The principle of communication implies the absolute moral obligation not so

The principle of communication implies the absolute

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The principle of communication implies the absolute moral obligation not so much to be involved as to remain connected. This constitutes of course a possibility of being alienated by the whole system of interconnection, of being controlled even in your private life. But much more alienating, much more destabilizing is the reciprocal control given to you over the external world. The first danger is well known as the Big Brother story – the common fear of total control. But the second is more sophisticated and perverse. By using all the available screens and videos and telematic possibilities (including sex [l’amour] by telephone), it makes the external world superfluous, it makes all human presence, physical or lin- guistic, superfluous. All-out communication accentuates the involution into a micro-universe, with no reason to escape any more. A carceral niche with video walls. The fact that someone knew everything about you was frigh- tening. But today, the best way of neutralizing, of cancellating someone is not to know everything about him, it is to give him the means of knowing everything about everything – and especially about himself. You no longer neutralize him by repression and control, you neutralize him through infor- mation and communication. You paralyse him much better by excess than by deprivation of information, since you enchain him to the pure obligation of being more and more connected to himself, more and more closely connected to the screen, in restless circularity and autoreferentiality, as an integrated network. At this point, the question of liberty doesn’t make sense any more. Our sovereignty is diffracted along the technical and mental lines of parasitic ramifications. For this process happens not only externally, in the operational network of institutions and programmes, but also internally , in the labyrinth of our brain and our body. To put it another way: the exoteric complex of communication, this huge apparatus deployed on the surface of our societies, goes along with an esoteric complex that rules the intimacy of each indivi- dual. Through this complex, through all techniques of introspection, through psychology, biology and medicine, man has learned to communicate with himself, to deal with himself as a partner, to interface with himself. He passed from the stage of passion and destiny to the stage of calculating and negotiating his own life, dealing with all the information about it, just like the way a computer operates. The sexual discourse itself is an operational one. Sexual pleasure becomes an act of communication (you receive me, I receive you), we exchange it as an interactive performance. To enjoy without communication, without reci- procal feedback, is a scandal. Maybe communications machines feel pleasure [jouissent] too – we don’t know, and we’ll probably never know. But if we imagine pleasure-machines, they can only act, or interact, as
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computing networks. In fact, these machines exist right now: they are our own bodies, induced to feel pleasure [jouir] again by all the most
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  • Winter '16
  • Jeff Hannan
  • organic life, Bataille

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