Silicon Cargo Cults

Natalie D Kane

Below is a few thoughts that I opened the second session of Haunted Machines at FutureEverything with yesterday. I’ll probably type up a few thoughts on the day itself in due course, but me and Tobias are currently plotting for its future as I write this. Thanks to Paul Graham Raven, Deb Chachra and Eleanor Saitta for their feedback on this.

The worlds in which startup culture survive, along with those dictators of innovation, are encircled by chalk and salt, hiding the methods, the decisions, and the deliberations of those that control our technology. Like Latour’s black box, we see the magicians enter, and the magic emerge, but not the spellcraft that took place. This protect them from what they will eventually summon, from the consequences of their actions, and the mythologies that arise in their place.

To look at these imaginings of innovation, we can turn to the…

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17 responses to “Silicon Cargo Cults

  1. another really fantastic blog. blogs are, of course, dead but this one by ndkane is haunted. awesome. may follow it

    “We see this in the rhetoric of innovation, where new areas of anticipated technological growth look at the image of the original, the sacred, and see an image of their own to emulate.”

    I try to include mimesis (thanks, Mick!) as an ever expanding basis for life and culture in all my talks and Big Daddy Kane says the same thing only with an economy of words which is pure prosaeity. awe-and then-some

    • if that means magical-thinking/reification/etc than I agree but if ya mean, as all too many folks do, something like the myths of plays/epic-poems/etc, Jungian Archetypes, or ye olde Grand Narratives than not so much…

      • Yeah i guess : im thinkin : reality is a religion that functions as if it is not, ‘pointing’ to ‘institutional’ structures of belief to justify its ‘non-religious’ platform. Kinda like hedgemony, mybe.

      • not sure I follow, reality is what is right? now our little kludged together umwelten are a whole other matter distorted as we are with our cog-biases and the like but there is no super/infra-structure that ties our individual efforts together, just monkey see monkey do all the way down…

      • Reality is reality; somethong to refer to the ‘super/infra’. Since obviously there is this ‘something’ that at least appears that there is a common human co-ordination, of some sort. I dont hold to an essense that hides illusions. Tho.

      • “Since obviously there is this ‘something’ that at least appears that there is a common human co-ordination, of some sort” not at all obvious to me that there is or could ever be such a thing, where do you find It? I get that this is a majority glitch/bias but still puzzles me, take any social assembly you like from a couple or family to an office classroom, lab, sports team, an army unit, or even heavily mechanized manufacturing, and tell me if it isn’t a comedy of errors, now try and scale that up in any significant way and see if this just doesn’t get amplified if not exponential.

      • It may not be ‘obvious’ to you, but there is indeed ‘people’ who refer and use and take as obviously true, such reality. Go outside and ask anyone if there are real things, such as a common humanity and such. I bet most people would say yes there is.

        Though you and I may have all sorts of interesting things to say about the ‘not salute’nature of… Whatever, I likewise can not Presume to envelop any kind of whole world within my proclamation. So that obviously when I talk to other people there indeed is this common ubiquitous ‘thing’ called reality.

        I call this noticing of the oddity of reality ‘orientation’ upon objects.

      • as I’ve noted people are made up of all kinds of buggy loops, doesn’t mean they are right just means that we will never really be able to address human affairs in any sort of political/therapeutic way that could lead to fixing anything of scale, thus this little blog about dwelling in the ruins…
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_act

      • don’t know about you but I’m just trying to stay humane day to day, but if you read thru the posts here you will see folks tilting at all sorts of windmills and I get it not easy to bear things crashing down around us in fact it’s often brutal, never easy being a fragile weak mortal critter under the best of circumstances so ya know we do what we can.
        http://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/unfictional/we-are-not-alone

  2. would all sound better with a glass of chartreuse nearby

    the assumptions concerning reality as other than subjective in this thread are disturbing unless I read them as a dyslexic

    I detect notes of deluezie, luhman, weiner, v. Uexküll and a strong bouquet of haraway in this cocktail

    I sense the thread above, oh, infra, is a conversation between a OOOer and a Buddhist in denial

    • ” reality as other than subjective” not sure what yer on about with all of that, my point was just that ya know existence exists but we are poor blinkered critters, no more no less.

  3. but the missing woof in the wool for the blinkered critz in this thread is the magical quality of transcendence. landzek, an Apollonian archetype, says it is all a constructed myth and for you everyone is a node or atomist and yet you endorse magic. so do the 100th monkey thing and rupert sheldrake and the water people evoke transcendence? if so can this intersect not with the social construction of religion which landzek implies but the belief in immanence? have i invented a unified comment theory putting you and landzek in the same Uncle Bruno box that Kane uses for her prestidigitation?

    • i endorse magic? not sure what chemical cocktail yer on out there but it’s interfering a bit with your reading comprehension, “religion” isn’t a construct as ‘it’ doesn’t exist but is just one of the many shifting ways that we sometimes frame some things that people do, as for transcendence this is the wrong blog for those sorts of inflationary flights of fancy we are down in the midst of making do with what’s at hand.

  4. yes but what is at hand, the geschecht, is also material construct, may or may not be limited to a formed “religious arena”. a gun to your head is it a metal alloy or a gun or both? same way religion exists as a concept, mince words not, but is also a form of mental illness or cultural embodiment “if that means magical-thinking/reification/etc than I agree”

    sometimes transcendence is always at hand even for those of us who reject religion

    the visitors are interfering with my reading comprehension

    • except that concepts don’t exist, there are human acts of conceptualization, speech-acts(writ large) and the various means/tools of extended-minding but no such things/agents/etc as concepts.
      send my regards to the visitors, to the peeps and flying cockroaches of urinetown.

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