Another Voice of the System

Just as Fred Taylor spoke corporate capitalism’s words about work and its control, so did Google CEO Eric Schmidt voice the system’s deepest truth about privacy in the face of marketing:

That was in December of 2009.

Dig the usefulness of the “war on terror” and its subcomponents to the marketing juggernaut. Why does the privacy of commoners not exist to Google and its customers? It’s absolutely because privacy is anathema to the basic conduct of big business in our age of two-way communications. Privacy would end the overclass’s ability to gather data on our off-the-job behavior via new media, and thereby refine and extend their sales efforts. But, thanks to the Patriot Act, Schmidt can get away without mentioning this elementary fact, and pretend he’s just a patriot doing his lawful duty.

And, as Gawker rightly remarked at the time of Schmidt’s Taylorian utterance, consider also the radical uni-directionality of the relationship in question. Privacy is nothing, a mere remnant of earlier times to be eroded and strangled as quickly as people will allow, to those looking out from the corporate boardroom. What happens in the boardroom and in the lives of the primary beneficiaries of the system? Try telling them they have no privacy rights, and that all their affairs are open to public scrutiny…

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Marla SingerMichael DawsonMarla SingerHigh ArkaDouglas Pressman Recent comment authors

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High Arka
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Here Michael, this became a whole post.

It does, at least, offer a solution to your problem.

High Arka
Guest

…oh dear God.

Michael, you might appreciate the same veiled horror I felt at the way Mr. Cain artfully, cleverly, and rather brilliantly conflated marketing with Buddhism and inner peace in this article. He’s an example of the next form this is going to take: even more intelligent, even more falsely-humane, and even more difficult to dispel with rhetoric.

If you think making people understand why Superbowl ads are stupid is difficult, wait until a hundred years later, when Mr. Cain’s justifications are the standard hegemonic arguments.

Douglas Pressman
Guest

Given how, as time passes, there seems to be less and less separation of state and corporation, your attention in this post to the accelerating and total assault on privacy, in whatever guise, is spot on and welcome. They are well on the way to making ‘1984’ look comparatively benign.

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

But Michael, this is exactly the problem – the lack of “chances” to develop one’s capacities. When we are, literally since birth, the subject of relentless brainwashing (combined with unnecessary uncertainty, risks and deprivations for most people), the result is precisely the inability of people to develop their innate capacities – because the system so thoroughly ensures that they never get “the chance”. That is why the elites seem so confident. They may be delusional, but they also know that the system necessarily produces masses of increasingly degraded, lifeless, incapacitated humans who will not have “the chance” to understand their… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

I’ll check out the book, (and I don’t disagree in principle, but it is much easier to preach taking control of one’s life than to actually have one, when virtually all life-supporting systems are driven by assets and logic way, way, way beyond one’s milieu.)

In the meantime, here’s more encroachement on privacy from Facebook, as usual accompanied by a celebration of precious, infantile, middle class cattle:

High Arka
Guest

Michael, Buddhism can go either way, and as to western (or “modernized”) devotees, they’re probably more heavily oriented toward the negative way you described. The same could be said, of course, toward Christians who most loudly humble themselves before God. You’re right about “Superbowl ads,” although given purchasing patterns, it’s obvious that most people, while able to discuss “the issues” as to marketing, they’re not fully getting it in the sense that the ads continue working. Still, they are able to begin thinking about it. Even your average neoliberal humanities graduate student can analyze Superbowl ads. Once that more sophisticated… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

Zizek has a pretty decent quip on how easy it is for the systems to seamlessly absorb legitimate concerns

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yzcfsq1_bt8

It is fairly safe to say that to the extent some awareness exists, it causes a lot of energy to be expended in pointless endeavors.

The idea that capitalism as such is the source of most problems is just too much to swallow, and there is no obvious way forward.

Btw, how do you analyze ads (in a non-superficial way)? Values presented? Characters? Identification of urges/fears being stoked?

