Saturday, June 9, 2018

Propaganda of Interest (Episode IV)

Why not watch a little of the show from the "machine's eye view" offered on these youtube videos: here for the "good" machine's POV, and here for the "bad" machine's.  At 7:01 of the "bad" machine's video feeds, there is an interesting scene which, I think, fully registers the overall propaganda intent of this entire series.  It depicts a person of interest who has been targeted by the "Samaritan" machine, which has a mandate to protect national security and also to protect itself, which includes preventing any unauthorized knowledge of its own existence.  When a person of interest who became a targeted threat due to such knowledge was convinced that "there is no conspiracy", then the machine reclassifies him as a typical dupe, er.. I mean a non-threat.

Of course if I were to have access to a machine that analyzed fifth-columnry in all its forms, and thereby assessed propaganda as an asset and instrument utilized as a single element of the organized criminal tool-kit that is and has been used by power-mongering liars, cowards and traitors to the Essence of Man since the dawn of the human tribe/nation state, I would program it to analyze this propaganda on multiple vectors and layers of form and content, structure and function, toward those ends.  Perhaps instead of some of elemental read-outs shown in the series that one might still see, such as "asset" and "threat" and "prediction" and "contingency" etc, one might also see various readouts suggesting how certain elements of this propaganda feed into relationships between the various sectors of the grand social engineering open-air panopticon in which the audience is imprisoned.  It would be like analyzing how "movie hour" helps the prisoners adjust to the programmatic regime of their environment, along with analyzing effects on relations to their relevant authority structures, and also indicating reciprocal effects between the propaganda content and the development of psychotronic modulation through the prison infrastructure, overt and covert chemical modifications of the prisoners' bodies and minds, and the efficiency of the prisoners' ability to work to maintain their own prison environments whilst providing some form of special commodity to those who supervise the prison as well as additional beneficiaries who may even live completely apart from it.

If I had a machine that could conduct such analyses on my behalf, siphoning off all of the world's information in real time, to include an assessment of its own self-reported histories and archaeologies, its scientific fields and technological capabilities, its internets of people, things, and information, and ensure that these information feeds fed reliably into the heuristics which analyze the levels and kinds of Fifthery which exist in the world, then I could focus once again on the "meta" implications that then allow me to gradually, painfully, and responsibly drag myself back into the realm of philosophy proper.  For example, once I had developed a systematic analysis of the form and content of the world's corruption and systems of organized criminality, in terms of kind, quantity, and degree, I could then address the more philosophical issues such as the following:  What sort of entities are truly at the top of such a system's hierarchy?  Must they inevitably be of a certain kind?  Must that have a certain minimum spectrum of predictable qualities and forms?  What are the gains for such entities, and can they be achieved in no other way?  What is the critical point at which a human form no longer represents what it must have been when it more properly represented the Form of Man and hence, as it is often poetically implied, the Form of God?  What forms of mental/emotional stunting must occur in order to reach stable forms of Fifthery?  Can all these be qualified in terms of whether the Fifthery is overt or covert?  What are the benefits of overt versus covert Fifthery?  Must they always be intermixed?  What are the conditions of their interaction?  What are the causal structures that enable a transmutation between what common member of a stable society of dupes takes to be reality (in every aspect) and what the managerial class must take to be reality?  What form of "noble lie" must be told to maintain these two classes in their own domains as well as to maintain their relations with one another?  Is this not all rather the form of Plato's ideal republic, but with the noble lie stripped away so that we can see the ugly anatomy that truly underlies it, which the Gnostic analysis of human action would prefer to call the "ugly truth"?

