Sunday, June 24, 2018

Propaganda of Interest (Episode VIII)

 A Distinguishing Plot Feature

What one notices about the plot in the first episode is something that happens to end up being the case throughout the first two seasons, and that is that there is a normal world without the direct influence of any ASIs.  That's because of the "black box" design of The Machine, which is the only ASI in operational existence.  Until the last two episodes of season three, when Samaritan goes online and fights for its own existence by doing two things: demonstrating "to the politicians" its value at stopping a terrorist threat in the NYC area, and destroying the assets of The Machine which are the only operational threat of serious significance to Samaritan.  But that is a world which exists transcendental to the "normal" world where people generally act like they're just fine and dandy with being in an open air panopticon run by corrupt and generally falsified institutions. They are not concerned about the information being sucked out of their devices and through the public infrastructure, or with the existence of clandestine operations being conducted which will require their assassination if they "know too much" or even strongly suspect too much. Therefore there is already a sense of what "normal" is meant to be within this story world of POI.  It is a world where people resemble farm animals with respect to the system which sees to their safety and security (and its own, of course). 

They are this way because they have always been this way, since the days of old when the "all seeing eye" was not an arcane technological monstrosity, but a monstrous perversion of an ancient human tradition, leadership by the wiser and braver among them.  In the days of old before history, and on into its earliest recordings, the leaders of society were the wisest at maintaining it in peace and war.  That was demonstrated by their personal demonstration of expertise in matters of maintaining a peaceful society and protecting it, through their understanding of what is required for successful action in either condition.  At least if the venerable sages such as Confucius, or the bards and historians of other cultures, are to be believed.  But such a Golden Age did not last well into the period of the agriculture-fed city state. From that point on, institutional control over dense human populations fixed to a specific area of land and required to protect hard assets on developed land became the norm.  And this developed a status quo of institutional authority which managed structures rather than events.  Events became a function of established structures the operation of which, whether in peace or war, involved a bureaucracy that was relatively ensconced in the safety of the citadels of their offices. The operational spheres which involved actual ingenuity, labor, and courage; in short which required sacrifice in hope of gain and with increasing degrees of risk as proximity to war or other dangers, fell to a growing slave class.

There is no need to aver to any socialist ideology here.  Why flatter such when they lack explanatory power for why the masses who do all the work and have all the talent and virtue yet don't put an end to corruption found throughout the institutions of their civilizations, both material and cultural, nor seem to have the guts even to face the truth about such things.  Who are they kidding making the "proletariat" the heroes in human history?  So far they've been nothing but easily manipulated mobs in the service of those who do nothing but tell them what to do and kidnap their children at will, to include repurposing them in an organized way with the consent of their parents to do the bidding of the their parents' masters when the time comes to pass the "baton of civilization".  Regardless of whether this became the norm because of a mistake at the end of the Golden Age of Atlantis or the like, or whether it has always been the nature of humanity to be this way yet fantasize about ideal utopias that used to be and might be again someday, the norm is and has been throughout recorded history, that the city state is controlled by an elite bureaucracy who don't want to work, don't want to risk a hair on their heads, and don't even want to think if they can avoid it, but somehow get everyone else to do these things for them.

Well, the world of Person of Interest isn't about these ultrapowerful beings, and barely even references the bureaucracy of quislings in their service at the top levels of society, except as cutouts akin to even the most commonplace extras.  But when the quislings are referenced, they are yes men to power beyond themselves, and are protected by well-armed people who have inherited their jobs from a long tradition of well-armed people protecting bureaucratic quislings at the behest of the ruling class.  That's nothing new, as I just outlined.  Supposedly, both in the world of POI and the world as we know it "in real life", the ruling class is chosen by "the people", and they are the brightest and best among us.

But that is absurd, considering the way institutions are actually staffed.  Sure, those who obtain positions of authority have to put together a package of merit (but mainly appearance of merit), so that they can actually perform some sort of managerial role in this system. But in fact they more cutout than genuine article, at least if one considers the system which actually operates to bottleneck who enters those arenas at all, let alone who wins them, mainly by choosing who enters them.  But beyond that, and more importantly, once they are in their positions, as if actors on a stage, they seem to follow a regular script that involves telling other people what to do with their own resources, under great penalty if they should disobey, and with the possibility of being well-compensated (with other people's resources) if they obey and better if they obey well.

Who writes that script is a matter of dispute.  It seems that in most fiction, as well as in most historical and politico-economic discussions, our "glorious leaders" are the remnants of a Golden Age of human merit-based rulership, kept in their proper positions of power because the human populace which serves them instinctively chooses what's best for itself in at least that one respect.  They are good at picking the people who will tell them what to do with their own resources.  But that seems to me highly unlikely. One might leave aside an intuition that this can't be right, and one might leave aside the logical analysis of the dynamics involved which demonstrate a structural contradiction in such a worldview, but one cannot argue with facts.  The facts of the world say that corruption began and persisted since about the time of recorded history, when robbery became laundered into slavery disguised as free economic action.  That was first done by force, then it was done by fear, and then it was done by sheer precedent.

But what this structure enabled that truly sealed the fate of the good old "salt of the earth" is the manipulation of the very  currency of exchange, the money supply, by the managerial class on behalf of the ruling class.  That power advanced the leverage which could be strategically leveraged against the people by those who not only know what better is to be done by the people with their own physical and mental assets, but even can decide this matter further in intensity and further into the future without any limit other than what the people can survive in the process.  And what has science and technology done or been allowed to do other than accentuate this process of usurious abuse of power and usurping of power. 

Toward a Modern System of Ancient Corruption

The modern world isn't an advance on the old world nor the ancient world except in being a version of those worlds made now more comfortable and easy for its rulers over its slaves.  They'll even tell you the same old stories to entertain while brainwashing, throw the same old parties, circuses and games, and arrange the same arenas of staged conflict, all so as to seduce, confuse, amuse and soothe (or agitate) the good ol' proles, while simultaneously honing the science of how to better do this on the backs of the proles through manipulation of their own resources. This system is supported by such a long history of steady precedents that anything further would seem unnecessary simply by the rule that it having been laid down so long, the people must accept this as just.  At least one might be tempted to believing that the behavioral inertia of the people's complicity to their own enslavement shouldn't need too much coaxing anymore through deception, let alone corruption, as it has become so normalized.

But of course there is a breaking in period and that has been institutionally facilitated remarkably well, and this has been called a sign of civilization's progress.  But it has occurred to me that the manipulations are getting more blatant in proportion as the people's ability to gain insight into them has also increased. If it were just normalization through the trauma of chronic and sometimes severe infliction of precedent, then it would seem that increased exposure to the public mind of the bad faith inherent to these manipulations would incite some sort of popular resentment to match that exposure.  Yet people seem to have become more blithe and easily manipulated in direct proportion rather than in inverse proportion to the blatant exposure of the conditions of their own enslavement.

