Psychopower and Ordinary Madness: Reticulated Dividuals in Cognitive Capitalism

Cosmos and History 15 (1):214-241 (2019)
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Abstract
Despite the seemingly neutral vantage of using nature for widely-distributed computational purposes, neither post-biological nor post-humanist teleology simply concludes with the real "end of nature" as entailed in the loss of the specific ontological status embedded in the identifier "natural." As evinced by the ecological crises of the Anthropocene—of which the 2019 Brazil Amazon rainforest fires are only the most recent—our epoch has transfixed the “natural order" and imposed entropic artificial integration, producing living species that become “anoetic,” made to serve as automated exosomatic residues, or digital flecks. I further develop Gilles Deleuze’s description of control societies to upturn Foucauldian biopower, replacing its spacio-temporal bounds with the exographic excesses in psycho-power; culling and further detailing Bernard Stiegler’s framework of transindividuation and hyper-control, I examine how becoming-subject is predictively facilitated within cognitive capitalism and what Alexander Galloway terms “deep digitality.” Despite the loss of material vestiges qua virtualization—which I seek to trace in an historical review of industrialization to postindustrialization—the drive-based and reticulated "internet of things" facilitates a closed loop from within the brain to the outside environment, such that the aperture of thought is mediated and compressed. The human brain, understood through its material constitution, is susceptible to total datafication’s laminated process of “becoming-mnemotechnical,” and, as neuroplasticity is now a valid description for deep-learning and neural nets, we are privy to the rebirth of the once-discounted metaphor of the “cybernetic brain.” Probing algorithmic governmentality while posing noetic dreaming as both technical and pharmacological, I seek to analyze how spirit is blithely confounded with machine-thinking’s gelatinous cognition, as prosthetic organ-adaptation becomes probabilistically molded, networked, and agentially inflected (rather than simply externalized).
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Archival date: 2019-09-25
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