The Souls of Acheron by Adolf Hiremy-Hirschl, 1898
On the ashes of this nest
Love wove with deathly fire
The phoenix takes its rest
Forgetting all desire.
After the flame, a pause,
After the pain, rebirth.
Obeying nature’s laws
The phoenix goes to earth.
You cannot call it old
You cannot call it young.
No phoenix can be told,
This is the end of the song.
It struggles now alone
Against death and self-doubt,
But underneath the bone
The wings are pushing out.
And one cold starry night
Whatever your belief
The phoenix will take flight
Over the seas of grief
To sing her thrilling song
To stars and waves and sky
For neither old nor young
The phoenix does not die.
They bite through the veins in their arms.
Homeopathic - Gift for the End - Mariee Sioux
That feeling you get in your stomach watching everything you love being wiped from the planet.
To understand the workings of power today, however, one should take into account that while the 19th century witnessed the industrialization of production techniques, the 20th century became the scene of a steady industrialization of what Stiegler calls “mnemotechnics.” This term indexes the material artifacts that are capable of durably registering living memory, from writing and printing over analog memory supports (radio, television, photography, etc.) to the latter’s digital counterparts (cd’s, personal computers, internet, etc.). The industrialization of the mnemotechnical system constitutes a major break in history, the consequences of which we are only beginning to fathom. While the technical system of production has been evolving incessantly since prehistorical times, the mnemotechnical system has been more or less stable for over 25 centuries and has always been independent from the former. The invention and industrialization of new analogue and digital mnemotechnical devices facilitated, however, the integration of the mnemotechnical system in the production system and brought it under the control of the global techno-industrial system. This means that the producers of material goods have also become the most important producers of symbols and that they have started to exploit the mnemotechnical system in order to capture and control the psyche’s attention to make people adopt ever more commodities and services.
For Stiegler there is consequently an urgent need to develop a new paradigm of power. The theory of biopower focuses exclusively on power technologies that transform the population into a machine for production. In the current hyper-industrial age, however, it has become necessary to address the various forms of psychopower that turn the population into markets for consumption. In other words, we have to shift the focus of attention from the disciplinary and regulating technologies deployed by the programming institutions of the nation-state to the mnemotechnologies that are currently being put into service by the programming industries of global capitalism. Contemporary power mechanisms no longer mainly aim at disciplining the body or regulating life, but at conditioning the psyche to stimulate consumption. For an economic system that thrives on mass-consumption, the audio-visual media have become indispensable for the creation of the large scale markets required for the return on investment in research and development and industrial production. They provide access to a meta-market of millions of minds whose attention can be captured and conditioned to adopt new consumption goods. However, it is certainly not the case that capturing the psyche’s attention through mnemotechnics is a power strategy invented by the 20th century advertizing industry. Attention focusing techniques have always governed processes of psychic and collective individuation. Hence, on the one hand, mnemotechnics constitutes nothing less than the condition of possibility of tradition and collective memorization as such, but on the other, the industrial exploitation of the mnemotechnical system which we are currently experiencing tends toward the destruction of both psychic and collective individuation processes.
From Biopower to Psychopower: Bernard Stiegler’s Pharmacology of Mnemotechnologies http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=706
“Beyond unemployment and underemployment, the percentage of full-time working poor has grown significantly. US workers are presently producing twice as much wealth per work hour than they were in 1980. Instead of median incomes doubling since then, they have stagnated. The gap between wealth production and median income is now at an all-time high. Based on the latest available individual level income data, 40% of workers make less than full-time minimum wage workers made in 1968, roughly $20k per year according to the suppressed CPI inflation rate. More realistic adjustments for inflation will reveal a much higher total. For example, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. If minimum wage had kept pace with overall income inflation since 1968, the minimum wage would now be $21.16, which means a full-time minimum wage worker would now be making $44k a year. However, the median annual wage is only $27,519. Based on income inflation, only 22% of the working age population and 15% of the overall population currently have an annual income higher than a full-time minimum wage worker had in 1968. The average person needs to generate $35k in annual income to cover the cost of basic necessities. Looking at the actual spending habits of the average worker, you need to generate an income of $42k to cover annual expenses. If we use $35k as our threshold for a living wage, only 30% of the working age population and 20% of the overall population generate an annual income over $35k. For every 3.4 working age people, there is one that generates an income high enough to cover the cost of basic necessities without taking on debt. Keep in mind, that does not factor in the cost of paying off student debt. Average student debt is presently $29,400. If paid off over a 10-year period, at an average 4.6% interest rate, it costs $306 per month, $3672 annually. In this situation, a person needs to make an annual income of $38,672 to cover the cost of living plus their student debt. Only 27% of the working age population and 18% of the overall population generate that much income. For every 3.7 working age people, there is one that can sustain the cost of basic necessities plus the average student loan debt without taking on more debt. Therefore, in the current economy, 73% of people with student debt will not be able to pay it back while also maintaining the cost of living, without going deeper into debt. The US government has sentenced you to a lifetime of ever-increasing debt and ever-declining living standards.”
WAR IS PEACE
Looking back at the past two decades, U.S. intervention in the Middle East has failed to “spread democracy” or win the “war on terror.” It has only succeeded in creating more instability, more conflict, and more enemies[xlvii]. After spending $25 billion to equip and TRAIN Iraqi security forces[xlviii], our military ends up bombing its own equipment[xlix] to fend off CIA-armed jihadist forces[l] in anticipation of providing even more military aid to the Kurds[li].
One thing is certain: the Middle East is awash with armaments supplied by the United States.
There are those who would argue that this incongruous state of affairs is intentional, that stated claims about WMDs and nurturing democracy are a mere pretext for a more ominous stratagem. More than a decade ago John Stockwell presciently pointed out an unsettling logic, an instance of Hegelian Dialectic where the ruling class creates its own enemies to feed off of the ensuing carnage[lii]:
“Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the U.S. military machine to turn. If the world were peaceful, we would never put up with this kind of ruinous expenditure on arms at the cost of our own lives. This is where the thousands of CIA destabilizations begin to make a macabre kind of economic sense. They function to kill people who never were our enemies-that’s not the problem-but to leave behind, for each one of the dead, perhaps five loved ones who are now traumatically conditioned to violence and hostility toward the United States. This insures that the world will CONTINUE to be a violent place, populates with contras and Cuban exiles and armies in Southeast Asia, justifying the endless, profitable production of arms to ‘defend’ ourselves in such a violent world”
The defense industry thrives from regional conflicts like this, a constant stream of flash points in America’s self-perpetuating campaign to eradicate terrorism. The cost for the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan reaches into trillions of dollars and much of that funding ends up covering military expenses[liii]. About a year ago, back when President Obama announced he was thinking about bombing the Assad regime, Raytheon’s stock jumped[liv].
And the defense executives aren’t alone, the fossil fuel industry also extracts its pound of flesh[lv]. It’s the failed state model for neocolonialism[lvi]. Non-nuclear countries that have been ravaged by war are more susceptible to opening their doors and yielding nationalized resources on behalf of corporate pressure. Before the United States invaded Iraq its oil wells weren’t accessible to outside firms. After the invasion Western oil interests like Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil have all gained entry to one of the world’s largest sources of oil[lvii]. In March of 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iraq’s oil output was at its highest point in more than 30 years[lviii].