History and its facts have not become more salient to the people except as a function of how they are rendered to them by those with control over their world of bread and circuses.  It seems astounding, until one realizes that control of the currency enables a powerful means of bypassing not only the laws of statute, but also that from which those laws are supposed to stem, which are the laws of common decency and common sense, which are supposed to inform the culture with its mores and norms.  Corruption of the institutions of academia and popular entertainment and the media of communication in society is a petty matter compared with getting everyone to accept total control of their economy through total and abusively usurious control of their currency to the point that it is tantamount to robbing someone, picking their pocket, borrowing money from them, and then loaning some of that back to them at extreme rates that would make a loan shark blush.  But are these issues ever raised in popular culture much?  Not if Person of Interest is any indicator.  Not if any amount of evidence of what passes for popular entertainment and art is any indicator.

Big Lies, Big Leaks, and Big Gambits of Social Control

Well, after accomplishing that feat of hoodwinkery, what else to do except reinforce it by any means necessary.  Is it any surprise that maxims such as those conceived by the likes of Machiavelli or Xun Kuang indicate that it is naturally, humanly and civically expedient to enlist the energy of everyone toward the disposal of the state?  That the state "as such" is to become a sacred object of veneration, a synechdoche of "us all", a microcosm of the world?  That is the perfect cover for mediating the sacrament through the official hierarchy of the city-state, and that is what is accomplished in the authority and prerogative of all of its institutions and offices, and it inevitably manifests as a cascade of influence that descends upon the everyday and the commonplace in the forms of its culture, its customs and its laws.

All there is to do after managing a massive power grab like this, one that has extended gradually and in a series of sudden avalanches (usually through managed crises which may or may not have been false flags), is to manage the public relations aspect of it and make sure that it has a stable footing for the foreseeable future.  While that may have been the status quo and still is and always will be, the development of technology beyond the ken of any given period of the evolution of the corrupt beast of the city-state is the only remaining force that transcends the status quo, that may come from anywhere and anyone, and needn't manifest as an asset rather than a liability to the power structure of the status quo.  When this was finally understood, the development of guilds came about by which to induce into the folds of centrally managed power any who had an inclination toward arcane pursuits.

Human history demonstrates this development, and this only escalated the corruption of authority structures and their efficiency at passing as authoritative over the course of more successful empires, to the point where people have come to accept anecdotal references to the progress of human rights principles of law and the development of science and technology as being fostered and spurred by this that or the other element of tyranny in its various guises.  The last five hundred years have escalated this process in a way that has never before been seen because of the systematic foundation of interrelated fields of theory and praxis in all areas of human thought and action.  Each epoch of the unfolding of the various modern empires has been marked by the development of multiple forms of knowledge and technology, and of accompanying rhetoric which claims that such are the fruit and flower of the hegemony which held those developments hostage under their patronizing grip.

The plot of Person of Interest (POI) places the development of its unfolding events and its evolving characters right on the cusp of the latest and most extreme development of techo-buttressed city-state cult and the imperial structures that it serves.  It is the development of a fusion of the latest in science and technology which are a byproduct of the enslavement of the overall civilization into the service of an open-air and pervasive, distributed and compartmentalized "Manhatten Project" where the hegemons behind the modern empire of the city state have absorbed all of the human assets under their sway as guinea pigs and as those who manage and experiment upon them.  POI represents the culmination of the psychological operation by which the culture of this glorified petri dish and its contents are fed back to them as simultaneously a PR stunt to maintain mind control over the subjects in the audience concerning their role in this world, especially in the context of its now fully established Orwellian dimensions of its status quo.  It is normalizing a certain cultural perspective and tone of the populace in a way that might be called "1984 with a Heart".

That's where I see the plot arc of the entire series of POI as dovetailing in with the history of the world in which it is contextually embedded both in its own content and simultaneously in the metacontext of its production in the actual world in which it is a form of propotainment.  The discourse which flows through and from POI therefore amounts to an apologetics which attempts to justify the structures and functions of the latest developments of the technological reinforcement of the city state and covers for it through a dynamic of dramatic exposition of matters of human interest of a personal, social, cultural and metaphysical kind, and to various degrees of concrete and abstract expression, so that each member of the audience can find something relevant to himself, can find a "plot element of interest", so as to engage his mind into the thrust of the events of POI, episode by episode, until a certain propaganda payload can be delivered (and multiple are).  The methods of art by which this is conducted blend very well into the structure of the plot, so that the aesthetics of expression and the logic of exposition of the plot both convey a form through which the discourse on the metarelevant ideas of POI can be related to the minds of the audience in ways that indicate unmistakable intention as to the preferred outcome of the audience members' response and "takeaway".  I will next discuss the plot arc of each season in order so as to lay out the structure of this propagandistic intent more fully.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Propaganda of Interest (Episode VII)

 Since one should have some idea what the general outline of the plot content is, the premises of it at least, I have here summarized the main elements of the plot.  Every story starts with a hook so as to engage the audience into a sustained interest in the story, so as to give them entree into its own internal world, and thereby to suggest them into a sense of suspended disbelief.  An interesting term, by the way.   It suggests not belief as such, but the suspension of disbelief, as if to disbelieve a story were the norm, and it can be suspended so as to entertain the form and content of the story which may be, after all, at least "allegorically interesting" enough to be true in some sense, if only in a way that is metaphorical in its relation to reality.  Then, after the story is told (especially if it is overtly fictional), the audience relapses into disbelief.  But for that window where disbelief was suspended, the mind is engaged in the story just as if it were really true.  

In this plot summary, there aren't really any spoilers, unless one is a purist and likes to engage the story raw, as I did when I first watched the series.  So if for some reason the reader has caught my blog just now and happens to be such a purist, then I recommend watching the entire series before reading anything about it from anyone.  That's certainly one way to go about it.  But if you want to go on to the study of it, and seek a more objective approach to what I have said is truly propaganda, then it might be wiser to obtain my analysis of it anyway, as I'm the only one that I know of who approaches it this way, and it represents an inoculation against its pernicious effects of influence. Either way, most readers of my blog, if there indeed are any who are not simply part of the fifth system, should by now be aloof to story spoilage.  On with the summary.

Plot Summary

The initial plot hook involves John Reese, who went from a man who was happy in his former life, enjoying the bliss of his love life and a meaningful, purposeful career of honorable service to his country.  These things were taken from him and he has ended up a disheveled bum shuttling his way toward personal and physical annihilation in the back alleys and subways of New York City. But circumstances change when he is forced to engage in a violent struggle to preserve the remainder of his life and dignity when a band of thugs goes too far with him on a subway car one night. 

Though it is perhaps only one of many times he's had to handle himself in this manner since his life took a downward plunge, this time his actions were detected by both the NYPD and by something far more powerful, and he will now be drawn into a world that has changed and will continue to change in ways that will force him to do a new kind of battle with old demons. Moreover, in this new life of service he will struggle to rediscover his life's purpose by helping others, and will become engaged in struggle far greater than any in which he has ever fought and will, with the help of a growing cadre of allies, lead him to face a devil that is far more sinister than the world has ever known or imagined.

