you.

Simulacra & Peter Pan

Södermalm ger mig en underlig känsla av panik och flyktighet nuförtiden. Det har det förvisso nära nog alltid gjort, men livsförändringarna de senaste 2,5-3 åren har gjort det tydligare.
Dels har det naturligtvis att göra med att jag fått barn – jag är knappt där längre och när jag är där är det under tidspress, vilket gör att det blir lite överslag. Jag vill slå mig ner på ett fik eller en bar helt spontant men jag kan inte eftersom jag alltid har saker att göra, alltid någon som är viktigare. Vilket ju gör att jag vill ännu mer (det var en plåga att gå förbi lokalbaren under barnets första tid och under Sofias graviditet. Det sög i mig, lusten att sätta mig ned med en sunkig stöl bara för att – spelade ingen roll att klockan var åtta på morgonen hälften av gångerna.).

Men. Det har inte bara att göra med att jag har någon form av Peter Pan-komplex. Det har även att göra med att jag känner att den rörelse som Stockholm i allmänhet och Söder i synnerhet har varit en del av snart är
fullbordad. Gentrifieringen når sin peak. Det gamla Stockholm är bortrensat och jakten på det ‘autentiska’ är nu helt skild från verkligheten så till den milda grad att den och det snarare blir verklighet i sig.

Kort sagt så känns Söder som Kungsholmen. It’s been a long time in the making. Men jag saknar det ändå rätt ofta, nu sådär på ålderns höst.

EDIT: Sist på bollen, som vanligt.

The deceleration of life as we know it

Gordon argued there are six headwinds that will slow future innovation: an ageing population in the mature economies; rising inequality; an increasing lack of competitive advantage for the mature capitalist economies; poorer education because public investment in education is being destroyed; increasing environmental regulations; and excessive debt. Gordon concluded that US real economic growth could fall to just an average 0.2% a year for the foreseeable future compared 2-3% of the past.

Well well, my my my… Nothing spectacularly new there, but we continue:

“Gordon was criticised for underestimating the new technologies that will come into play in driving up productivity growth over the next few decades.  In his sequel paper, he says “the primary role of the headwinds in predicting slow future growth escaped notice in the initial round of controversy about innovation”  He retorts: ‘there is no need to forecast that innovation in the future will “falter,” because the slowdown in the rate of productivity growth over the past 120 years already occurred more than four decades ago. This sequel paper explains why the pace of innovation declined after 1972. The future forecast assumes that innovations in the next 40 years will be developed at the same pace as the last four decades, but reasons for scepticism are provided for that prediction.'”

Here I find some support for what the Accelerations Manifesto says, in point 3.3:

“Capitalism has begun to con­strain the pro­ductive forces of tech­no­logy, or at least, direct them to­wards need­lessly narrow ends. Patent wars and idea mono­pol­isa­tion are con­tem­porary phe­nomena that point to both capital’s need to move beyond com­pet­i­tion, and capital’s in­creas­ingly ret­ro­grade ap­proach to tech­no­logy. The prop­erly ac­cel­er­ative gains of neo­lib­er­alism have not led to less work or less stress. And rather than a world of space travel, fu­ture shock, and re­volu­tionary tech­no­lo­gical po­ten­tial, we exist in a time where the only thing which de­velops is mar­gin­ally better con­sumer gad­getry. Relentless it­er­a­tions of the same basic product sus­tain mar­ginal con­sumer de­mand at the ex­pense of human acceleration.”

Real techological advancement is then hindered by the development of the new iPhone, so to speak. We can see this in another way in the development of what people assumed would be this anarchic and decentralized haven of free anonymous creative capability: the internet. But alas, it failed. Or let me put it to you like this: when was the last time you used a search engine that wasn’t Google? I bet you have a Gmail-account. This ‘cloud’ where you store your things, who owns that? And since the arrival of Facebook and that paradigmatic shift, you probably aren’t even trying to be anonymous on the internet anymore? The internet is de facto monopolized. Or, as the source of this little rant puts it:

But those days are gone. We’ve centralized the bejesus out of the Internet now. There’s one search engine (plus the one no one uses),one social network (plus the one no one uses), one Twitter. We use one ad network, one analytics suite. Anywhere you look online, one or two giant American companies utterly dominate the field.

