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Afterword to Dictionary of Operations

Afterword to the third of a series of dictionaries on Cultural Intelligence by Konrad Becker. Dictionary of Operations, Autonomedia NY, ISBN: 978-1-57027-261-5

Dictionary of Operations is a book by Konrad Becker. What is Konrad Becker talking about?

About everything. Everything is here: Language and Money,Conjuration and Conspiration. According to recombinant methodology, the operations the title is hinting to are the countless operations that a reader can do, by recombining the conceptual units that can be found in this book.

The Author is walking at the border that separates (and actually connects) the world of superstitious Reality and the world of theoretical superstition. The book has been composed — better, assembled — in the period in which the black hole of financial capitalism is swallowing the world. Perfect timing. This is the right moment to reflect on the (dangerous) confusion between linguistic production and the economy.

This confusion was started by the Symbolist poets, who replaced representation with evocation and realist description with the mystic epiphany of transmental words, and was perfected by the Virtual technology which generates the world that surrounds us as a by-product of Simulation. Financial capitalism — the last step in the suicidal pathway of the Invisible Hand that is strangling us — is the theological translation of Indust-Reality.

Magic algorithms have taken the place of the old machines made of iron and steel, and although “syncretistic cults of capitalism do not yield meaning,” (as Becker says), they do yield value. Physical things disappear, bewitched and swallowed by the financial spell: buildings, cities, human beings, institutions, trains, schools. Immaterial money (unspeakable figures, uncountable amounts of credit and debt) is taking their place.

In an article published in 1996, with the title “Global Debt and Parallel Universe,” Jean Baudrillard wrote that debt is forever orbitalized, out of Planet Earth, out of our lives and out of our time: “In fact, the debt will never be paid. No debt will ever be paid. The final counts will never take place. If time is counted [si le temps nous est compte], the missing money is beyond counting [au-delà de toute compatabilité]. The United States is already virtually unable to pay, but this will have no consequence whatsoever. There will be no judgment day for this virtual bankruptcy. It is simple enough to enter an exponential or virtual mode to become free of any responsibility, since there is no reference anymore, no referential world to serve as a measuring norm,” he said.

He was wrong, although genially prophetic (prophets are often wrong, but they see the point, while other people are often right, though they talk about pointless things). Baudrillard was wrong, because The Debt is back on Earth, as you know, and we are looking at it in a state of astonishment. Incredulous of what we see, we to try to understand the metaphysical debt, but we can’t. This is why (as Konrad Becker puts it), “Displacing religion in secular societies, both are incorporated into financial market forces where they remain intertwined.”

And also (anthropologically speaking, of non-anthropological things), “Humans form religion which informs humans vice versa.” And also (biologically speaking, on non-biological prospects), “DNA in the evolvement of living cells did not follow slow continuous mutation. Living cells are not autistic actors of sociobiological dogma but sensitive entities in a copy and paste conspiracy.” So who knows? It may be that, in the infinite, future recombination of DNA possibilities, we can find a way out. Entrapped, entangled, but doing operations, and always hopeful, stupidly hopeful, because, as Becker says: “The most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”

As we cannot correlate, we do operations, and look around for something that so far we have been missing.

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