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

I think that the attraction of eastern mysticism in general has to do with being the most direct attempt to attain ‘unity with nature’. The problem is, we, the westerners cannot really understand what this really means, since we are fundamentally not capable to approach the world in a non-intellectual way and experience it directly, which is generally what the eastern religions strive for, and require a lot of discipline to accomplish. as with so many other things, an accurate diagnosis from Terry Pratchett ๐Ÿ™‚ “The path to wisdom does, in fact, begin with a single step. Where people go… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

I gather that what they mean by unity with nature is not in some sort of cheesy harmony of the lion grazing with the lamb variety, but rather harmony with – and ostensibly a direct experience of – the deepest levels of energy in the cosmos, i.e. whatever the most fundamental force underpines it all – ‘the absolute one-ness of the universe’ that transcends all categories of thought. The buddhists are adamant that the visible nature is just a manifestation of that. Such a goal is necessarily non-intellectual, since such a fundamental ‘essence’ could not possibly be described rationally since… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

As for analysis of advertising as a form of domination, it makes sense intuitively, but most people will have hard time buying it – it seems harder to document and demonstrate than other issues; please recommend sources that pursue this specific line…

(It is clear that most ads are based on flattery or threat, but it is really not clear to me why it works…)

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

Yeah, as soon as I wrote that, I went back to the TCT book which states the general principle very well, but doesn’t amass as much documentation and argument. But thinking about it now, the absence of “class” from most social science discussion is probably one of the best indications of how much it is wavering in the territory of ideology and pseudo-science: If the main function of science, among others, is to discover principles that unify complex phenomena that appear completely separate upon casual observation, then social sciences are failing miserably by avoiding the topics of how production and… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

“It is clear that most ads are based on flattery or threat, but it is really not clear to me why it worksโ€ฆ” Marla, from a business perspective, you know that most people ultimately want what you have already, and the ads are just a way of reminding them. Most Americans, given unlimited time and funds, would eventually buy a larger TV, but even once they have that time and those funds, getting them to get off the couch, get dressed, go to the store, find the right place, think about it, tell someone what they want, get it home,… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

This explain a particularly annoying form of web advertising that I personally fall for over and over again –> once you visit certain online shop and a particular product, all of a sudden image of, and link to, that specific product (say, a pair of shoes), begins to appear on virtually any other site I go (and just for the record, most don’t directly relate to shopping per se ๐Ÿ™ ). Anyhow. More times than I care to admit, what has happened is I see it and think – “Oh, i totally forgot about these shoes. I suppose i should… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

Heehee. ๐Ÿ™‚ That brings us full circle, back to Buddhism. The concept of being “free from desire” (much like the Christian concept of being “forgiven”) is, purely transmitted, not so much about never eating, never having sex, or about announcing those things pompously to everyone else, but about attaining an inner confidence that leaves one less vulnerable to manipulation, outward or inward. Consider a portion of Michael’s message about consumers: if it was condensed into a religion 2,000 years from now, errant people then might talk about how it was wrong to buy food, “because of what Dawson said.” They… Read more »

Marla Singer
Guest
Marla Singer

It’s no big deal, but like with all learning, it helps to have a system, and if so, why not appreciate a decent one, at least from a distance, rather than expend energy reinventing it? Moreover, what makes it such an obvious life truth? (Savage self-indulgence can make just as much sense as a ‘life truth’) Besides, you could ask the same type of question about virtually any reading in philosophy – for example, what’s the point of reading about, say, Socrates? Surely most people can realize that they “know nothing”? Also, we should not mistake the casual fans (or… Read more »

High Arka
Guest

One of the most positive aspects any human religion can have is a message of a gift intrinsic to life that can’t be taken away. This notion is not beloved of people who want to make you feel inadequate so they can sell you something, or who simply want to rule you. In almost all older religions, we see only traces of a lossless character in humanity, which have been scrubbed out by various elites over the years. Buddhism has managed to save more of the lossless stuff than others, ergo its greater visceral appeal to this one. The actual… Read more »