The Invention of Reality
In technocratic societies, discourses are characterized by increasing dehumanization.
By Konrad Grüttner
[This article published on 4/24/2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, Die Erfindung der Realität | Rubikon.news.]
People in Western democracies live in increasingly divided societies. This development can no longer be overlooked in the wake of the Corona crisis. So far, there is no antidote in sight. But while strictly differentiated opinion camps have formed and the respective filter bubbles only fertilize themselves incestuously, hardly anyone is turning their attention to how successful communication could become possible again. There is also little investigation of how the failure of communicative togetherness could occur. The following essay explores these questions. It focuses on a form of society that is becoming established and which, unnoticed by the public, is eroding our democracy at an increasing rate.
The scientific construction of reality - Where is the human being?
The Corona crisis is accelerating the transformation of Western democracies into technocratically organized societies. A characteristic of the technocratic society is the reduction of the concept of reality to the dictum of facticity. The permanent process of constituting social reality, which is carried to a not inconsiderable degree by communication about subjective perceptions of the world - determined by the culturally mediated framework of discourse - experiences a devaluation of the individual in favor of the supposedly functional through the dictum of facticity.
In the technocratic society, it is no longer his intuitive grasp of the environment that legitimizes the individual to participate in the reality-forming discourse, but his knowledge of what has been scientifically verified and measurably declared as irrefutable fact as reality.
Man experiences this delegitimization of his intuitive access to the world as an agonizing alienation, because he no longer succeeds in experiencing as consistent his personal perception, which goes far beyond the technically functional, and precisely the discourse of reality reduced to this functionality.
Man, thus devalued of his subjective meaningfulness, is nevertheless unable to dispose of it and desperately seeks a framework for his individual and affective potential. In the process, an immense pressure to conform can arise in a technocratic society, since the devaluation of the subjective is accompanied by a suppression of needs, which, when an entire population is affected, leads less to rebelliousness than to compulsive social conformity in order not to be excluded from the community.
The victory of empiricism
Such a community of conforming and - this must not be forgotten - subject to the dictum of facticity tends to a form of communication which, if it persists for a longer time, increasingly excludes the possibility of compromise and makes the categories right or wrong the singular basis of judgment of every statement. In the most extreme form of technocratic society, everything individual, such as subjective emotional experience or one's own opinion, becomes irrelevant, even hostile and worth fighting against, if it does not fit into the framework of what is considered right.
This polarization within the discourse goes hand in hand with an enormous revaluation of the natural sciences, since they can usually prove their research results by means of measurement procedures and thus provide the visible orientation for what is considered right in the technocratic society. At the same time, empiricism penetrates the humanities with a pronounced claim to hegemony - and where these cannot withstand it, for example in theology or philosophy, they become redundant and lose their social legitimacy. Any metaphysics, faith or God - the technocracy can only recognize superstition here under the dictum of facticity, a scientific discussion with such becomes redundant.
The end of communication
Being human thus becomes an unsolvable task in the technocratic society. The dictum of facticity demands the betrayal of the intuitive, affect is considered primitive. Every statement becomes a mere assertion if it is not scientifically verifiably substantiated. Reference to scientific study becomes obligatory. Science becomes the phenomenon of the masses and the standard of rightness par excellence.
A deviating perception of the subject is no longer tolerated and branded as hostile to science. In technocracy, science thus loses its processual character.
The search for reality is replaced by a determination of what is real, science becomes the absolute authority of what is right and increasingly also of what is right - it gives up its descriptive character and develops a normative claim.
What is lost by the processes described is nothing less than the essence of the communicative itself. In technocratic society, the dictum of facticity undermines the self-participation of the individual in linguistic exchange. The perspective of the communicative act is now no longer oriented toward the individual's letting fellow human beings participate in his or her experience (Latin "communicare" - "to communicate," "to let participate"), but toward being able to exchange, as factually as possible, the facts that are circulating at a given moment.
This kind of communication, however, lacks any liveliness, it does not create a vision of a successful togetherness. It is calibrated to eliminate errors, to exclude coincidences and, through the machine-like perfection of the factually measurable, to devalue the human being as a deficient being. This supposedly perfect, however, no longer knows any shades of gray - only 0 and 1, right or wrong, life or death. The moral orientation of the technocratic society thus develops a totalitarian character; what is not good must be evil. Who is not good, is evil. And who wants to claim that about himself?
Konrad Grüttner, born in 1989, studied linguistics, literature and cultural studies at the Technical University of Dresden. Active as a writer since his youth, he is particularly interested in lyrical writing and the composition of short prose pieces. Based on the observation of social developments, he creates time-critical and dystopian scenarios, into which he weaves barely noticeable utopian counter-images, which should touch the readers in their humanity.