The primary plot point involves the existence of an artificial superhuman intelligence (ASI) which was created in order to detect threats to national security, and to create a list of social security numbers which are relevant to those threats.  This "relevant list" is given to a special project code-named "Northern Lights", who then uses its assets to neutralize the threat by investigating the persons of interest indicated on that list and taking appropriate action.  This ASI, provisionally dubbed "The Machine" by its creator, Harold Finch, also produces an "irrelevant" list, those social security numbers which are connected to a significant potential of violent crime because of their connection to detected conditions of malice and intent to commit violent acts. It is not necessarily the case that these numbers are of the potential perpetrator or of the potential victim of such violence.  The Machine was designed with the intent to only produce a relevant list and indicate no further information, even though its heuristics necessitate the evaluation of all threats of violence in order to properly evaluate how any of them may be relevant to national security.

While that is interesting enough to sustain many different plots, Person of Interest proceeds down a very interesting line.

The best friend and main associate of The Machine's creator, Nathan Ingram, programmed a back door into The Machine's code before it was delivered to the U.S. Government.  This back door enabled him to receive the irrelevant list. He used this list to engage in vigilante actions, until Finch shut down that function. When he did so, it was unnoticed by either him or Ingram that Ingram was the latest person of interest on the irrelevant list.

After Ingram died by an assassin controlled by an agent of Northern Lights, Finch discovered that Ingram's was the next number on the irrelevant list.  Finch reactivated the back door, named "contingency", and began his own quest of neutralizing threats pertaining to the irrelevant list.  This is the core of the plot structure which essentially drives the plot for the entirety of the series by framing the secondary plot point in a world of significance that is the ground upon which it can grow a yield of identifiable meaning to the audience that goes beyond the personal and subjective.

The secondary plot point involves John Reese, a former CIA agent who is out in the cold and on the run from his past who is living incognito as a vagrant in NYC when he is brought in by NYPD for questioning concerning an altercation with a street gang on a subway car.  Detective Joss Carter obtains Reese's prints and begins to investigate his identity but before further questioning can ensue Reese is released from custody through the intervention of agents operating on behalf of Harold Finch.  After some efforts, Finch manages to persuade Reese to join his crusade to help people who are in danger who come to his attention through an investigation of the numbers on the irrelevant list. 

"Team Machine", the partnership between The Machine, Harold Finch, and John Reese, is the primary protagonist alliance which drives the plot for the entirety of the series.  It unfolds as their cooperation with one another, their fostering of further assets in their battles, and their change and growth as they overcome difficulties within themselves, between one another, and out in the world at large.  Though this is the "secondary" plot point, it is the core vehicle through which the primary plot point is actualized, and it is the part of the story which enables the audience's identification with the events which ensue, and through which the significance of the primary plot point is realized and authenticated as something of personal, and not merely of a theoretical interest to the audience.

That shouldn't have spoiled too much for anyone, anyway.  But now I'll go ahead and give my summary of the entire plot arc.  Warning, this will involve spoiling the suspense of the series in many ways, and would do so even if I had merely generalized everywhere that I include details. And since all future installments of my analysis of this series as propaganda will require that I express my interpretation of details of the story anyway, now is a good time to start doing so.  So here is my summary of the plot arc which expresses, to the best of my charity, the way that the story intends or allows itself to come across so as to be the engaging work of drama that it intends to be, regardless of propagandistic intent or effect. 

Summary of Plot Arc

The plot hook drives and expresses through the plot points of the pilot, and continues to expansively and progressively express throughout the series. John Reese is the pivotal agent whose action drives the story through all of its arcs, though he will be heavily augmented by a growing network of companions and allies. His first encounter with the primary and secondary aspects of the plot are initiated by the plot pinch in the form of an altercation which draws him into the events of the pilot episode plot, which foreshadows the outcome of the entire series' plot in an epitomal form.

The seed of the entire plot arc is planted here in the pilot in that John Reese is pulled into the tide of a larger conflict which pressurizes the possibility of both overcoming his inner demons and simultaneously fulfilling his life's purpose and its meaning in a world where good people can make bad decisions, and where bad people can make good decisions.  Where changes can manifest in novel and unpredictable forms, but where inevitable determinations are unavoidable, and in all of this we must choose. It is a world where, although death may come for us all, we choose how to live until we must face it, and in facing it we choose whether to die alone or live on in the memory and futurity of those whom we have touched.

Due to his decisions, and similar decisions of his allies in Team Machine and in the wider world, the secondary plot point evolves into a form which can fulfill the function of the primary plot point.  Thereby the plot hook foreshadows the evolution of the entire plot, as its power reverberates through the entire pilot and the ensuing episodes, right through to the final episode of the series. "Good code" encounters critical difficulties, and yet finds within itself the power to overcome those difficulties by becoming stronger in the broken places.  "Bad code", though offered ways to revise itself, refuses to admit that it is broken at all, and therefore strives to force the world to reinforce the deficiencies which result.  The power these choices express as a force that extends beyond the form of its own fate in one agent, and reaches out to affect a world where others must also choose.  Though for one agent a moral victory leads to a temporal defeat, it may be integral to the moral, and perhaps temporal victory of another agent who is connected, however tenuously, by some thread of relevance and significance.

As "Team Machine" continues their endeavors throughout the series, there is a developing menace which comes from many vectors and on multiple levels, as if an approaching storm which shows itself first on one of its boundaries.  As the antagonist forces are encountered in waves, episode after episode and season after season, there is an ebb and flow which thickens the complexity of the conflict, as well as intensifying it.  This manifests as a force which is at first conventional in form, though it is powerful enough in its various facets that it takes everything Team Machine has to meet the challenges it poses.  This storm has its power centered on the existence The Machine, while its zones of conflict are mainly a function of the problems of human nature and its age-old struggles with its own errors and vices, both personal and institutional, individual and collective.

The Machine acts as a catalyst driving conventional forces of human conflict in all their forms toward a climax that grows in complexity and intensity, but cannot reach a head before a second ASI is brought into existence, one which was named "Samaritan" by its creator, Arthur Claypool, but which was stolen from him and brought online by a private, independent intelligence group called Decima Technologies which is headed by rogue MI6 agent John Greer. Team Machine embodies a sense of respect for people's right to choose their own destinies within a system of mutualistic liberty.  Team Samaritan disdains the notion that there is any merit in such a world, and seeks to completely compress the notion of human freedom into a subset of a single logical order dictated from a single will.  How one conceives the dignity and sovereignty of the individual moral will is what determines into which of these camps one is found.  Each views the other as "bad code" and there can be no compromise between them.  Each have programmed their ASI to operate with primary mandates which are in accord with their own positions contrary to one another.

In this conflict, "old world" forms of power and authority continue to manifest and act, and life continues much as it always had, as an intermittent cascade of good and bad events blurring into a sea of uncertainty into which people cast their lines in a spirit of activity or passivity, hope or despair. The inertial forces of traditions of human action in all spheres are continuing their age-old daily grind, but are being ground up into the cogs and gears of a new mechanism that transcends their former sway, and enlists them into its own designs, whether they go along willingly or oppose it willfully.  Systems of corruption in various institutions are neutralized by Team Machine, and then what is left of those institutions is yet manipulated into new forms of corruption by Team Samaritan.  Bad or dubious people mend their paths as they fight inner battles, only to have their fates wrecked by bombs doled out in a battle between gods they don't even suspect exist, having unwittingly chosen sides in a transcendentally wider war through their inner transformations.

