Identity and Paradigm
The creation of the subject's identity happens according to their idea of the type of world that they are living in. These `world-types' can be diverse and tend to be based around historical perceptions: obviously the world-type that your grandparents grew up in are very different from the one that you or I grew up in. Viewed broadly in the historical epoch of the the last two millenia, there are (according to Manuel De Landa) three modes; clockwork, motor and network
|Manuel De Landa; contemporary technological critic.|
|The Fascist/Anarchic Duality
Creation of Identity in the Network mode requires articulation in line with the dominant useful construct of the time; Chaos theory, where the subject is always under the sway of strange attractors. The two basic attractors are the Fascist attractor and the Anarchic attractor.
In a basic form the two attractors work across an axis that has `i am like this' at one end and `i am not like anything' at the other. At their most extreme they represent the completely static subject and the completely mobile subject; Hitler youth or Insanity plus. In reality we tend to inhabit more of the former with gestures towards the later. The straight businessman who has a penchant for crazy ties, the artist who aims to paint like a child or with an edge of `madness'. The irony of the fascist attractor is that it cleanly reincorporates statements about the self; to say `i am different' is to reinsert yourself in the fascist attractor with greater force, all you are accomplishing is becoming the same in your difference. To name or to define is to categorize yourself with more vigor. This is the process of returning to a null state. This is why the fascist attractor always needs the anarchic attractor; as a source of energy.
|Anarchy and the rebound effect.
Unfortunately, just heading out wholesale for the anarchic attractor will not benefit you either; if you hold open the gap between self and naming for too long you will literally drive yourself mad. Going one way to an extreme will bounce you back (`reform') or break you up...
It is along the Fascist/Anarchic axis that Freud worked his magic, reordering the anarchy of psychic illness back into the same/difference attractor. It is also this axis which defines modernism; from the programmatic projects of Le Corbusier, the fluctuations of capital and the failure of radical political groups to the discovery of nuclear fusion, the movement is played out on this line.
|The irony of radical political groups is that they will shift from anarchic to fascist as soon as they get any power at all; this is precisely because they play only on this line.|
|Moving sideways into Amerika
The network, however, adds the possibility of allowing further attractors into the mix, turning the modern into post-modern, and adding new complexities.
One of the new, and most prevalent, attractors is one that occurs in writers of the deconstructionist school, or at least those of a particularly `clever' bent like Paul de Mann; this new attractor is perhaps best labelled simply `Amerika', as it achieves it's apogee in America, especially in the writings of the fascinated forgeiner, Baudrillard.
Very briefly, the logic goes like this: everything is more or less horizontally configured, slippage between sign and referant guarantees a lack of verticality (meaning). Therefore the journeys sideways, inherently deprived of meaning, become the point; a decentered `having', whether of experience or things or knowledge, becomes more important than `naming', since naming is now seen to be reductionist and perilous. So Amerika is a attractor which can also go under the title `shopping-to-be' and is an advanced form of tourism
The dangers of Amerika are two fold:
1: First, the lack of verticality makes for a kind of fascinated hopelessness as the `end of history' is a place where everyone wants to catch up with America (literally) at the attractor of Amerika into a higher synthesis. As a writer at the time of the French revolution said:..
2: Second; if everything is indeed idleness and action ceases to have importance, then the subject can do anything and exalt in the very things that, thirty years ago, would have been considered outrageous.
So, on the one hand the Fascist/Anarchic attractor, then moving away
from it is the `shopping to be' tangent. All in all not pleasing choices...
- want to join my party?
The irony of the `Amerika' attractor is that it's substance has ceased to exist; the American Dream is a Virtual nostalgia that is recirculated by the media and political machines in an effort to capitalise on the dead flesh of a passed Amerika. This is a kind of perverse and distracting necrophilia.