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The Crowd

Antidote has translated into English an article by Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus, originally from the German Das Magazin, that shines some light on the psychometrics system developed by psychologist Michal Kosinski and later repurposed as a political campaigning tool. The article’s tone treats itself as revolutionary, playing up the insights as though big data is a relatively new thing. While the Cambridge Analytica marketing company may have used psychometrics with some success in Trump’s campaign, the article fails to really acknowledge how much Cambridge Analytica ultimately failed Ted Cruz, who had employed them earlier. More importantly, profiling the populace by mining data easily goes back to J. Edgar Hoover’s time heading the FBI many decades ago, rather than the article’s insinuation that only partisan candidates of recent years considered manipulating voters. Even the online social networks predominately consist of fake accounts, for a reason.

Noticeably missed by the article’s authors and translators is the fact that no system of psychometrics is a legitimately profound accomplishment for dissecting and cataloging the human psyche. The truth is that humans today are just that predictable. Possibly one of the most unspoken truths in western civilization is that everybody who works in marketing in whatever capacity could all honestly fuck off and die and the world would be none the worse for wear. Telling strangers what they should need and want, what they should think and feel, is really quite arrogant. People not knowing these things for themselves is not an invitation. Sorting that out on our respective own is what everybody is here for, and attempting to fill that void is precisely how Capitalism is merely another cult, adherents every bit as feeble-minded and short-sighted as any other snake-handler.

A few months ago, Udo Ulfkotte, whose 2014 book Bought Journalists discussed the scale of CIA influence over German media and resulted in the loss of his job as editor of Germany’s largest newspaper, was found dead of an apparent heart attack. From the article:

“This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe. I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too. We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war. I don’t want this anymore; I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic, and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom.”

Which reminded me of the American embassy in Berlin being outed as a hub for both CIA and NSA a few years back. But Ulfkotte’s unfortunate end brought to mind this. I sincerely believe that a substantial degree of Julian Assange’s growing erratic behavior can be attributed to the inordinate number of Wikileaks insiders who have died in recent years. Making governments transparent can be lethal, whereas the opposite is widely and unceremoniously accepted by all.

A British military contractor is designing a directed-energy laser system that would transform the very atmosphere into a massive surveillance system. On the off chance that a morsel of data somewhere or other might be escaping the existing butterfly nets. But this one carries an inside joke because to go underground one would indeed need to actually go underground. Related but unrelated, there’s a new documentary about just that, Big Data creating a planetary nervous system, a notion which presents yet another epistemological failure insofar as Powers That Be not seeing the forest for the trees. The uniformity that comes of lumping people together denies the grandest values this life might ever offer. We can choose to be stereotypes, but we cannot choose to be archetypes. Thus is individuality the greatest resource humanity can ever know.

Enforced inter-connectivity is a denial of any individual’s capabilities. Where it involves surveillance, it means that efforts toward misguidedly sweeping up everything enables actual trouble-makers to more easily get lost in the shuffle. In schools, grading on a curve is wrong for comparable reasons. A thousand people blogging about the same derivative, mass-produced and mass-marketed comic book means a thousand people not blogging about something genuinely noteworthy published by a substantially smaller voice. The general public has never been given a real reason to believe the federal government regarding anything under the sun, yet anybody who questions said government is questioned by the general public in turn. Something will get lost in all of that white-wash.

Scientists are again confirming that humans are undeniably made of stardust. From that article:

A team of astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico enlisted the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) which uses infrared wavelengths to see through the galaxy’s dust and analyze the composition of 150,000 stars across the Milky Way.

With that data, the group then cataloged the abundance of ‘CHNOPS’ (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and sulfur) elements in each of the stars, which they say represent the “building blocks” of the world around us, and found humans and their galaxy have about 97 percent of the same kind of atoms.

By conforming to anything under the stars we only affirm this. By allowing ourselves to be herded livestock waiting in lines for this or for that we only affirm this. By going with the proverbial flow we only affirm this. Irregardless, every last one of us possesses in theory the will to decide precisely where our respective specks of dust might float in the aether. With the exception of course being the people from Louisville, who are never better than inbred trash with everything they believe in or hold dear generic rubbish. Having no redeeming qualities the people in that city are not really people but the most noticeable of sexually-transmitted diseases that have somehow gained sentience. The world fearfully understands Americans are the dumbest people on the planet, but Louisvillians break the scale without any exertion. The absolute worst employers and co-workers, the worst landlords and neighbors, nothing but duplicitous friendships and the most broken relationships that I have ever experienced all struck during my unfortunate years in that community. If the surveillance state would like to spy on those people, the lowest of the low, it could save itself the trouble and shove its head down a loaded toilet for days and days of repeated flushings while a line of strangers continuously urinate and occasionally masturbate all over its gourd. The spies would walk away with the basic idea of what Louisville offers the world while still retaining at least some dignity. I single that place out because its locals may as well be specks of dust in the greater scheme of things. Abiding in Kentucky while avoiding that city at all costs is herculean. The fact that national platforms never acknowledge how much of a blight Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama White House Jerry Abramson’s city is only validates the conviction that Americans are relentlessly ignorant. I mean, nobody there ever even leaves their small neighborhoods unless it’s to go broke on the gambling boat. And when it rains the entire place stinks like wet dog hair. John Yarmuth may have a good side, but the likes of Mitch McConnell and Greg Fischer, even Rand Paul, are all over-flowing toilets, attracting the bile and puke of the drunks with all the fetish of a never-ending baptism.

We surround ourselves with incessant reminders that consciousness is a rarity. The saddest fact of our plight is in how humans perceive themselves to be more important than specks of dust without actually being more important than specks of dust. Self-perception matters the most, but with no self-awareness what good comes of it? I keep a blog so I obviously know.