Understanding the US - it's not always easy
1. Understanding the US – it's not always easy
to look behind the scenes: The new foreign minister, Antony Blinken, even wants to expand the US's global leadership.
"Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner" – understanding everything means excuse everything – that's a French proverb. But so-called popular wisdom can also be dangerous. To avoid future wars, we must try to understand others – without signaling that we understand, or even apologize, for everything and everything. On the contrary, in order to resist something, we must first understand it.
Do we understand the United States? Your policies under Donald Trump and now under Joe Biden?
"Nearly a month in office, the new US President, Joe Biden, had pro-Iranian militia positions bombed in Syria on February 26; He, like other presidents before him, started with military action that was not covered by international law. This was followed by clear announcements of a fight against China and Russia (Putin is a "killer," according to the US president). America's return to the world stage, which Biden announced in his speech at the Munich Security Conference on February 19, thus has considerable potential for escalation. This makes the question of what foreign policy thinking the new US administration will lead in its policies all the more urgent. Few could be more suited to a glimpse into Washington's strategic rationality than Robert Kagan. The historian, married to former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (known for her "Fuck the EU" in the 2014 Ukraine crisis), has advised the George W. Bush administration and has been one of Donald Trump's fiercest conservative critics in recent years. In January 2019, Kagan, together with the current US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, pleaded in The Washington Post for a shift away from the "America First" policy and for a renewed global leadership of the United States."
With this editorial opening, the "Blätter für Deutsche und Internationale Politik" publish in their latest issue an article by the AMERICAN opinion leader Robert Kagan, first published in the US magazine "Foreign Affairs", now also in German. (...)
The historian can be tricked into seeing how these two prominent and highly influential Americans deal with historical facts. It was not the United States, it was the then leadership of the Soviet Union that cleared the way for an end to the Cold War. It was not the Americans, it was the Russian Mikhail Gorbachev and the German Helmut Kohl who agreed on the reunification of Germany, the USA only had to say yes to it. In Georgia, it was not Russia, it was then Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who opened the Caucasus War in 2008 with an attack on South Ossetia, as a large-scale international investigation led by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini has shown. In Ukraine, it was Ukrainian separatists who proclaimed independence from Donetsk and Luhansk after the US-backed coup against Viktor Yanukovytch in Kiev's Maidan in 2014. And did the US, with its US diplomacy, bring peace to Yugoslavia, as Kagan writes, when it has bombed massively and where Kosovo today, more than twenty years later, still needs to be controlled by the KFOR police force under NATO control, with – as of 2021 – 3,300 soldiers from 26 countries?
And and and.
In order to understand the United States, we need to read and take seriously the very texts of the US opinion leaders. Then we also understand why the director of the Carnegie Moskov Center, paid not by the Kremlin but from the UNITED States, gave us Europeans the urgent advice a few weeks ago: "Fast your Seatbelt". Or in our German language: if the foreign minister of the military major power USA is so argumentatively in favor of not only restoring but even expanding the global leadership of the United States, it is necessary to warm up climate change for the coming months and years.
The second phase
After initial shock therapy, elites wave small freedoms but push authoritarian transformation all the more skillfully.
By C. J. Hopkins
[This article published in March 2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, Die zweite Phase | Rubikon.news.]
You may have noticed: Those in power are currently playing deftly with our fears and hopes. Sometimes there seems to be brightening on the horizon in Corona politics, gradual relaxations are promised; then again, horror stories brutally bring down our already half-finished tower of hope-building bricks. We should always hold out a little longer, whippersnappers like Karl Lauterbach call for the "last stand. Humanity is not what motivates the powerful to occasionally show mercy. Rather, it was a sadistic cat-and-mouse game that occupies people's minds, subjects them step by step to a drill of obedience and exposes them to permanent "Tantalus torments." The Corona strategists know very well that they cannot keep the citizens forever in an atmosphere of blackest hopelessness. They therefore sometimes give a little carrot between the strokes of the whip, pretending a partial restoration of freedom, which, however, we would have to buy through new kinds of submission rituals - continuous self-tests, for example. While the first wave of anger in the population is being broken in this way, the powerful are tinkering with a new phase on their way to global dictatorship.
So, we are now almost a year into the new normal - also known as "pathologized totalitarianism" - and things still look, well, pretty totalitarian.
Most of Western Europe is still in lockdown or under curfew or some other form of "health emergency." Police are fining and arresting people who are outdoors without good reason. Protest is still banned. Dissenters are still censored. Official propaganda is relentless. Governments rule by decree, subjecting people to an ever-changing series of increasingly absurd restrictions on the most basic aspects of daily life.