Regardless of those matters, I would not delve into the "ugly truth" in any ways that revealed too much of what I know of the underlying metaphysical principles of epistemology and heuristics over the internet, as covert internet topologies would simply ensure that only evil-minded people got access to that information, as they probably do also with this information, though as I've indicated before in some of my videos and writings that I believe there is a certain chance of information reaching some sort of audience that would have beneficial effect from receiving my transmissions, even over a generally weaponized communications system onto which the "world wide web" has been strapped as a giant technological "honey pot" for the overly eager and naively foolish public. But the relevance of Person of Interest is not to be underestimated even in this respect.  The motives for creating an internet which operates this way is even suggested by one of the plot elements of POI, where the creator of The Machine admits that he had a role in creating social networking sites of various kinds to both achieve economic gain by providing a useful service and to give significant forms of input both qualitative and quantitative to The Machine, so that it could both learn about human beings and also develop heuristics for analyzing them.  Simultaneously, it could then create a real time model of the world populated by information from this and other feeds, as well as other sources of information such as digitized records and the "dark profiles" of people created through all their other digital and analog "footprints".   That would enable the machine to apply that knowledge of general human nature and specific human beings toward results in prediction and recommended courses of action concerning human action (general and specific).  The main application being to protect the country as a whole, and this meant to detect serious threats to the infrastructure and population, scaling down until the relevance and impact upon national security faded into irrelevant but still predictable events, such as other criminal actions, relationships, probable collective endeavors, probable unfoldings of economic and political activity, and so on.

So in the series, The Machine might detect the existence of an organized criminal endeavor in Hazard County, involving a certain "Boss Hogg" and his associates, and it might even identify the Duke brothers and kin and associates as in a hostile relationship with these corrupt authorities, their co-conspirators, and assorted henchmen.  But unless those events could be reliably predicted to unfold in a manner that, within some threshold of relevance, affected national security, then The Machine would not act upon those matters.  Those matters are in The Machine's "irrelevant list".  But of course there are many ways that such a situation can be conceived.  Looking elsewhere in fiction we find plenty of examples of how a butterfly's wings can impact the genesis of a faraway hurricane. Given the complexities of the real world's causal structures, with all its meandering zig zags and loops, a feedback loop with real time data in high resolution, combined with a large and efficiently organized archive of such data as it streams off into the oblivion of prehistory, would provide quite a buffer of information by which to analyze the phenomena of the world being modeled which could be operationally relevant to certain objectives regardless of whether any scientific and thoroughgoing analysis of the genuine causes and effects were ever accomplished.  So much so that eventually a systematic structure could be developed where the feedback loop of this sort of information and its analysis muscles its way into the world as one of its most powerful and stable features, overriding yet also coexisting with (therefore subducting) "the world" as we know it.  Most wouldn't notice this event any more than most living creatures would notice that a tectonic plate happened to be pushing itself under the one on which they live, especially if such took a very long period of time.

But through a backdoor which was created into The Machine some of its "irrelevant list" is fed to agents who receive only certain pieces of information, usually a social security number, and have to work out all the rest themselves.  The Machine was created as a "black box" so that independent use of its powerful information gathering and analyzing capabilities could not be used for any other purpose than actually investigating real and substantiated threats against the nation.  That's the "relevant list".  But the irrelevant list pertains to deliberate crimes involving malice aforethought, or else strong enough motivation so as to make the crimes something which the criminals have some predictable inclination to commit.  When those inclinations are revealed as motivation enough to begin enabling actions toward that end, or when circumstances (opportunities) permit such probabilities to increase regardless of deliberation and preparation, then The Machine can of course detect such, or else how could it determine which of such threats were relevant to national security?  So the main cast of the show are the heroes who go about trying to protect the targeted victims of criminal intent, and yet the number that they are given does not determine whether the person is a victim or a perpetrator.  Sometimes enough numbers are given that, given the intelligence gathered by "Team Machine" using good old fashioned techniques of espionage and detective work, they are able to determine in time whom to save from whom.