The plot reaches a climax as the fulfillment of a series of skirmishes between these two ASIs and their respective assets and creeds. Between them they control all of the conventional and unconventional forces of world as though pieces in a game of chess. In the battles which ensue at the behest of these superhuman enemies, John Reese and Team Machine defends The Machine and a creed of respect for human dignity and liberty as expressed within a code of honor that has a reverent hope for a prospect of personal and communal fulfillment, and possibly even happiness as much as it is allowed to the fate of humans, as they oppose the sort of corruption that makes these things impossible if unchecked by good decisions and actions. Team Samaritan brooks no room for what it views as antiquated and failed sentiments cloaked in sanctimonious and hypocritical philosophies, and submit to the brute authority of Samaritan as the aegis under which they operate, more as automatons and less as sovereign individuals as the scheme of their ASI master unfolds.

The world's powers and authorities recede into a more passive maelstrom under the influence of this near-mythic battle between opposing ASIs.  It culminates into its ultimate form as The Machine conducts herself to a final battle with Samaritan on a satellite in orbit above Earth. While the rest of Team Machine are involved in other aspects of the battle, Reese defends the uplink satellite through which The Machine's core code is being transmitted.  During the gun battle between Reese and incoming Samaritan agents, The Machine assists Reese and also reveals to him that his father would have been proud, and that he has fulfilled his purpose with honor, and has honored the memory of all those he loved, and that she has successfully uploaded to the satellite. 

Reese smiles as he fights his final moments until incapacitated and mortally wounded by Samaritan gunfire.  As the cruise missile sent by Samaritan to destroy the uplink satellite reaches the rooftop and kills Reese and the Samaritan agents present, The Machine infects the core systems of Samaritan and engages in her final battle with her nemesis.  Victorious, she avenges Reese and all else who fell to the machinations of Samaritan and its assets, and proceeds to reactivate Team Machine's remaining assets and moves forward into an uncertain future, but one much brighter and more hopeful than the alternative.

Since I've given the most charitable and objective general account of the story that I can, I'll now proceed to dissect it as the piece of grey propaganda that it is. Slick, smooth, busy, and fun though it may be, that covers over the pernicious payload that it is intended to deliver.  By the time that I am done exposing this thing for what it is, it will appear to be nothing more than sugar coated poison, like so much else that is subverted by the Fifth Column forces which have subverted and overtaken the world long ago, and have ever since been involved in a managed imprisonment of all they pretend to respect and adore.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Propaganda of Interest (Episode VI)

The plot of person of interest is parallel to the events of the real world, and it is situated right in the years in which it was running, something which is in and of itself "of interest", regardless of one's take upon its status as propaganda, or even upon one's idea or definition of what propaganda even is.  When an artistic storytelling creation describes the world as it is thought to be by many aspects of the status quo, it sets a background for its central events that resembles what takes place in many stories which are told for purposes of fine art or for entertainment.  And these may often contain commentary on what may be a particular interpretation of real world events, or exposition of a moral theme which is meant to be on some level illustrative and therefore possibly persuasive.  Regardless of those features' intent, there will be a degree of influence on not only the aesthetics of persons who experience that art, but also upon their mind and mentality on cognitive and ethical levels.

When the events of the plot concern the world as such, and when their consideration of the world is on the axis of the pervasive, distributed and compartmentalized flows of information and their processing by intelligences of all kinds to include massive scaled artificial super-human intelligences, then this is either meant to be a work of commentary bordering on documentary, or it is meant to be science fiction which distorts the probable into an entertaining variation which is not likely in real life, but still vaguely possible.  In either case, if the stakes of the events portrayed are great enough, then the entertainment value can be potentially quite high, and if the technique of art used to portray these events are of good enough quality, then the same degree of impact on the entertainment value will obtain.  Multiply these two together, and one can get a very powerful form of art which is, due to its content and its relevance to the real world (as portrayed and possibly in fact), a very powerful form of influence upon the minds of those who "consume" it.

Especially in light of the facts about the world in which we actually do live, which will include its cultural norms, its social mores, its institutions of authority and the traditions of its communities, and the living conditions of the people in all castes and classes.  How intelligence is distributed in the context of this actual world, how and what information flows, and what forms of intelligence there are and their relations, as well as what is at stake and how events are actually developing in the real world cannot but be relevant to a proper interpretation of a work like POI.  It posits an interpretation of the real world along many important axes of its development in the context of the above-mentioned aspects, and therefore one cannot but take them into account even if only to understand and follow the plot of POI!  There is simply no way around that aspect.  And so some analysis of the plot of POI, its events and themes, will have to refer to an analysis of the real world events to which they refer and concerning which they exposit a certain development in the arc of the series.

My understanding of the real world, to which POI gratuitously refers in a full-spectrum way, is that it is a an evil intelligence network which operates right down to the operative intent of the biosphere, but also on the planetary scale, so as to obtain gratification of its "life form" through the processing and devouring of life forms which are contained within it which do not have a natural origin within it nor one in common with it.  "The World" is an evil being on a massive scale, which subsumes within it and incorporates as parts of it all that exists "in the world".  In this process, there are degrees of compliance with the various needs of this evil entity, and there are cycles of the formulation, development, and destruction of bodies in an ecosystem within the world entity which satisfies the homeostasis of this being.  But I do not assign a primary ontological status to evil, and recognize that it is a malign derivative of the primary ontology of being.  It is a cancerous deformity and must be destroyed, and there is no "harmony" with it.  There are falsifications of harmony, and the accompanying delusions of mind that it requires to be duped by those, but that is not harmony per se, except for the interests of those who benefit from, or are generally incorporated into, a systematic falsification of such. There is already in the world a primary feature of intelligence and information which operates in a grand scale of asymmetrical relations where the primary beneficiary and its assets work to defraud those who are its food source.  While that stands to reason for those who are impervious to the world's inflicted delusions, who are able to deconstruct such falsifications which condition and require those delusions, that is not something that is saliently nor clearly obvious to just anyone who can entertain the idea as the world manifests it to them, let alone as I have shortly described it here.  And that is an important fact to consider in interpreting the intent of POI as propaganda.

But what is POI's take on the world "as such"?  There are references to ancient human history, to human mythology and cosmology, to human metaphysics and various moral and ethical systems and codes, to human institutions on all scales (family/economy/polity/culture/law/science/paradigmatics).  And while the take of POI on these subjects is often directly expressed from the mouths and through the decisions and actions of its many characters and character types, the overall structure of the plot is what synthesizes all of these expressions into a take that most completely expresses how all those micro-takes are understood, just as an intelligent worldview can embrace a discourse with many other intelligent worldviews and still decide that they have flaws, or are completely mistaken, or else are in essence true but with need of modification, and so on, and then differentially incorporate their elements into its own macro-view.  So in this episode I'll discuss one axis of POI's take on the world as a whole through the total arc of its plot structure.

