The Coming Neurosociety: Control, Brain, And Revolt

“It’s as if technology is already living in that future and is seeking to bring us into its ubiquitous gaze to better control and shape our desires toward its own goals, not ours. Zizek mentions Lacan’s notion of ‘traversing the fantasy’ in the context of Heidegger’s concept of Gestell (“enframing”), which for Heidegger encompasses the ‘essence of technology’. Zizek will tell us that when Heidegger speaks about the ‘essence of technology,’ he has in mind something like the frame of a fundamental fantasy which , as a transparent background, structures the way we relate to reality. Gestell, Heidegger’s word for the essence of technology, is usually translated into English as ‘enframing’. At its most radical, technology does not designate a complex network of machines and activities, but the attitude towards reality which we assume when we are engaged in such activities: technology is the way reality discloses itself to us in contemporary times. The paradox of technology as the concluding moment of Western metaphysics is that it is a mode of enframing which poses a danger to enframing itself: the human being reduced to an object of technological manipulation is no longer properly human; it loses the very feature of being ecstatically open to reality. However , this danger also contains the potential for salvation: the moment we become aware and fully assume the fact that technology itself is, in its essence, a mode of enframing, we overcome it – this is Heidegger’s version of traversing the fantasy.”

“In our age when the powers that control us seek to use neurotechnologies of both ubiquitous computing and augmentation to shape our desires and private lives how can we become aware of their dark enframing, thereby overcome it? Zizek says we need to traverse the fantasy of our social desires, seek out the gaps and discrepancies, the disjunctions and wounds that bind us to such dark worlds. Most of all it is to awaken from our dark dream of the future and exist in the moment to moment wounds of our lives, accept the fragility and openness of our existence toward that impossible future we are already living in.” ~ S.C. Hickman

southern nights

Slavoj Zizek mentions Ahmed El Hady’s article on Big Think:  Neurotechnology, Social Control and Revolution in his short work Event: A Philosophical Journey Through A Concept in which DARPA at the behest of the U.S. Government is carrying on a well-funded R&D project based on three strands: narrative analysis; augmented cognition (along the lines of the Iron Man project, etc., to create soldiers with enhanced cognitive capacities); and autonomous robots (aiming to convert a large fraction of the military into a robotic one, which is easier to control , will decrease the economic burden of having military personnel, and will reduce losses in terms of soldiers’ lives).1

The first project Hady describes it DARPA’s narrative networks project seeks to detect potential security threats and to protect vulnerable people from being recruited by terrorists through analysis of people narratives in the context of national security. Yet, the obverse potential of…

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