Those issues are interesting in their own right, but they are not the meat of the propaganda, and are merely its plot-structural necessity so as to form a coherent story involving features of entities, events, and agents sufficiently realistic so as to enable suspended disbelief, so that the operation of the propaganda can achieve the purpose of preparing the audience (subjects) to receive the intended messages which are of the most importance for projecting upon their minds.  Important ethical issues pertaining to the intelligence cycle, the purposes of programs and how they are administered concerning national security and public safety, important legal, social and economic considerations, and good old fashioned elements of drama comedic and tragic are interwoven into the plot structure.  But they must be differentiated from the main content that is being projected upon the audience so as to enable the success of the essential core of the propaganda.  And as I stated at outset, there are certain depictions of entities, events and agents which, when seen in the context of the entire series, stand out in relief as elements of that primary propaganda payload.  One of those is that there can be a blurred realm between one's duty to the truth and one's own safety, so that knowing, or even suspecting certain things, can be a life-crippling danger.  That's even if you are a larger-than-life hero like any given member of Team Machine.  This is part of what is meant to be understood by the entire structure of the plot, where for example a world is proposed in which the villains are just too huge, too organized, too highly motivated, too many to be defeated by anything except a team of entities and agents which are nearly mythological in their capability to meet events and tasks which would be nearly impossible to deal with by conventional forces the audience is likely to understand to exist.

The plot even demonstrates this by depicting a varied scale of personages which reflect different aspects of normality beyond the 4th wall, sometimes developing caricatures of those aspects so as to sustain a sense of where the audience stands in relation to the propaganda payload per se, but also often simply to sustain a dynamic of sustained suspension of disbelief so that the payload can have access to the programming vulnerabilities of the minds of different types of audience members.  As this analysis of POI continues I will outline some of the plot elements which stand out as relevant to the propaganda payload versus what are relevant to its delivery system.  For example, take "Team Machine", the "good guys" of the series.  They portray themselves in two modes: Their operational identity as a covert group of operatives, and their "fifth wall" identity vis-a-vis other characters and some entities and events in their "universe", such as their antagonists, and various third parties in their world which correspond to those who exist in ours.  In the first case, in spite of the rough edges of their interactions with one another, they interact with a very intimate knowledge of each one's operational identities.  In the second case, they use various techniques and assets at their disposal to blend into the conventional world (though it may have all manner of its own opacity and subterfuge), and so there is a dialectic of the "in group" which is increasingly covert to an "out group" with whom it interacts as if it were some sort of invisible anthropological expedition into the normal framework of the modern city state and its social structures. 

Such a structure of interaction between character elements and other elements in this drama create a stable framework of semiosis which enables the propaganda payload to go disguised as something with a sort of life of its own, as if it had an emergent property which was not intended by the author of the propaganda, as if it were a sensible if novel expression of what else in the plot had been accepted as reasonable premises by the audience.  At one time, Team Machine resembles a plain old vigilante group, and that's basically what they are.  At another time, they are a criminal organization being hunted down by the "proper authorities".  This is a sustained duplicity in their nature which is married at the hip with the nature of their operations and the methodologies which they must employ so as to carry them out, as well as with a carefully manicured set of conditions in the plot which somewhat arrange these factors as if the hand of fate, though of course it is the writers of the plot who enable this convergence.  But these various aspects, to include many others, operate to do various manipulations upon themes of great importance concerning what these fictional elements would mean "in real life". This is all the more important because the events in this series, allowing for some over or underdistortion in their depictions, do exist in real life.

So in order to conduct the most coherent and complete analysis of this series as propaganda first, and then as art second, I must begin by taking one aspect of its content and form at a time.  I'll proceed by examining the overall plot and its implications with respect to real life, and I'll lay out the overall template of the analysis which looks at key aspects of the way the art and propaganda relate, as well as ways in which the propaganda relates to real events (bypassing the agents overtly involved in the production, the cast, producers, etc).  Then it's on to the characters, especially the main characters.  I will stick to mainly the protagonists, as they are the "transformative" elements of the cast, against which the various shades of "bad guy" are contrasted so as to pressurize their relevance to the audience with a contrast of dis-identification (or even vicarious alter-identification for those who "like to be bad").  There are extreme polarities in these categories, and there are shades and complex interpolations in between.  This will set up the overall structure of the propaganda delivery system.  It concerns certain issues in the real world, and intends to influence a certain targeted audience in various aspects concerning their understanding of and interpretation and evaluation of those issues.  Finally, the primary payload is to be discussed, that content in the propaganda which holds the definitive key to determining the intended results of the propaganda's influence.

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