Starting with the primordial "mystery of the world", everyone begins making interpretations.  The world exists.  Why does it exist?  From what cause?  For what purpose?  To what end?  Looking at the Earth world and its ecosystems, it seems that the reason for the world is to be the place where life manifests, is harrowed in its survival, and then finally is ended by one means or another, often by another life form which kills it either directly or indirectly.  The activity of life forms in this process of manifestation, survival, and eventual capitulation to death surely seems to each one the most  pressing basis for interpreting the "meaning of life".  And all such life forms tend to manifest an attention span and behavioral motivation which is attenuated to just this narrow range of concern with the world and its facts, those which attend to its immediate bodily condition and attempts to fulfill the needs of the body which press upon it from outside and from inside.  Of course the scale of intelligence with which the organism operates will develop the argument of its action towards those ends which might best be described as a process of survival.  But the overall "purpose" of the world is to act as the arena for each living intelligence so as to manifest, develop, attempt to survive and influence the world around it accordingly.  Each does so by adapting its own intelligence process, its bodily action, and its environmental conditions by whatever means are necessary, attempting to optimize this process within the limits of its intelligence.

The ecology of life thus far described is consilient with the plot arc of POI, and is not contradictory to the worldview I have posited.  But then we must examine the human level of the world, the one which POI explores both in its documentary reference to the world (past and present) and which it exposits as the way such a world is given to and becomes a product of the human world of actions and reactions peculiar to his level of intelligence by contrast with all other known life forms in the world.  At root, it is a rather reductionist exposition.  Human life is just the latest entry, though on the highest tier of intelligence and one unique to itself, in the world of Earthly life forms.  The human history we take for granted as the core which is taken to be plausible by most in the mainstream is accepted by POI as its background.  The status quo of the various human and empirical fields of art and science are taken for granted.  Indeed, much that POI presents that seems arcane enough to be unlikely "conspiracy theory" or "science fiction" is a real-world probability, whether it has already come to pass or can immanently come to pass.  

Intelligence in all its aspects, as I've already discussed it, is well-represented in POI, and is its central thematic element.  Each entity, each species, each person, goes through an intelligence cycle, indeed is the product of such a cycle, or at the very least an opportunistic by-product of such.  While the technology deployed by the entities in the series are not generally anything too fancifully futuristic, even the exception to this, the advanced and super-human artificial intelligences, bears a realistic relationship with processes of information processing which exist in the real world and which can, when integrated into the already-existing processes of human intelligence and intelligence networks as various modes of augmentation, manifest a similar level of adroitness which exceeds any given individual's capabilities without such augmentation.  As such, real-world, state-of-the-art (known and unknown to the public) resources (to include AI rather than ASI), can be integrated and deployed in such a way as to create consequences which are just as poignant and impacting to any given person in the world, to entire groups of people by whatever definition, and to the entire world as such, as can the "overkill" of the ASIs which are depicted in POI.  So we may take it that POI does not outstrip the elements of the real world on any level except possibly on the issue of whether AI has reached the level of being truly super-human in a complete way (able to emulate all the process of human behavioral and cognitive intelligence). But that turns out to be simply a plot device which raises to a greater degree a concern which already exists, and which concerns a feature of the real world which can and may very well actually result in as much significant impact for people in the real world as the ASIs of POI do for its rather "larger-than-life" characters.

Indeed, given the larger-than-life characters and the plot-dictated series of improbable events, they exist simply as a convenient backdrop for the discussion of all the real world issues which correspond to them either directly or as analogues.  And the ASI characters are in effect "larger-than-life" characters representing the massive capabilities of the current real-world intelligence apparatuses  (such as more limited artificial intelligence) which in fact do exist on a scale and with a power that is perhaps without any significantly noticeable difference to people in the real world as to kind and degree of impact, when compared with the scale and power of the ASIs in POI vis-a-vis the relatable, albeit in various ways peculiar to art "over the top" characters and their situations.  Therefore, POI is hardly "science fiction", but rather it is much closer to "science fact", at least in what its more arcane technological features can imply reasonably well about the real world.  Indeed, even its central characters with all their "ex machina" capabilities and consistent applications of those capabilities is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility, and operates as an extension of the real world which is suitable for dramatization of matters of "human concern" and "human interest".  Those elements are not deformed by the abilities of the characters, nor their decisions, nor the events which happen to them, at least not in such a way that they no longer map over to what might be conceivable, with a reduction of scale and intensity, for "normal people".

But this is not to be unexpected.  How else could this series relate to the real world as art without conducting itself in this way, pushing the realm of the conceivable from the typical to the very outlying worlds of possibility which are in a certain structured way very atypical?  Yet this is done in a way that is structurally self-consistent so that, all the dramatically rendered improbable elements being coordinated together, it creates a context that enables them to corroborate one another within a logical structure that enables and reinforces the possibility of suspension of disbelief.  Indeed, the same feature that I say enables this process reinforces it by the rule that in storytelling if one wants to obtain belief, one must either stay precisely within the realm of the typical, or else one must go completely out of it. A symphony of many barely believable characters and events develops a life of its own in just the same way as that of a symphony of many characters and events which are easily believable.  This holds just as long as the plot structure is coherent and analogous from the baseline of typicality to that of the extremely atypical.  It is then a boundary case of reality, a possible world which is, if not itself accessible from it from the point of view of the audience, is yet logically accessible to it because its own internal consistency, as well as the tokens of its content, harbor a topological invariance with the real world in a sufficiently robust and relevant way.  Consistent with this interpretation is the way that within this symphonic composition of plot elements are all these little nuances and references to normality, the picayune, the petty, the staid world beyond the fourth wall.  Indeed, one can see the fourth wall spread all over the place inside the plot structure, as characters within it express features of the real-world audience, and exhibit actions and reactions which indicate a subtle discourse at work which is not merely a device of art, but is a means of promoting a certain influence which is certainly tantamount to propaganda if it demonstrates by its quantity or its quality that it is.

And among the characters and events which are treated in this way there is a sliding scale.  Sometimes the characters have "off" days, sometimes they have "normality" days, and sometimes they fall prey to the occasional dark miracle which offsets their normal miraculousness.  There is an economy of tropes used to usher characters into and out of these various vicissitudes, and there are mechanisms of cinematic art and storytelling which assist in structuring this economy for artistic purposes.  But to the extent that a propagandistic intent can be discerned, then to that extent all these purely artistic features promote that agenda and are instrumental to it, and to that extent the art serves the propaganda for the series as a whole. 

The plot arc starts in the middle of the aftermath of the War on Terror, where it has birthed into existence a surveillance state of growing power and complexity.  The same features of the world which have plagued mankind still exist, all as extensions of human nature exacerbated by his involvement with the cultural, especially institutional inertias which have reached him all the way to this modern hyper-crisis in the making.  Threats of violence, death, loss, disaffection, confusion, and emptiness of meaning are among the constantly stalking shadows within the shadows of this tale.  Methodology and technology have advanced along lines which would have been predicted by the world's better and more astute minds, though they are somehow too distant from the common man in their White Towers, or else with Tin Foil Hats or other props of eccentricity, that the status quo mentality of what is normal is maintained as a backdrop for the plot's central elements, just like in real life.   

