John Hopkins on Tue, 30 Nov 2010 16:17:40 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> the fluidity of leaking

Hei Michael -- I'll just riff on what you stated...

> John, you assume the system needs secrets, and to some extent the
> system assumes so too.

What if wikileaks leaked all privileged information, globally? What
would the the affect? How would nations and individuals deal (or not
deal) with the flow?

I think the integrity of the nation-state (defined in its own mind)
is to have as part of its structure different sets of protocols to
allow for coherent flows of energy/power/control between different
sets of actors. By the nature of those energy-carrying protocols, the
flows of power are not 'understood' nor directed to all or everywhere.
If they were, the structural integrity of the techno-social entity
is compromised (as structure arises as a direct result of the
formation of refined/defined flows of power). Of course, there are
protocol-driven flows which can move from individual to individual
-- these are usually sanctioned by the control system or at least
are tacitly allowed as being harmless to the gross structure of the
system. But I am of the opinion that if all was open there would be no
coherent state or social entity...

This does not presume that secrecy is necessary nor sufficient per
se for the existence of a state. Secrecy arises in the formation of
privileged flows of power as defined by protocol: (I can't understand
what They are saying, They are speaking mumbo-jumbo, therefore They
have created secrets that I cannot understand).

(And I think a totally open 'system' -- even this is somewhat a
contradiction of terms -- is a theoretical thought experiment, to be
sure, unless you can provide an example (historical or otherwise) of
a coherent social entity existing in juxtaposition with other social
entities where there are no controls on the flows of power.)

Does not harm to theorize such an entity, but unless there is a much
more attainable model for evolving such a system from where we are
and with the usual array of 'tools' deployed by humans in social
relation, I can't see that it would be anything other than a nice

Even if there was 'full disclosure' what would it do? Every system
participant is privy to every utterance and revelation of every other
participant? I think the leak of 250K docs begs the question, who
will read and coherently analyze such a dataset? If they do, they
forfeit whatever life they they were engaged with to the service of
policing the State, although even that function is moot, as analysis
and mere consumption of 'State secrets' is a null process when the
State persists. Sure, breaking the code of protocol destabilizes the
power relation of certain constellations of power in the system. But
if I knew everything that every individual around me did, said, or
thought, I would either go mad, retreat to the desert, or happily wait
for the State to effing stick it to the buggers...

Revelation is a revealing of phenomena as they are. Confucian thought
doesn't need the details of state processes to know how a state


John Hopkins, Researcher
University of Technology Sydney
FASS - Centre for Media Arts Innovation
AU Mobile - +61 (0)40 696 4610

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