Konrad Becker on Sat, 2 Nov 2002 17:28:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Tactical Reality and Cultural Intelligence

[introduction to the cultural intelligence manual "Tactical Reality
Dictionary" ---> http://www.autonomedia.org/tacticalreality/  -  K]





"What is this?" Samuel Morse

Culture and Technologies of Control 

Culture is not just the expression of individual interests and
orientations, manifested in groups according to rules and habits but it
offers identification with a system of values. The construction of
cultural memory and establishing a symbolic order through setting up
mental and ideological spaces is a traditional practice of cultural
engineering; symbolic scenarios generate reality by mediating an
implicit political narrative and logic. Maps of the world radiating an
aura of objectivity and marking out the ways of life are exploited as
cognitive tools. An image of the world as simulation or map of reality
can be highly inductive and that explains the investment in cultural
representation. From historiography to education, perception is
influenced by mental scenarios that establish the symbolic order.
According to Edward Bernays, a pioneer of modern public relations, the
only difference between education and propaganda is the point of view.
"The advocacy of what we believe in is education. The advocacy of what
we don't believe is propaganda." The development in electronic
communication and digital media allows for a global telepresence of
values and behavioral norms and provides increasing possibilities of
controlling public opinion by accelerating the flow of persuasive
communication. Information is increasingly indistinguishable from
propaganda, defined as "the manipulation of symbols as a means of
influencing attitudes". Whoever controls the metaphors controls thought.

The ubiquitous flow of information is too fast to absorb and creating
value in the economy of attention includes the artful use of directing
perception to a certain area, to put some aspects in the spotlight in
order to leave others in the dark. The increasing focus of attention on
the spectacle makes everything disappear that is not within the
predefined event horizon. Infosphere manipulation is also implemented
through profound penetration of the communications landscape by agents
of influence. Large scale operations to manage public opinion, to evoke
psychological guiding motivations and to engineer consent or influence
policy making have not been exclusive to the 20th century. Evidence of
fictitious cultural reconstruction is abundant in the Middle Ages;
recent findings on the magnitude of forgeries, the large scale faking of
genealogies, official documents and codices attracted broad attention
and media interest. In 12th century Europe in particular, pseudo
historical documents were widely employed as tools of political
legitimacy and psychological manipulation. According to some
conservative estimates, the majority of all documents of this period
were fictitious. With hindsight, whole empires could turn out to be
products of cultural engineering. Moreover, writers such as Martin
Bernal, author of "The Fabrication of Ancient Greece", have clearly
demonstrated to what extent cultural propaganda and historical
disinformation is contained in the work of European scholars. On the
basis of racist ideas and a hidden political agenda historic scenarios
were fabricated and cultural trajectories distorted in order to support
the ideological hegemony of certain European elites. 

The increasing informatization of society and economy is also the source
of a growing relevance of culture, the cultural software in the
psycho-political structure of influence. During the so-called cold war,
too, issues of cultural hegemony were of importance. In publications
such as "The Cultural Cold War" and "How America stole the Avant-garde"
Frances Stonor Saunders and Serge Guilbaud offer a behind-the-scenes
view of the cultural propaganda machine and provide a sense of the
extravagance with which this mission was carried out. Interestingly
there were specifically efforts to support progressive and liberal
positions as bridge head against the "communist threat". If one chooses
to believe some contemporary investigative historical analyses, it seems
that there was hardly a major western progressive cultural magazine in
the Fifties and Sixties that would not have been founded or supported by
a cover organization of intelligence services or infiltrated by such
agencies. In the light of this, the claim made by Cuba at the UNESCO
world conference in Havana 1998, according to which culture is the
"weapon of the 21st century" does not seem unfounded. 

Information Peacekeeping has been described as the "purest form of war"
in the extensive military literature on information war. From cold war
to code war, the construction of myths, with the intention of
harmonizing subjective experience of the environment, is used for
integration and motivation in conflict management. While "intelligence"
is often characterized as the virtual substitute of violence in the
information society, Information Peacekeeping, the control of the
psycho-cultural parameters through the subliminal power of definition in
intermediation and interpretation is considered the most modern form of

Disinformation Society

It is a boom time for intelligence agencies, not only state but private
intelligence. Mass-surveillance, dataveillance, and information
processing has grown into a major intelligence industry. While state
intelligence is protected by secrecy in the interest of national
security, prohibitive fees and large payments affordable by corporations
only, guard access to economic intelligence. 

Corporations, consumers of economic intelligence, routinely advance the
merging of editorial information with corporate public relations in the
media. The agenda of privately accumulated capital is further supported
by a multitude of think-tanks which publish ideologically biased
research and hidden agendas masked as independent academic work. Unlike
the billion-dollar brainware industry put into place by corporate
interest, there are no Future Heritage foundations of cultural
intelligence, no foresight institutes exploring the multidimensional
potential of human experimental communication beyond the role as
consumers. It seems as if the control of societal development is in the
hands of technocratic elites, ill informed bureaucrats and a shady but
aggressive lobbyism. The layout for the future of communication is
decided behind closed doors.