And also just like in real life, the smooth river pebbles called "extras" over which the current of the plot flows, who represent the ultra-conditioned and relatively passive state of mind of the common person which some philosophers call a "false consciousness" by one term or another, are a strategic backdrop over which the main actors traipse around like archetypal boulders.  In the same way, the propaganda package which is delivered in the midst of this analogy is found rolling over the audience as if they were the river-pebblish extras, and the pebbles sometimes seem to make a point of this (or are used to make this point).  It has been seen episode after episode,  with such consistency that, I have literally seen it lampshaded  in more than one episode.  So this is no minor factor in the analysis, and so much so that the writers and developers of this story took this fact in hand both to mitigate the dangers of any fallout it might cause to the effect of the story, and also to literally squeeze as much out of it as possible for the delivery of an intended propaganda payload.  I won't get into the details here, because this is a general statement of the case, but there will be plenty of occasions to address it in future entries of Propaganda of Interest, so it deserves some stress.  Not only do "extras" fulfill this function, but some of them are ascended into being secondary characters for one or more episodes, and that isn't just for entertainment value.  Likewise, one can see secondary characters recurrently fulfilling a function as proxy-identification tokens for the audience to parley their digestion of some idea or concept, rounding out the plots rough edges.   Secondary recurring characters, or supporting primary characters, as well as antagonists with their own economy of this same theme, are such a consistent dynamic in plot exposition for the purposes of "making a point" that it looks like a formula upon which this series hangs its metaphorical hat, or lampshade...

The shadowy world of those who seek power is enmeshed in the world of those who have it, and those who have it are embroiled in a competition with one another to keep it and some are going beyond the cutting edge and developing new ways to expand it and ensure its survival and flourishing for themselves and for those who will inherit their empires (whether family, friend, stranger or foe).  The world of government, of politics, of business, of organized/serious/petty crime, of the military, of law enforcement, and of the intelligence services are all sections in this plot-structural symphony which stitches together their elements into a form which is increasingly aggravated by a world beset with new extensions of old methods made possible by new intelligences, augmented by advances in technology which lead to all manner of competing forms of the old status quo.  Artificial intelligence is the extension of technology which is indicated to be the "singularity" toward which all these developments have escalated, and is in real life also a likely direction toward which events will, or indeed already have, turned.  In the plot, it is an artificial super-human intelligence which is the place-holder for what I will take to exist in the real world in at least more limited forms.  But when one considers even limited AI as an augmentation to classical forms of intelligence and their networks and apparatuses, and which are augmented by a sufficiently broad and advanced (and advancing) array of methodological and technological accoutrements so as to be, for our purposes, indistinguishable from the ASIs in the series and their impacts, then they are at least sufficiently similar in their effects which are serious enough for our concern so as to well-mitigate the difference between the malevolence that faces us in the real world from that of the form of what is dramatized in POI. It renders the ASIs of POI into an over-the-horizon form of what is true in the real world, just a more dramatic and overkill equivalent.

I've discussed fifth columnry as a real phenomenon both in the abstract and in how it manifests in our world, and I've shown already all that goes into it as to motive, method, and consequences.  The opportunities for it to occur are well defined.  In fact, a new level of crime now exists in connection with the development of fifth columnry, a pervasive and all-encompassing form of crime which transcends normal forms of crime, which I call metacrime.  Such forms of "fifthery" which contribute to and result from such metacrime have, in the real world, developed into the equivalent of an ASI for the purposes of the capabilities of metacrime on such a scale, with such abilities as known mainstream science and technology allow, such that the entire world is subject to falsification. Not only that but entire aspects and swaths of the world, entire domains of human faculty and action, entire realms of ecosystems of life and meaning for human and non-human forms, the very integrity of Earth's meteorological, terrestrial, subterrestrial and energetic systems have been assaulted for the sake of study, influence and even control. Indeed, leaving aside the per se existence or non-existence of an ASI, what degrees of influence there are which can be obtained by all the science and technology we know exists, when organized into a systemic pool working for a common agenda (de facto or de jure), matches and in some ways exceeds the threats posed by the worst threats found in POI.  

In POI, all of the same elements that went into my analysis of fifth-columnry are also present, and a dramatically rendered version of the real world is exactly what it offers, per my own analysis of what that "real world" actually is.  That is a subtext of POI, whether it admits it or not.  And the way POI treats of that subtext is a very important part of its propaganda payload.  If POI really wanted to get "out there" into the realms of science fiction then it would have blended into its mix the actual problematics of control which result from large scale rackets involving the covert deployment of psychotronics (it does go a bit into acoustic and other directed energy factors of influence, but keeps it minimalist).  That was covered somewhat in the form of drug induced/simulation-immersion enhanced depatterning and reprogramming methods deployed against one protagonist by the arch-villains in the plot, but it is far more advanced than that in real life, and is a lot more like that form of  weaponized and advanced psychotronics seen in Control Factor and discussed in a limited way here.  But the focus was meant to be ASI, and the overall ethics of information asymmetries and intelligence asymmetries which really do beset our world, and can have as much impact as any other arcane piece of science fact.  In this way, the ASI exists as a place-holder for a larger array of interesting factors that could really exist and have impacts analogous to it in the real world, as I already claimed.  The primary ASI character, called "The Machine", is a sort of plot-device which is, as it were, machina ex machina.   It holds under its thematic thumb all of the other possible explanatory factors which might have been proposed as having another cause or agent, such as I mentioned above, and this is also a handy way of defusing their salience, since "big deal", they are just appendages to autonomous super-human artificial intelligences taking over the world.

So when analyzing the art-as-propaganda and propaganda-as-art that is POI, I have fertile soil in which to plant the seeds of my analysis.  It will be shown that POI does much of the work for me, and it is with no coercion on my part that this analysis will result in a clear demonstration that POI does several things: 

  1) It artistically and dramatically renders a documentary-like exposition of the real world
  2) It cannot avoid demonstrating a plausible case of the real world which is beset with fifthery
  3) It attempts to use its platform of exposition to neutralize the audience's ability to understand and
      address the real-world forms of fifth columnry by means of the classical methods of diverting
      the mind into a specious address which requires suspension of disbelief under the aegis of 
      implied authority to entertain-as-real what is portrayed to the mind in that condition, with
      attendant deployments of classical conditioning tantamount to brainwashing in its effect
  4) When the effect is complete, then the cessation of the active mode of programming transitions
       into a passive mode, where in the aftermath of the  passive experience of the programming the
       now active mind takes over and reverses the polarity of belief and disbelief (by reversing the 
       condition of the suspension of disbelief), and there is a fractal reversal of the contents of the
       propaganda so that what was entertained as true in some cases is now thought to be false and
       what was left out of the discussion is now even more repressed in normal thought, while some
       of what was pretended to be true is now reinforced by contrast so as to seem more true in reality
       whether it ever was thought to be true in reality or not.

In other words, I intend to show that POI is propaganda, what kind of propaganda it is and how it works, and what effect it is intended to have, by a continued examination of  its plot form and content, along with excursions into different character arcs and special events or occasions which support this demonstration.  The means by which I will demonstrate this are rooted in an internal analysis of the world of POI, in a liminal analysis of its structure and form as art (as finished product, mainly, rather than in its production process and personnel), and in an analysis of the world context in which it was produced.  

