Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Reality Is Up For Grabs: Learn The Code And Start To Co-Write It

Stephen Downes points to an interesting interview with Douglas Rushkoff just launching a new comic novel entitled Club Zero-G.

Goal of the novel is to bring through the use of popular fantasy and allegoric language like the one of comics, awareness of the potential for changing power structures, society and consensus reality through individual choice and active responsibility.

Rushkoff says:

"I do feel like I've been saying one thing, all along: reality is up for grabs, so learn the codes through which the narrative is crafted and participate in its unfolding.

It's the great psychedelic insight, as well as the thing people realize when they get involved in computers, systems theory, fantasy role-playing, or even a rave gathering, or media making."

Here a few, short excerpts from the second part of the interview, which is the one I have enjoyed most.

"But "youth culture" is a crock. There's no such thing. It's manufactured by the people wanting to sell to teens.

The only sense the phrase makes to me is that young people - some of them, anyway - are not as spoiled by the programming of our manipulators, so they are still more free than adults, by and large. But they are under more direct and sustained attack, so it's a harder position from which to battle for one's consciousness than adulthood. If you're an adult and not particularly rich, they kind of figure you're already in the fold."

"...GenX resistance to programming was borne out of our deep exposure to public relations. As the first generation to grow up with state-of-the-art television commercials AND remote controls, we spoke the language of TV advertising like natives, whereas the adults making commercials for us spoke it like immigrants. So, naturally, we knew what was going on better than they did, and had the ability to resist.

But once all the GenX people became the new programmers, we didn't stand a chance.

Kids today generally love being marketed to. Kurt Cobain shot himself, and rave is a mall phenomenon. America supports the war, and believes in the Passion of Christ.

Perspective has collapsed.

That's why I wrote the comic, really - to give a good long wink to those young people who get what's happening. They feel really alone, right now. Or they're made to feel like some kind of geek - the way Jews were meant to feel back in the Middle Ages for not believing that Christ was the Messiah, or that the Crusades were a great thing. I wanted to let them know that there are others in the same psychic space as they're in - and that the future can still be ours. If we get a future at all."

"That's the central question of civilization, eh? It's certainly the question of the story. I try to deal with it in two ways - the first is the more sci-fi story, and the second is the social reality of the kids. Interestingly, the story still functions if you pull out all the sci-fi stuff. It becomes a story about social expectations, and how they weigh on a person's ability to make choices. The pressure of the social group can stunt autonomy; but without the group, there's no autonomy, either.

So it's a question of learning to collaborate with people rather than just ruling them or submitting to them.

Education may just have to become something countercultural - something we do after school.

Theatre is great for that - it's what I did - because you get to communicate with brilliant playwrights from the past, and act out multiple possibilities and alternate realities.

People today have to look outside the established institutions for their educations, these days. But there are a lot of us out here providing the textbooks.

with Jonathan Ellis, the interviewer, aptly adding:

"Luckily for us. If there were one thing I could say to everyone still attending some form of educational system it would be that so many of the answers are OUT THERE.

A treasure trove of knowledge is available to you but you need to seek it out for yourself instead of expecting it to come to you.

You have to be willing to learn."



Douglas Rushkoff -
Reference: [via Stephen Downes] [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2007-08-17 23:41:23


This guy actually makes a great deal of sense with respect to "programming"

Too bad he seems to be the victim, and apparently an unknowing participant, of the very type of mind set conditioning he is attempting to expose or elucidate.

Heritage is very important as long as it doesn't color or amplify a false sense of empowerment. There is great danger, and in fact, complete defeat with respect to conditioned social sensitivities. These sensitivities act on the mind as a divider might serve to compartmentalize silverware for convenience's sake in a kitchen drawer.

The mind will naturally, like all energy, gravitate and therefore initiate focus upon any interest which is isolated or separate via a falsely eased awareness of that interest. That's the mind's way of attempting to make sense of that which reasonably and functionally creates a "whole end" in terms of it's equated comprehension process.

A small minded perspective is one in which our
attention "loops" it's consideration via composite spectral analysis without a true over view of all the equation's parts that might otherwise be considered.

An obvious indicator of this flawed thought process is a repeat analogous treatment of a given problem via a "small" or false likeness.

The author's reference to the Jewish people with respect to conspiracy central's big brother brainwashing and force fed social guilt trips is one such extrapolative "loop" example.

posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, August 25 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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