Life as Art
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Life as Art

Nomads in Dystopia 3

Techno-Capital and the Control Society

Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

The Axiom of Capital

The axiom of capital does not facilitate enclosure and discipline, but instead operates via ubiquitous control, and inescapable distraction, creating an order that infiltrates chaos and creativity and snuffs it out; and in so doing delivers a society preoccupied with pain and pleasure, meted out in monetary terms.

Capital knows only a progress of growth, contiguous with an inexhaustible consumptive force that dominates the planet; capitalism aligns itself with technological progress and man over nature.

And so, capital finds alignment with technology, progress in terms of man’s ability to manipulate his environment; creative in one breath, suffocating in the next.

Techno-Capital

The axiomatic nature of capital, and the technological progress that is confluent with it, facilitates the evolution of the control society.

The control society is a natural step creating alignment between the techno-capital axiom and citizen behavior, whether by force, reward or distraction.

Techno-capital creates an economic, political and social order that invades all aspects of life 24/7, shattering the distinction between private and public.

The Narrative of Information and Capital

Information, the primary product of technology, becomes coterminous with capital, and life and nature are subordinated to both.

The state itself fragments and is dominated by information and capital, which inform a new transcendent truth: all is good that supports global capital and informational / technological progress.

Together they become a new grand narrative controlling the state, which in turn enforces and polices the maintenance of its power structures.

Technological Progress and Global Capital as Irresistible

Life is modulated by the control society.

The subject is not de-centered as a means to enhance critical freedom and experimentation, but instead crushed and rendered incapable of transformation.

All active life force is separated from itself, and human beings are left with the prospect of selecting predetermined options, or ways of participating in the control society, like contestants on a game show; or faced with obliteration if any attempt is made to resist it altogether.

Desire as Lack

It is in this context that Deleuze’s concept of control society arises:

Instantaneous and omnipresent control; control not limited to the boot, but also control via the carrot; manipulation of behavior via the levers of pain and pleasure.

Communication not only polices the techno-capital state, it entices via public relations, marketing and advertising, hypnotizing citizens into a desire-as-lack craving for greater consumption of what capitalism / technology produces.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks for reading!

Tomas

Please join my email list here or email me at tomas@tomasbyrne.com.

Excerpt from my forthcoming book, Becoming: A Life of Pure Difference (Gilles Deleuze and the Philosophy of the New) Copyright © 2021 by Tomas Byrne. Learn more here.

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Tomas Byrne

Tomas Byrne

Jagged Tracks Music, Process Philosophy, Progressive Ethics, Transformative Political Theory, Informed Thrillers, XLawyer tomas@tomasbyrne.com