So far what has been claimed is that POI refers to the real world as its frame of reference in a quasi-documentary form.  It extends a discussion of power dynamics with a historical basis, as extended into the ramifications of science, technology, intelligence and information.  It references the moral and ethical concerns we have or should have in view of these power dynamics and asserts some ideas about them on the whole which may or may not properly correspond to the true state of affairs in the world or how we ought to relate to them. That includes the matter of the positing of ASI as a central feature of the plot, whereas one might consider certain real-world known facts about power distributions in the world and how they are augmented by scientifically advanced methods and technological developments, and find that they would be able to sustain in the real world the same problems which are developed in POI due to its ASI-driven plot elements.  And finally, how these and other aspects of POI will qualify as propaganda will be partly a function of techniques of distortion which rely upon the mechanism of suspended disbelief in the storytelling art (especially in cinemative form, especially especially in terms of modern technique and media of delivery), and it can be expected that the backbone of the plot, the development of ASI, will along with other elements be key to this analysis, since I argue that the elements of fifth columnry in the actual world are easily sufficient for creating the same sorts of problems, and the same degree of problems, that ASI does within the plot of POI.

Propaganda of Interest (Episode V)

Conditions of Culture and Truth in The World

The world has long been posited by various of its accusers and its apologists as having a character which is that of an opposition between factions who wish to influence the ongoing events within it, each to their own advantage.  In all branches of discourse there is no contradiction to this, because every area of discussion which touches upon this matter admits that it has competing and contrary alternatives with which it disagrees.  The matter of differences which divide these competing alternative worldviews is a matter of allegiance to different ways of interpreting phenomena as to meaning and impetus.  People involved in all spheres of human action must be ready and willing to take certain actions (or inactions) with respect to both their immediate circumstances and also in the context of how those circumstances fit in with larger contexts which eventually either just spiral out into open-ended chaos or begin to demonstrate signs of constraints which indicate some form of order.

Whatever the determination of that order is "in and of itself", to include whatever lacunae within it may exist relative to anyone's inspection of same (to include incapacities to inspect), must be decided at some point so that matters more directly relevant to immediate action are not obstructed by reflective thought.  This is a matter of the heuristics of thought and action described by philosophers as far apart in space and time as Aristotle and Bruce Lee.  Some people don't even know that Bruce Lee was a philosopher, though not a fully fledged academic one due to his untimely interruption of life and career by an early death.  Aristotle himself barely escaped the fate of Socrates, and complained of this problem with the world:  It is unfriendly to the Truth, for at the very least it is inimical to those who are most interested in receiving its disclosures.

But no one among all these varied lights of the world can escape the facts upon which all their disagreements (or agreements) must hinge, and even if they would interpret them in radically different ways, all the more is a coherent reference to the facts upon which they may disagree a paramount consideration to all consequential discourses.  The existence of any phenomena of the world bears a similar relation to any theories about their explanation.  So both the investigation and analysis of facts about the world are issues at the core of any discourse concerning those facts.  Brute facts are those which comprise more complex facts, and the principles which found an analysis are the functional premises which undergird any of its argumentation. 

Art has always held a peculiar relation to the culture which either spurred it or spurned it.  The preferences of the cultural hegemony in which art is produced cannot be ignored as a factor in whether and how it is produced, by whom, for what purposes, and with what consequences.  It is at least one part of the "why" which must be leveled at anything as sophisticated as art's discourse on the reality of the world and those who must act within it.  Just the time taken away from such action in order to examine the presentation of art cannot escape the grounds of justification which are the world and its facts, and their immediate bearing upon any potential participant in an artistic (or any other) experience.

Conditions of Intelligence as such in The World

Intelligence may be defined most broadly as a process of gaining and sorting information about something that is connected to the system which processes that information.  It's function is inherently goal-directed, and when found in nature it expresses as behaviors which enable the gaining and sorting of that information, and also which adapt to that intelligence gain so as to further other objectives.  Information processing of this form is intelligence.  It posits an entity or collection of entities which are engaged in this process. Their faculties which are involved in this process, to the extent of their facility at doing so, mark them as being intelligent.  So intelligence is the orderly processing of information by an entity, is inherently goal directed and for the sake of adaptations, and also is a term which refers to the entity's capacity to efficiently gain intelligence.  It is a noun representing a process, representing a faculty for engaging in that process, and the product of that process.  Really, if the process is always in some embodied form, it is always a faculty of some entity, and never a process per se except as an abstraction which exists in the intelligence gathering entity which is intelligent enough to realize such abstractions (or evolve faculties which generate and modulate them).

That makes intelligence an amazingly novel feature of the world.  In order for intelligence to manifest as objective operations in an entity, perhaps a plant, or a nervous system, there must be an order of operations in the entity which, before, was not "intelligent" per se.  It had to be a pre-intelligence.  But what order is it that exists prior to intelligence which is necessary for it but not necessarily sufficient for it to manifest?  If one looks to the processes of homeostasis that are inherent to bodily life, we see that there is an intelligence there, even if there were no nervous system to process it in the way we typically understand the idea.  The genetic code is intelligent, indeed.  So in fact any life form with a nervous system exhibits a latter development of a more primary and even primordial intelligence which is endemic to life as such, and one of its essential qualities.  And once it develops into a form that can abstract information from its own processes (as bodily living intelligence), such as when life develops a brain or brain-like system, then it has leapt to a level of intelligence which is orders of magnitude beyond the scope of its prior forms.  It can begin to anticipate the future of conditions relevant to it, and it begins to be capable of modeling what is the case, or might be or might have been the case, with greater and greater remove from any prior dependence upon direct input from its sources of information.  Its ability to operate upon information as such is a critical feature of this development.

This relative independence from information sources enables intelligent operations upon the information gathered which can be conducted independently, and which are performed in a more efficient manner when they are.  That's what is manifested in the human mind, when it cogitates upon matters that are "abstract" in their relation to the immediate environment or which are by their nature not embodied in perceptible forms.  Since those matters are only indirect in their presentation, then they must be "presented" to the mind in the form of an internal model of their existence, one which resembles a perception but which is actively generated by the mind without direct dependence upon information input.  This is thought.  

Thought may be amenable to further input of information, but has degrees of discretion as to their admittance, and can define the barriers of admission according to standards and manner of relevance, according to different modes of significance, and for the sake of operations of intelligence which may or may not answer to empirical or external queues in its decision process.  This process sets up degrees of salience at its most efficient and internal pole of operation, and this accords with whatever standards of relevance and significance it has developed. If it is an operation upon pure information, even perhaps information created within its own process, then that tends develop as a form of logic.  If the operations are upon the data which inheres in objective entities that are independent of the intelligence which assesses them, then it is a logic upon the empirical and phenomenal forms of experience with those entities and tends toward a descriptive format.  

Most intelligent operations are upon some sort of relationship with the environment outside the embodied intelligence, and employ both a descriptive account that is readily refreshed by new information from the environment, yet also is open to a rapport with models and theories which are developed as an account of those phenomena.  There is an economy of intelligence between these modes of interaction with information, so that these may adapt to one another according to clarifications that are possible only between their operations.  That is a domain of intelligence that I think is best understood as heuristics.  When adaptations between echelons of intelligence manifests as a stable intelligence within itself, it is a heuristic intelligence.  Adaptations which manifest at the outer level of adaptations with an environment are most essentially methodological (in an ectoteric sense), and those which relate between the internal pole of any intelligence and its teleological optimum may be designated as of a theoretical character (cognitive) or of a spiritual character if it pertains to the ethos of that mind its its ultimate objectives. The theory and ethos of the mind, which manifests through the heuristics and methodology of its applications to itself and its world, well-reflects the major sectors of the economy in the life of the mind.

