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<nettime> Amiri Kudura Barksdale: Paranoia
Pit Schultz on Fri, 30 Apr 1999 11:46:10 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Amiri Kudura Barksdale: Paranoia


[from ctheory, the grand dame of all discourse driven maillinglists..
i thought it's relevant here, just saw the movie "PI" and before "23"... 
those phenomena of viral mass psychology need besides an enemy, a minimal
kernel of info to reproduce themselves. propaganda and media war is not
just about gaining influence but spreading influencia. numerology, as
with the Y2K movement functions perfectly in generating such an epidemic
central signifier on the level of scheduling. but it also needs the
urge for a homognization of heterogenity to enter the politics of
paranoia. what do do against it? ... keeping the faith. /pit]

 Paranoia
 ========

 ~Amiri Kudura Barksdale~

 Paranoia is the overstrain of the mind in its synthetic capacity.
 Synthesis has been convicted of untrustworthiness in the court of the
 dominant natural science; it's shaky when pressed into what is
 accused of being speculation. What paranoia as the most common
 symptom of contemporary everyday life expresses is the tendency of
 the nervous and quivering apperceptive apparatus to leap too quickly
 into "intelligible worlds"; the numinous indeterminacy wherein
 nothing even can be what it seems because the object is always hiding
 in itself. Synthesis is out of practice. It doesn't get enough
 exercise, and, in its autonomy as a part of the independent
 transcendental structure of human consciousness - our within itself,
 now called the unconscious - is always searching for the chance to
 work out its atrophic kinks: Some stray bit of unprocessed material;
 any nonhomogenized datum will do. In ~The Arrival~, an ordinary movie
 wherein the main character is alleged to have been paranoid before he
 discovered the government's coverup of alien activity, i.e., before
 the government itself was taken over by aliens, the main character
 gives in to paranoia a bit too easily, has too-refined a skill at
 determining the real when on his own in the world of appearance,
 especially considering that he is a natural scientist, a person
 required to have an overdeveloped analytic capacity. (Synthesis is
 required of us today by ideology alone, which processes the raw data
 of experience before we line-assemble the Taylorized parts, some of
 which data escape unmutilated into the intellectual combines of
 individual theorists and paranoiacs, the infrequency of this
 through-the-crack-slipping being what has left both types of mind
 starvin' like marvin for the slightest bit of independent production:
 The monopoly power of the ideological manufacture is what produces
 this fly-by-night entrepreneurship of the mind and is the overlooked
 object of the false consciousness resulting.) But this character's
 uncanny independence could just be an accident. Given that he tends
 toward paranoia already, the suspicion that there is more going on
 than is apparent, which lurks to a greater or lesser degree in all of
 us, both consciously and un-, does not take much to excite; the
 confirmation of this suspicion is quite uncomfortable. Human beings
 are social animals. We live in families, we intend to make ourselves
 happy with other members of our species. One ancient name for the
 other, homo, the most faithful descendant being l'homme, is far from
 serendipitous. The film's too-easy metaphor allows it to gloss over
 the real source of the paranoia of the protagonist (the movie puts
 lost jobs and greenhouse-gas emissions off on aliens) and does itself
 injustice by allowing him to "see for himself" too quickly: We are
 not comfortable with members of our own species. They may as well be
 aliens. Homo is hetero. The protocynical thought that we hurt one
 another in looking for love is painful enough. The amplification of
 this into the hyperesthetic notion that people hurt us even when we
 choose to remain alone is almost too much to bear. The repeated
 confirmation that some are out to destroy us for no good reason is
 always too much to bear. This alone suffices to explain the pathetic
 death of Huey Newton, and the death wishes of Martin Luther King, Jr.
 and Malcolm X, who was also pathologically stoic. The suspicious
 intuition strengthens us for the opposition, but it also destroys us.
 It crushes us spiritually, emotionally, and most often, in the
 largest numbers, physically, in the form of drug addiction and bodily
 neglect, to know that we will be targeted, attacked, and killed. It
 is almost as if the individual human organism, when faced with a
 genuine paranoiac condition, a real conspiracy, is wired to
 malfunction. Whether the malfunction comes in the form of psychosis,
 outward-lashing violence, inability to believe it, or simple
 stock-still standing of a deer-in-the-headlights quality, it will
 come. It is one thing to resist homogenization. It is another to be
 accosted by the full weight of heterogeneity. But the tidal wave is
 molecular; the motion of atomic individuals is Brownian, the zenith
 of difference, the apex of identity, the microscale at which they are
 the same; unique flotsam bubbles equally indifferently cast about.

 _____________________________________________________________________
 Amiri Kudura Barksdale lives in New York City and works at
 _The Nation_.
 _____________________________________________________________________

 * CTHEORY is an international journal of theory, technology
 *   and culture. Articles, interviews, and key book reviews
 *   in contemporary discourse are published weekly as well as
 *   theorisations of major "event-scenes" in the mediascape.
 *
 * Editors: Arthur and Marilouise Kroker
 *
 <...>

original header:

--- HIER BEGINNT DIE WEITERGELEITETE NACHRICHT ------------------------------
    Von: ctech {AT} alcor.concordia.ca (CTHEORY EDITORS)
  Datum: 20.04.99, 11:53:08
Betreff: Event-scene 79-Paranoia

 _____________________________________________________________________
 CTHEORY          THEORY, TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE        VOL 22, NO 1-2

 Event-scene 79   99/04/20       Editors: Arthur and Marilouise Kroker
 _____________________________________________________________________

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