Friday, September 6, 2013

The Girls (a story of revolution) 32



read the beginning here

32.

War room, Israel, desert encampment

- It's killing time.
- Settle down. On the screen, left: animation of our playbook, Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Next to it, map showing location and movement of the American forces.
- First Plato, now Shakespeare.
- We're in uncharted territory. Shakespeare was there before us, in this technology never applied in all of human history
- We're relying on fictional technology.
- Hypothetical. We have conventional weapons to fall back on. The other side has more, yet we have better strategy...this is not the time. General, status?
- We're ready.
- Professor, explain Shakespeare and the new applied technology. The technology of good. First give us an overview.
- We're going to use magic to effect a reconciliation. Play the animation. In The Tempest, the magician and deposed leader Prospero creates a storm to shipwreck his enemies on the island where for years he's been living in exile with his daughter.
- Is this really necessary?
- We're at war. We're going to use technology against people. We must, absolutely must, keep in mind why we use technology. The magician Prospero, deposed Duke Of Milan, wants to put down his magic staff. He wants to effect a reconciliation, to go home. His enemy, his usurping brother, will plot against him, as you see in the animation, but his daughter will fall in love with the son of another of his enemies, the complicit king. All this is effected by means of general disorientation and isolation. This is what we are about to do to the American forces.
- The general has told me that once we break into and control the American communications it will be no more than hours before they close the opening and lock us out. Then what?
- We either succeeded or we didn't. Conventional war if we didn't. Are you all familiar with the trolley experiment?
- No.
- Experimental subjects are asked, What would you do if you have control of a switch that shunts a train away from a track on which five people are trapped, and who will be killed of the train is allowed to continue. But on the other track is one person who also will be killed. It is reasonable, if one wants to save the most lives to throw the switch. But most people resist that because it involves doing something yourself, personally, that causes death. Reason, the technology of thinking, says pull the switch, but something in us resists.
- What?
- Our bodies. Our character. The fact that everything we do creates a disposition, a desire to do it again. Creates a habit. Social life, in which we make a habit of predicting what other people want from us, and then simulating that, so as to get ahead, weakens this formation of personal habit: every one of our actions goes in a different direction in accordance with the calculation of what other people want and how to give it to them.
- The trolley experiment is an index of social conformity.
- Not exactly. Doing what is expected of you is learned unconsciously, in childhood. It leaves the moral resistance measured by the trolley experiment intact. What the trolley experiment is correlated with is initiating ritual.
- You lost me.
- You were sleeping in class. We saw how analyzing moral behavior into elements can be used in training. It also gives us an explanation of evil, what it is.
- What is it?
- A closed system of bad behavior. A cycling that drives itself to constant continuation. The American ideal of success, as an end in itself, is a classic case. We look to make a place for ourselves, study how things are done, make an investment, see if that produces a result, then keep up doing the same. Regular result is achieved, we've succeeded, we're proud of ourselves. We look down on how the small change we've made has been institutionalized. Each time we look down on regularity, our profit, we feel safe and powerful. This lasts a while, but in time, the pride wears down. The rest of the world outside of our investment is as unsure as always, and in the world of our investment, everyone else equally benefits from the secure regularity. Really you aren't special. You look around for a new investment, a new ritual to initiate, that when successfully regular and repetitive, will tell again the story of your power over the world. Initiate ritual. Succeed. Ritual repetition. Wear down of pride in power. Re-initiate ritual. Understand?
- We understand very well.
- It is the initiating of new ritual that breaks down the character that resists throwing the switch in the trolley experiment.
- The capitalist has no character.
- Yes.
- The American forces have no character? Is that what you are arguing?
- Some of them. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency gave every soldier the trolley test. They were looking for the brain chemistry of terroristic, fanatical thinking. Found out early it was correlated with resistance to throwing the switch. They measured physiological signs, including brain activity but also blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, perspiration. They wanted and got a pool of experimental subjects.
- We have the data?
- Yes. And we have a switch. Look at the screen on the right. The American forces are advancing toward us. The switch will send out the robot swarms bearing the interference devices. The swarms ID the soldiers and will leave unaffected about 1 percent.
- The soldiers who are the ones in the trolley experiment that felt no resistance to throwing the switch.
- That's right. They will be allowed to advance, arriving at our magical desert shipwreck.
- Where what?
- Who wants to throw the switch? Jamie?
- Calling me evil, Prof? Here's goes.

to be continued