Some walls of the maze are real, but most exist only in our minds. We reproduce them in our daily interactions. With our friends - including those who want to escape. In our social environments. Through the media.
As if this would make the social walls less important, some people are repeatedly running against real walls, reassuring themselves of their existence. Others try to not even notice both kinds of walls, let alone break them down.
Where are the people who try to break down the imaginary walls?
It was as if they were in a cage whose door was wide open without their being able to escape. Nothing outside the cage had any importance, because nothing else existed any more. They stayed in the cage, estranged from everything except the cage, without even a flicker of desire for anything outside the bars.
Raoul Vaneigem, The revolution of everyday life
Even if we would have understood the walls in our own vicinities, we
would not be able to fit together our local maps of the maze into an
overall map, because we cannot talk to those behind the walls about
these very walls, although we seem to be able to talk about anything and have modern communcation technology at our disposal: we speak different languages.
We need to have a technical knowledge of the organization of this world at our disposal; [...]
In order to escape from the maze we need a deep understanding of its structures. Some political groups try to make us think that this is easy. It is not. On the other hand it is not unfeasible (contrary to what postmodern self-fulfilling prophecies claim).
- The maze is this "culture", i.e., the patterns of human activity and the driving forces behind them.
- Some walls are real (e.g., natural laws), but most have been put into our imagination. - How?
- Society basically is an illusion. Our social environments and the media create narratives and images confusing us. We believe in their reality, because we seem to have no other choice, if we want to participate. This confines our thoughts and dreams to within the maze.
- In particular, economics is a religion, which pretends to be a science and appears to be inescapable.
- We can only escape with a coherent vision. Without a vision the plurality of possible ways causes confusion.
- We can only escape with joint forces. We need to both think and act together, coherently. It is not enough to think coherently. And it is not enough to act coherently.
- As soon as we participate in public discourse or any other feedback loop, we are trapped.
- Freedom on the micro-level is a prerequisite for optimal regulation on the macro-level. The puzzle we have to solve is how to use our freedom while evading regulation. Feeling powerless and oppressed is a too simple answer.
- Luxemburg's "Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters" has been absorbed: Within the maze we are free to choose any path we want, including that of radical opposition. - Real freedom is mostly unspeakable - it's beyond the maze.
Current "Western democracies" are organized as distributed control systems, where discourses (produced on various levels) provide signalling between various individuals (idealized as citizens) and institutions, and where the discourse system and the quantifying money system are the main controlling instances.
There is no longer any outside from which to distinguish between life and the production of value. Death is in its element. It is young, dynamic, and it smiles at you.
The money system is organized in such a way that it apparently is inescapable: Without taking part you cannot survive. Even if you don't submit fully and dedicate all your time to profit-making, you have been brainwashed enough to not be able to conceive of anything else than the money system - at least as long as you don't practice a moneyless culture that opens the perspective of a completely moneyless organization of life.
The discourse system creates no visible
pressure to participate. It is founded on the culturally deep-seated
habit of paying attention to what already has attracted the attention of
others. The wish to be able to participate in a discourse unfolds the
viral power of information in a way that enhances regulation.
Since "1968" most forms of visible resistance have been transformed into offers to improve the system. Politics as the practice of creating imaginary contexts (narratives) for selected sets of facts has become a tool for improvement rather than change.
[...] But governing is a quite specific way of exercising power. To govern is not to impose a discipline on a body, it is not to compel respect for the Law in a territory [...]. A king reigns. A general commands. A judge judges. Governing is something different. It is managing the behaviors of a population, a multiplicity that one must watch over like a shepherd his flock in order to maximize its potential and guide its freedom. So this means taking into account and shaping its desires, its ways of doing and thinking, its habits, its fears, its dispositions, its milieu. It means deploying a whole ensemble of tactics, of discursive, material, and policing tactics, paying close attention to the people’s emotions, with their mysterious oscillations; it is acting to prevent rioting and sedition, based on a constant sensitivity to the affective and political climate. Acting upon the milieu and continually modifying the variables of the latter, acting on some to influence the behavior of the others, to keep control of the flock. In short, it means waging a war that’s never called one and doesn’t look like one, in almost every sphere of human existence. A war of influence—subtle, psychological, indirect. [...] Democracy is the truth of all the forms of government. The identity of the governing and the governed is the limit where the flock becomes a collective shepherd and the shepherd dissolves into his flock, where freedom coincides with obedience, the population with the sovereign. [...] In the era of networks, governing means ensuring the interconnection of people, objects, and machines as well as the free - i.e., transparent and controllable—circulation of information that is generated in this manner.
Invisible committee, "To our friends"
TheoryTheory is necessary if we want to recognize the patterns of control. It has to be connected with our common practice, or we will be talking about different worlds. Theory can however not only be used for emancipation, but also for thought control. The latter is the opposite of brainwashing: brain filling, i.e., images are implanted into our minds and unknowingly generate our understanding of reality. This creates many of the invisible walls which control us.
We are not only consuming theories, but also cannot help creating theories and imaginations (in order to reduce complexity); thereby we control ourselves. In order to control us it then suffices to control our theories (thoughts, images, desires).
Aufbegehren kann kein Bild sein in einer Wirklichkeit, in der alle Horizonte mit Bildern verklebt sind.
The functional pattern
Societies are structured as networks and hierarchies of units. Most often the units are reduced to their function: From outside they appear as black boxes and only their performance counts. This reduction to a functional interface (similar to a programming interface where you call functions) appears between organizations (each "organ" providing a function for the "body" of society), most importantly companies, but also between individuals. Even "friends" (with the exception of very close friends), apply this reduction: "I don't want to know the deep reasons for your behaviour, tell them to your intimate friends or partners; I just want to rely on what you said."