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It's all fake news and false flags
"All possible brain work should be removed from the shop and concentrated in the planning or laying out department."
Reality can be thought of in terms of herd immunity. There is a necessary density for it to hold together—where this fails, things quickly fall apart. How has This World failed to collapse given the development of civilisational schizophrenia? Simple: none of your political beliefs matter—in fact, none of your beliefs matter in themselves. They only ever exist, of course, as realised in activity.
Politics today mostly entails the performance of identity, whether virtually or in terms of consumption, boycotting, voting, protesting, etc. Of course, this can really go quite far; at times the performance of an identity may entail everything up to and including violence—take the Taliban, for instance. The difference in our politics is that we are confronted by a rigid structure of social control.
Morality and law operate together to maintain the structure of social reality. Most of the work is done by morality, while law operates primarily in extreme cases and against collectives. Law still depends on morality, moreover, in that the legal system is blind without the collaboration of moralising informants: events are rendered salient because they are first perceived as incongruent—i.e., wrong.1
The state guarantees the activity of society; it does so primarily in establishing the law of land, within which all conduct is carried out. This cannot easily create activity, but it can prevent it. Policy is a blunt instrument which operates mainly by structuring existing behaviour. What matters is the underlying activity, out of which policy can proceed only by a dialectic opposed as its own other.
Here we might take up the image of land and sea. When on solid ground, one walks as supported by physical reality; at sea we have no such structure. What is true of the geosphere, moreover, is also true of the biosphere.2 The life process of a society can also be conceived of in terms of land and sea. Land here is nomos as fundament of all social order; and sea, the chaos which looms beyond the line.
There is further, beyond the biosphere, also the noosphere. Political technique concerns the interplay between the two. All depends foremost on the biosphere, for life is a prerequisite of thought; and within this also, life is in turn dependent on the basic conditions of the geosphere. There must be land all the way up if This World is to function smoothly. Political technique entails engineering the reverse movement: from noosphere to biosphere and geosphere.3
Propaganda is trickier than it first seems, at least if movement is desired; most of the time, however, the press simply serve to obfuscate and confuse. This is the primary purpose of all media: distraction, entertainment. For movement, in contrast, a second stage is required: first, an incongruence is presented—i.e., something ‘wrong’—so as to inflame conflict; second, an open possibility of action is presented as ‘right.’
The false flag is the purest technique here. While most such events are more organic, all aspire equally for the presentation of a specific image: propaganda of the deed. Fear derives energy from the existential anxiety thereby induced. This creates pressure, as is also created by accidents, but the trick is in channeling this pressure into activity; it is more or less this same move which lies behind corporate advertising and political marketing.4
Now, the point is that propaganda is thus less about the information as the provision of action channels. Most of the time all exists in the nebuluous forms of disembodied sight; it is by highlighting and directing aspects that all political technique operates. This can be seen in Marxism, for instance, which operates by rendering as incongruent the relations between workers and employers—whereby it derives its energy.
Most importantly, Marxism offers a coherent and readily communicable doctrine which provides for the realisation of this energy; it is a politics of the book.5 The same basic tactic can be used, for instance, to corral individuals with low self-esteem into buying beauty products or lifting weights. There is created an incongruence to which is then sold a solution. None of this is necessarily negative, though it may well be; that is another question entirely. My point is only that these are instances of Technique:
In this office every laborer’s work was planned out well in advance, and the workmen were all moved from place to place by clerks with elaborate diagrams or maps of the yard before them, very much as chessmen are on a chess-board, a telephone and messenger system having been installed for this purpose.6
It must be further be seen as right to communicate this perception to the central structure; that it is often not so is the reason for much difficulty in the war on drugs, etc.
These categories are inseparable, indeed, it is perhaps only the noosphere—of thought, ideality, etc.—which renders the biosphere meaningfully separate from the geosphere. The difference otherwise, as described by Descartes, might well be a mere matter of degree in the complexity of nature’s functioning as automata or mechanical clock. This need not be decided in the case of animals; humans are separated de facto by virtue of our internal perspective. Yet our bodies (as biosphere) are doubly significant for their physical reality and the peculiarly human life process by which they operate as vehicles for activity emanating from the noosphere.
Typically an effect on the geosphere is necessarily routed through the biosphere, with autonomous weapons being a notable exception—wherein the noosphere is embodied in the geosphere (taken to mean physical reality) and operates here on an internal loop. Most of the time, however, movement in the noosphere acts upon or through the biosphere.
The success of these techniques depends on knowledge of the laws which govern human behaviour—per Taylor in Scientific Management (p. 119): “laws of this kind, which apply to a large majority of men, unquestionably exist, and when clearly defined are of great value as a guide in dealing with men.”
This not to be taken as an endorsement of this or any such book, always inferior compared to practical knowledge; indeed, always operates through this conduit. As per Oakeshott’s criticism in Rationalism in Politics (p. 27): “like jumped-up kitchen porters deputising for an absent cook, their knowledge does not extend beyond the written word which they read mechanically—it generates ideas in their heads but no tastes in their mouths.” Here the reference to ‘reading mechanically’ ought be taken in light of Burke’s emphasis on taste and the moral imagination: it is the impoverishment of these faculities which limits the politics of the book; yet at the same time, one with such capacities—as when knowledge is passed down by apprenticeship inter-generationally—would hardly have need of a book. This is perhaps less true today; or rather, that the speed of technical progress entails a constant movement of the political milieu which can be kept up with only by book-learning.
Taylor, Scientific Management, p. 69.