Konrad Becker on Sun, 3 Nov 2002 15:43:02 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> 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

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 warfare.

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 management.

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 technology.

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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