And now, with downright religious fervor, the campaign is on to vaccinate all of humanity against a virus that causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms in over 95 percent of those infected or, more commonly, no symptoms at all, and that over 99 percent of those infected survive, that has no real effect on age-adjusted mortality rates, and whose mortality profile is more or less identical to the normal mortality profile.
"Vaccination passports" - which are undoubtedly creepy, but bear no resemblance to Aryan ancestry certificates or other fascist apartheid documents, so don't even think of making such a comparison! - are under development in a number of countries. In Israel, they have already been introduced.
In other words, as predicted by us conspiracy theorists, the "temporary emergency health measures" introduced by GloboCap (the global capitalist ruling classes) in March 2020 are still in full force, and even more so. That is, as you have probably noticed, the tenor of things is shifting a bit, which is not surprising as GloboCap is now making the transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of implementing the new normal.
Phase 1 was pretty much in the classic sense of shock and awe. An apocalyptic virus was "discovered." A global state of emergency was declared. Constitutional rights were suspended. Soldiers, police, surveillance cameras, military drones, and robotic dogs were deployed to implement the global police state. The masses were bombarded with official propaganda, photos of people dropping dead in the street, unconscious patients dying in agony, corpses stuffed into makeshift hearses, hospital ships, ICU horror stories, projections of hundreds of millions of deaths, scary Orwellian slogans, sentimental war effort posters, and so on. The full force of the most formidable Goebbelsian propaganda machine in history was unleashed on the public at once (see, for example, CNN, NPR, CNBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Forbes, and other "reputable" sources such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)).
But the shock-and-awe phase cannot last forever, nor was it ever intended to.
Its purpose is to (a) terrorize the targeted masses into a state of submission, (b) irreversibly destabilize their society so that it can be radically restructured, and (c) convincingly demonstrate an overwhelming superiority of power so that resistance becomes unimaginable.
This shock and awe tactic - or rapid dominance - has been used by empires and aspiring empires throughout military history. It has just been used by GloboCap against ..., that is, against the entire world. And now this phase is coming to an end.
The shape of Phase 2 is not yet clear, but one can make a few logical guesses. Typically, this is the phase in which the conquering power - in this case GloboCap - restores normality, that is, a new normality, in the society it has just destabilized and terrorized. A new occupation-friendly government is installed, the economy is restored, and otherwise the gradual transition from martial law to something resembling normal daily life begins. Candy bars are handed out to children, financial aid to businesses, power to generals and the police, and freedom to the public in shock.
This seems to be where we are at the moment. As you have probably noticed, the media, the government, and the medical experts are currently talking about the end of the pandemic, or at least the "end of the emergency phase" of the pandemic. Suddenly, some level of covid is tolerable, "zero covid is unlikely," and so on. This is pretty much happening on cue.
Now that the vaccination campaign is in full swing, they are trying to temper the mass paranoia and hatred they have been stoking for over a year with some hope and a vision of a post-crisis future.
Governments are carefully loosening restrictions and making sure we understand that if we don't obey orders, wear our masks, get vaccinated, and so on, they will mercilessly crack down on us again.
They want to gently guide us into the pathologized-totalitarian future so that it feels like we are being liberated and returning to some semblance of normal life, albeit in a new, more terrifying world constantly threatened by viruses and extremists.
Here in Germany, for example, the government has decided to return some freedom and trust to the people, but they are ready to lock us back up hard if they suspect we have not used their trust wisely. Under the 5-step plan, bookstores and flower stores can reopen this week, with a limit of one person per ten square meters, up to ten people can engage in non-contact sports, and five people from no more than two households can meet-and thus engage in non-contact sports-unless the incidence rate of positive PCR tests rises above 100 per thousand, in which case we go back to hard lockdown.
Two weeks after that, on March 22, provided the positive-test rate remains below 50, outdoor restaurants can reopen, and theaters, movie theaters, and opera houses can reopen. However, if the positive-test rate is more than 50 but less than 100, outdoor dining will be allowed only on the basis of strict advance reservations. It is believed that there will be roving goon squads checking restaurant booking records and asking patrons to show their papers. There are other Kafkaesque stipulations in the plan, but I think you get the idea.
Meanwhile in the U.S., although Washington, DC remains under occupation and the Capitol is surrounded by barbed wire fences to protect democracy from an imaginary enemy straight out of George Orwell's 1984,Texas, Mississippi and a few other states are joining Florida in open rebellion, allowing people to eat out, meet with their families and friends, walk around in public without medical-looking masks, and otherwise live their lives in a completely uninhibited-paranoid manner.