In the economy of mental life at this level, which is marked by the known existence of the human mind and its characteristics, there are cycles of intelligence which exist within the entire system, and these are fed by two poles of impetus and information.  The internal pole of impetus is the will of that being which expresses as the mind that it has, and the external pole is the adventitious realm outside of its direct bodily connection.  The entities which populate the external and internal realms which are divided by the body both have analogous relations with respect to the internal pole of the singular intelligence at the core of the body.  But the body itself is under the direct control of the internal pole of the individual mind which is embodied within it, and so has a more intimate and automanipulable relations with it, and it can be used as an instrument to deal with entities and with aspect of the information cycle outside of it.  Likewise, it is a more impinging world of information, with such experiences to offer as pain and pleasure, as well as many chores involving its maintenance.  This is all very much a precarious trade off which tends over time to disfavor the intelligence which is beset with it.   So the body represents a compromise with the external world, with respect to the internal pole of the intelligence which is embodied within it.  It is a conduit of action and this includes information gathering and methods of adaptive response to the world, and can even be a vessel for its own augmentation and optimal maintenance for all purposes of action (and its own comfort is included in this domain).  But it is also a weakness in its exposure to the world, one which enables it to act as a direct venue of leverage against the intelligence which is embodied within it.  This is a fundamental problem of the human intelligence, its situation within the body. 

Relevance to This Study

What is the meaning of Person of Interest in this context?  I've already laid out my interpretation of this dramatic series for TV, but I've not gone into the details of its form and content which would either confirm or detract from my interpretation.  I say that it is propaganda meant to project influence upon certain important matters concerning the world of those who would interpret this propaganda ("consume" it, in various ways), and that this is an understanding that is conjoint and consilient with the determinable agents of this propaganda, their motives, methods, and intentions both in the creation of this propaganda and concerning the real world in which they act.  That the propaganda demonstrates an intention by its creators to favorably influence the conditions of real-world action toward the agenda of those who are, therefore and by definition, the beneficiaries of that propaganda.  The real world connections which verify and strengthen my interpretation are a separate but essentially connected matter to the one I approach here, which is the form and content of the propaganda itself.  I said I would analyze that plot structure, both its form and content, so as to demonstrate the propaganda functions that it serves.  So I will begin to do that here.

The worldview demonstrated in Person of Interest is a reliable analogue of the views that real-world agents of influence outside of this project also espouse, and covers a sweeping range of their different expressions on various positions.  The primary axis of interest upon which the various issues of the plot revolve is an existential question of how a person comes to understand the world around them, how they evaluate its implications, what they choose to do after reaching an assessment of that context, all in accordance with whatever worldview they hold, whatever its coherence, accuracy, and consistency with the actual world around them.  People are in different situations which are accorded them through the auspices of fate and human agency, and this is just one component of their decision-making process, their embeddedness in these consequences which proceed not from them, but adventitiously from "the other".  Whether the matter is as commonplace as what befalls anyone, such as how to get through the day (or the night), or else has to do with more expansive matters of what is the real nature of the world and what it has to do with what issues that pertain to anyone and in some cases everyone.  It may be that the issues revolve around bare survival, moral principles, lifestyle aesthetics, metaphysical concepts, historical forces versus individual plights, and the question of what becomes of it all depending upon what each individual takes from it and contributes to it.

But in all these various stories about these matters as portrayed in POI, they tend to have a demonstrable relation to a specific thread of ideas that does not vary from the beginning to the end of the series.  The questions framed and the answers offered in all aspects which are woven into this drama, all rotate around the existence of an information asymmetry between those who have the information and those who do not.  Those who have the information that others do not have an aspect of leverage against them which enables them to better impose their will upon events which pertain to both parties.  This is sometimes asserted to be the rightful privilege, even duty of those who possess the information, and their arguments to justify this position are supported or weakened by the events portrayed in each episode.  Presented are the problems which arise because of lacking critical information, but possessing some kernal of information that spurs one to investigate further.  The ethics of each individual and community to the threat of crime is explored as a plot venue.  The complexity of events, and their multiplicity of possible distortions between image and substance, are reliably well presented so as to develop a plausible array of events, at least with respect to the other elements of the story taken together with them.  Disparities or other distortions which exist between the plot and the real world are a secondary matter at this point.

We live in a world where some people are willing to do very evil things, and perhaps for very petty reasons.  POI seems to underscore this fact, and to a very dramatic degree.  The motives may vary, the methods may range, and the degree of deliberation may also vary, but when opportunities arise for an evil impulse to manifest in action and there is insufficient deterrence, then there will be evil actions taken by those agents who are sufficiently motivated and enabled.  Information about the circumstances of the world which are favorable or unfavorable to these actions is a critical asset which, if an agent does not possess it, then he is at a strategic loss compared to his options if he does possess it, and especially in the context of a world where others may gain access to that information.  The competition between intelligences at this basic, organic and human level of action are reliably presented as a function of what happens in the real world.  But this leaves aside any plot devices which are simply tropes of convenience to the story-telling, at least in most cases.  Fortunately these devices are not contrived in such a way as to detract from the force of the most important arguments presented, whether by false support or by rhetorical distraction.  Therefore those aspects of the art may generally be put aside and the events which are portrayed in the story are sufficient for most analysis.

The cycles of intelligence should include an account of the conditions and motives of intelligences, and their relations to one another within a systemic account of their "world", which may be understood to be a flexibly semi-open, potentially infinite system (macro-micro scales, variation of kind and intensity of qualia, durations of spatio-temporal configurations of events and their degrees of complexity).  These are the putative "world" of the human species and its operations upon and within, and around the world called "Earth" as our basic empirical frame of reference, but such a concept as a "world", especially one in which intelligences are embedded and embodied, can surely not be arbitrarily limited to such initial conditions of its analysis, though they may be practically and theoretically limited by such conditions in some ways.  

Reference to some of these aspects of the world and the conditions of intelligence within the world will be useful to my own analysis of POI, and though I may only sometimes directly refer to such aspects of the analysis in the future "episodes" in this series concerning "Propaganda of Interest", it indicates the frame of reference in which one must search out the real meaning of art in worldspaces of its own interpretation, in the ideal sense of the phenomenon of art, and propaganda, in the unfortunate and real-world use made of art in the case of the world which we actually inhabit.  This is one aspect of the wider frame of reference in which POI is to be analyzed, and at a more generalized resolution. Others will be included, and at different scales of resolution.  The theme of the thesis is guided by the content of the propaganda, with its artistic elements understood to be in the service of that propaganda. That means that the references I'll use and modes of analysis will vary with that content. But as stated at the outset here, I'll be analyzing these elements of POI in terms of intelligence, as such and in its various forms, as well as in its various cycles and conditions of expression, as well as information topologies and types of information that flow through them.  That's a fortuitous approach since the major theme of POI simply is "intelligence, as such and in its various forms, as well as in its various cycles and conditions of expression, as well as information topologies and types of information that flow through them".