Technologically determined environments increasingly shape society but
the democratic participatory potential is more and more excluded from a
public debate. Most of the early hopes of emancipatory practice in a
society based on information exchange seem to have vanished and turned
into gloom. Instead the potential of information and communication
technologies for political control and repression seemingly has no
boundaries, as its practical applications become more "normal" and
manifest reality every day. The use of information technology for the
deterrence of civilian dissent opens up a new dimension of political and
cultural control. 

By the year 2002, high resolution privacy intrusion is getting into the
mainstream big time. Although 9-11 caused a landslide, this development
has built up momentum for some years. The European Union's cross border
communication interception project Enfopol, and the UK's Regulation of
Investigative Powers (RIP) bill, which allows the police to intercept
any communication using the "public communications system" were among
the earlier legal frameworks paving the way for the rise of the total
surveillance society. Despite being taken up by the European Parliament
in1998, the Echelon communications interception system set up in1948
remains one of the secrets of western intelligence agencies and out of
the reach of democratic accountability. Increasing proliferation of
technologies of surveillance and control is not only useful for its
potential to contain segments of society that fail to be integrated into
the economy of machinic symbol manipulation but the long-term effects of
social homogenization through the command/control structure of
technology are also highly desirable for globalized markets and opinion

Future Culture

The situation is getting even more precarious due to the fact that new
media are ever more dominated by a dramatic concentration of private
interest capital and the absence of the protection of the public
interest by political representatives for a society at large. The public
sphere can best be developed independently from the state and from
dominant business interests. The logic of the control over the media
market is strongly opposed to the cultivation and formation of a public
sphere, and the dysfunctionality of media markets generates a crucial
deficiency of participatory media culture. A society shaped by
technological systems and digital communication should keep a
perspective where cultural freedom can be actively pursued and in which
use and value are not exclusively determined by profits.
Therefore it seems necessary to widen the basis of understanding to
support a broad discussion on the political implications of ICT and to
raise awareness on issues of conflict. Developments that need to be
monitored with great awareness include the attack on privacy and the
databody, the digital divide, net.slaves and the deterioration of the
workplace, the vanishing of a public sphere in the digital realm, the
extension of copyright benefiting the content industry and IP lobby
against the public interest but also the establishment of one-sided
technological standards, the militarization of cyberspace and new
possibilities of disinformation.

Against this less then reassuring background there is a surprising
multitude of examples of emancipatory use of ICT to be found all over
the world and it has become undeniably an essential tool for political,
cultural and human rights activists. These groups and individuals are
the ones that keep the spirit of the social use of communication
networks alive and give an example of empowerment through new

Tactical Reality Dictionary:
Ambiguous Information, 
Attentive Relevance, 
Behavior Patterns, 
Belief Networks, 
Coercive Continuum, 
Cognitive Framing, 
Consistent Illusions, 
Control Stratagems, 
Corporate Intelligence, 
Critical Hedonism, 
Cultural Counterintelligence, 
Cultural Intelligence, 
Cybercratic Conspiracy Command Control Intelligence (C4I), 
Deceptive Communication, 
Deceptive Intelligence, 
Decognition Training, 
Digital Ecology, 
Digital Human Rights, 
Dimensional Framing, 
Dream Nation, 
Electric Emotions, 
Embedded Commands, 
Expanded e~scapism, 
Expert Systems, 
Explanation Driving, 
Fluffy Logic, 
Future Heritage, 
Hyper Politics, 
Hyper Topology,
Induction Codes, 
Infobody Attack, 
Infobody Biofeedback Modulation, 
Intelligent Pandemonium, 
Invisible Intelligence, 
Knowledge Representations, 
Leviathan Supersystems, 
Magnetic Somnambulism, 
Mac Believe, 
Manipulation Patterns, 
Meme Slaves, 
Memory Construction, 
Memory States, 
Mesmerized Data, 
Microwave Discommunication, 
Mind Modification, 
Mind Patterns, 
Nested Images, 
Non-Lethal Action, 
Pattern Detection, 
Pattern Recognition, 
Perception Management, 
Perceptive Expectations, 
Persuasive Influence, 
Persuasive Internalization, Propaganda Propulsion Project, Psychotronic
Reality Engineering,
Senso-Linguistic Infiltration Programs, 
Social Styling, 
Spell Checking, 
State Control, 
Structural Delusion, 
Symbolic Order, 
Synchronous Isopraxis, 
Synthetic Cults, 
Synthetic Worlds, 
Tactical Truth, 
Tactical Synrealism, 
Telepresent Contagious Postures, 
Vast Active Living Intelligence System, 
Virtual Patrol, 
WhoIsWho Anonymous,

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