2013, Jan.

The Game of Death

Subsumed under the general sentiment that contemporary society experiences a representational reality detached from 'the real' is the common trope that modern warfare will shift its focalization from the human solider in field to a cybernetic landscape of drones and machine intelligences. This geopolitical imaginary is motivated by a desire for the elimination of violence of the flesh, finding solace in virtual potential of simulations and their apotheosis-- "the game". In the end, "the game" reduces itself to informational asymmetries and discrepancies in initial conditions. Despite the long history of soothsayers decrying the 20th century obsession with data, only today can I sense a perturbation in temperaments of philosophers and theorists regarding the primacy of information. We are beginning to realize that information is not knowledge, and via Foucault, information is not power. So despite RAND's recommendations on how to "byte back", a dominant strategy for maintaining power will always require entanglement in the pulsing fears of the embodied beast-- the lived tension of the other. In fact, we can read the rise of modern torture and the impulse towards human terrain as not merely effects but accomplices in the rise of the virtual and mechanic forms of war. The balance of power, in the particular sense of the balance of force and knowledge, requires it. If information is but a map, knowledge is the ability to get from A to B. If information is a diagrammatic index of a set of features, knowledge is the capacity to turn virtual contingency into existent continuity via the performance of an action. Knowledge is violence at play.


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