Notwithstanding the outrage of the Covid cultists, this development is not of great concern to GloboCap, because the power centers on the coast are all about the new normal, and the liberals who predominantly dominate them have turned into paranoid, hysterical zealots who now spend a considerable amount of their time, hunting down alleged covid deniers, mask deniers, vaccination deniers, white-supremacist extremists, conspiracy theorists, libertarians, dead racist cartoonists, and anyone else who doesn't conform to their pathologized-totalitarian ideology, and then obsessively trolling them on social media or reporting their thought crimes to the reality police.
This transformation of the relatively affluent, predominantly liberal middle/upper class and the millions who vainly aspire to it into obtuse-order-obsessed good Germans - or rather obtuse-order-obsessed new normals - has also taken place here in Western Europe and elsewhere in the global capitalist empire, and was one of GloboCap's main goals in Phase 1 of introducing the new normal. This transformation has been underway for some time, less dramatically and without a virus. It will continue once that virus is gone.
The new normal is not just about a virus. The new normal was never just about a virus. You don't need a new normal because of a virus.
You need a new normal when the current normal has lost its usefulness to those in power, which in our case are the global capitalist ruling classes.
I've been writing about this for - well, most of my life, and I've been publishing these columns for five years, so I'm not going to summarize it all here, but basically we're living in one of those historical transformations of the structure of political power that we don't usually recognize until it's happened; not just a changing of the guard: a transformation of the nature of power, how it's exercised, the beliefs on which it's based, and the reality that is brought into being by those beliefs.
This transformation began with the end of the Cold War, when global capitalism became the first globally hegemonic ideological system in history. The introduction of the new normal is part of this transformation, not the whole, but an essential stage. We are in transition from an ideological reality to a post-ideological, pathologized reality, a reality in which any deviation from the official ideology, that is, "normality," is no longer a political challenge or threat, but a disease or psychiatric disorder.
I'm going to take the liberty of quoting myself now, so I don't have to try to explain this again. Here is a passage from a recent column:
"A global-hegemonic system, for example global capitalism, has no external enemies because there is no territory outside the system. Its only enemies are within the system and are therefore, by definition, insurgents, also known as terrorists and extremists. These terms are, of course, completely irrelevant. They are purely strategic and are used against anyone who deviates from GloboCap's official ideology, which, in case you're wondering, is called normalcy or, in our case, currently 'new' normalcy. (...)
The new breed of terrorists not only hate us for our freedom, they hate us because they hate reality. They are no longer our political or ideological opponents, they suffer from a psychiatric disorder. They no longer need to be argued with or listened to, they need to be treated, re-educated and deprogrammed until they accept reality."
As we move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of the new normal, the pathologization of political deviance will continue and intensify, both overtly and subtly. GloboCap and the corporate media will continue to warn of impending attacks on democracy by imaginary domestic terrorists, as well as the old non-domestic terrorists.
They will also continue to warn of imminent threats from exotic viruses and variants of exotic viruses, as well as permanent diseases caused by viruses and other threats to our bodily fluids. Most importantly, they will continue to warn against the danger of consuming "misinformation," "conspiracy theories," or any other type of unsupported, unauthorized, and unverified content. They will thoroughly analyze the sources of such content and explain in detail the pathological conditions from which these sources appear to suffer. They will explore a variety of treatments and cures and recommend prophylactic measures against possible exposure to these sources.
These multiple "threats to democracy" - for example, terrorists, viruses, misinformation, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, voting system skepticism, white-supremacist pancake syrup, intentional pronoun misuse, childishly stubborn mask denial, vaccine skepticism, religion et cetera - will merge into a single Goldstein-like enemy that the new normal kids will reflexively learn to hate and fear and want to silence and segregate from "normal" society or cure of their disease with government-mandated, "safe and effective" pharmaceutical therapies.
But what the heck ... I wouldn't worry about it. I'm probably just getting upset for nothing. After all, as many of my ex-friends will tell you - through their multiple masks and prophylactic face shields - I'm just a paranoid conspiracy theorist spreading unverified misinformation.
Editorial Note: This column first appeared at Consent Factory on March 8, 2021, under the title "The New Normal (Phase 2)." It was translated by Sabine Amann of the volunteer Rubicon translation team and proofread by the volunteer Rubicon proofreading team.
C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning playwright, novelist, and political satirist/commentator based in Berlin. His plays have been produced internationally at theaters and festivals. His political satire and commentary is published by Consent Factory, RT.com, OffGuardian, ZeroHedge, ColdType, Dissident Voice, and other publications. His dystopian science fiction novel Zone 23 was published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant in 2017.