This centralization, this involving of big business in the internet cannot but bring capitalist relations to the fore. And those capitalist relations are of course to simply use it, but above all focus on making sure that you don’t move to another alternative (which could be anything). “They do it by having high standards of quality” you say. No, they do it by creating monopoly and they do it by creating a sort of climate and culture of the instans gratification of ‘likes’, of low-intensity exhibitionism etc. And since their motives aren’t to make our lives better but just to keep us there, generating info they can sell, they will not challenge us. The McDonalds-version of the internetz, you know. Nothing will rock the boat. And I’m no better than anyone else. I waste my life on facebook and instagram (and truly, I do). But these relations aren’t there to produce anything that we want or need. They are there to produce revenue to the companies involved.

Which brings us to the next point, namely that of bullshit jobs. A bullshit job is by this definition a job that you know really doesn’t need to be done. A problem has been created and you are hired to deal with the problem, but the problem is bull. Which is why you had a German man that upon his retirement sent a letter to his bosses and just about everyone else, explaining that he had done absolutely nothing in the last ten years. Which is why you have office slaves wasting over 20% (or more!) of their paid time on Facebook, for example. Basically, you have a class of people who are getting paid so they can consume. What it is that they actually produce is of lesser importance. But the money need to keep circulating. The article even mentions that there appears to be an inverse relationship to importance of jobs and wages, namely that the more important you job is the less you are likely to get paid, and more specifically important for this line of argument: vice versa. A school teacher isn’t paid very much. Neither is a nurse. But you’d notice if they went on strike. But would your country or city be brought to a standstill if all the creative directors would go on strike?

Anyhoodles, the point is this: technological innovation have been brought to a halt because capitalism sees no use in it. Why sell you something new and unproved when you could be sold the same thing again, but in a different color this time? And why would you bust your ass at work just to be able to buy the same shit you bought last time when you just as well can google pictures of kittens or write on your grandmas Facebook-wall (poor thing hardly understand how it works, but she gets so happy when you write and since you spend so much time at work you hardly have the time to actually visit her)? It’s all very Soviet. The important thing is that you have a job, not that you work.

And please believe me when I say that there’s no loathing involved in this. I don’t despise anyone doing any sort of job. But we are all trapped in a system, in a situation that might cater to us materially, but that’s just about the only thing it does.

A Critique of the Accelerationist Manifesto

Plan C of Leeds have had a discussion about the Accelerationist Manifesto. Personally, I was quite intrigued by the manifesto, although I couldn’t really bring myself to accept it. I appreciated it for its foresight and modernity, for its focus on the future and of pragmatism. At the same time, precisely those things also echo nostalgia of some old Party, some old communist cadre. Plan C seem to have identified similar tendencies. Both seeing something ‘leninist’ in the manifesto, but also seeing something as at least positing an alternative to tactics that have not proven to be as effective as was hoped for. At least bringing it to the surface.

I hope to be able to get back to this in due time.

EDIT: Apparently Antonio Negri has written a little sumthin’ sumthin’ on the Accelerationist Manifesto as well! Haven’t had time to read it yet, but you should!

And, as before, I hope to be able to get back to that as well.

Eftersom jag inte orkar bråka på facebook

Person X lägger upp följande länk och skriver:

Internationella kvinnodagen infaller som bekant imorgon. Då kan det vara värt att minnas den absurda retorik som brukar förekomma inom svenskt (o)rättssystem och på andra håll via denna muntration kring ett allvarligt problem.

Person Y svarar:

Det “allvarliga problemet” går bara att få bort med tekniker som skulle få Stasi att blekna. Vill folk det, eller gillar de att ha ett sår att peta i som aldrig läker?

Det jag skulle vilja svara, if I were up to the fight:

Vad är det allvarliga problemet i det här fallet? Att så få döms för våldtäkt eller att det finns en diskurs som skapar misstro mot de som anmäler? Personligen bedömer jag det senare vara fallet, alltså att det är attityderna kring den utsatte som är av värde här, inte de kring den som utsätter. Det går säkert att dra paralleller till åtgärder som implementerats av samhället på andra sidan den antifascistiska skyddsvallen, men jag misstänker att dessa åtgärder (som jag definierar dem baserat på min definition av problemet) redan är, som alltid, applicerade och implementerade, men måhända med mindre medvetenhet och tydlig ideologisk stringens än den DDR hade. Detta är inte nödvändigtvis något dåligt, då det innebär att det s a s appliceras ‘av sig själv(a)’ än direkt påtvingas (hur man själv ställer sig till innehållet spelar naturligtvis också roll).

Ya’ll following my meaning? Alltså, till viss del anstränger jag mig ju för att låta som ett svin. Men även inte.