PROSCENIUM ANGST

theatre3x

Think of Post-Modernism, I know it makes you angry but try, please.

Think of it as the epoch in which we now are fully embedded, one which began in the 60’s, as an off-the-wall philosophy but evolved to an omnipresent “it is what it is” today. The image above—ironically a very old school modernist one—is of a theater scene showing a play within a play, a concept which is proto-PoMo by its being its overtly self-conscious. And deconstructed to boot, it is by the fact that the set is turned around so it reveals the backsides of the artists at their craft.

Look at those artists, those decidedly PoMo artists whose practiced and insincere “empathetic” gestures—the puppets hold hands and smile—are further betrayed by the Verfremdungseffekt (estrangement effect) of their structure; the post-human in a female costume operates the male puppet and the pre-human in the male costume operates the female one.

Have you ever observed something deconstructed or have you only read about the process in the abstract? Philosophers seem try to show the mechanism disassembled doesn’t work so, therefore, the assembled one can’t either. That makes no sense to me.

PoMo-nsters thereby attempt to disassemble the self, the cogito; those foundational points of view that we all take though life as articles of faith. The witty but cruel philosophers want to makes us mere nouns (sentenced to life?) and nothing more, subjects by accident of place and time. For in their clever games our roles in life are played as verbs and are as ephemeral. Take “parent-ing,” it’s behind the scene and in our face in turn; or “employee-ing,” 9-5, M-F now, but for how long? Even “lover-ing” for an hour or two, if we are lucky.

And when we are not in a metaphorical sentence we are still a complex of parts. Our roles change in many time scales from the evolutionary to the cultural. Even on personal time lines nothing stays the same for long; we “evolve” from child to parent over decades and any of us can go from breadwinner to homeless with a toss of a fiscal quarter.

So why the robots and reptiles instead of real humans?

Humanity, IMHO, is the selected-for successful balance of ambition and altruism. Humans are creatures of both nature and culture. And the balance of ambition and altruism in each mode seems to be working well enough to keep us from self-destruction. So far, anyway. But things are changing and not for the good. The foundational problem at the bottom of all the others is a second mind-body problem; not how the two are connected but that they are becoming disconnected.

Artificial intelligence began with the creation of gods, which are, for all practical purposes, artificial intelligences which were, and continue to be, sold to the masses by the priestly caste as a an comforting and frightful in turn explanation of the how and why of it all. When, really, the gods were invented as a means of control and abuse by the all-too-human priests. But as other more effective options for control and abuse became available, gods were for the most part retired, becoming nothing more than pictures on institutional walls.

A second form of A.I. was then invented. It is called the corporation and this one was much more dangerous than the gods. The gods were modeled after whole people, both benevolent and vengeful. Corporations are modeled after reptiles, possessing neither of the above. Reptiles live by unconsciously doing the four Fs—feed, flee, fight and have sex—where everything they sense is simply reacted to. Corporations, likewise, “consider” workers and customers as well as stockholders, nations and the environment, mere means to ends, which are simply increasing profits. What’s worse is that the people who run corporations have devolved into reptiles themselves. They consider the corporation a means to increasing personal wealth. Fiduciary duty be dammed.

Corporations have turned our 18th century enlightenment-era human-based oligarchy into a 21st century postmodern reptilian one. That is shown above by the lizard in the suit. The robot in the cocktail dress represents a third A.I. Think “Siri” or “Her,” a friendly UX, a faux-mammalian shell on an infinitely programmable network. And who–or what–do you think is sponsoring that program? If you guessed the above mentioned “Reptiles-R-Us , Inc.” you are sadly correct.

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