Großartiges Interview mit Adam Curtis über seine 2016er Doku HyperNormalization (komplett im Video unten) und ihre Relevanz im Jahr 2018. Vor allem diese Stelle über digital ermöglichten Scheinindividualismus find ich mehr als interessant, in ihr steckt auch ein Erklärungsansatz für den ewigen (und regressiven) Retro-Kulturloop, an dem ich mich schon eine ganze Weile abarbeite.
What no one saw coming was the effect of individualism on politics. It’s our fault. We all want to be individuals and we don’t want to see ourselves as parts of trade unions, political parties or religious groups. We want to be individuals who express ourselves and are in control of our own destiny. With the rise of that hyper-individualism in society, politics got screwed. That sense of being part of a movement that could challenge power and change the world began to die away and was replaced by a technocratic management system.
That’s the thing that I’m really fascinated by. I think the old mass democracies sort of died in the early 90s and have been replaced by a system that manages us as individuals. Because the fundamental problem is that politicians can’t manage individuals, they need us to join parties and support them and let them represent us as a group identified with them. What modern management systems worked out, especially when computer networks came into being, was that you could actually manage people as groups by using data to understand how they were behaving in the mass, but you could create a system that allowed them to keep on thinking that they were individuals.
This is the genius of what happened with computer networks. Using feedback loops, pattern matching and pattern recognition, those systems can understand us quite simply. That we are far more similar to each other than we might think, that my desire for an iPhone as a way of expressing my identity is mirrored by millions of other people who feel exactly the same. We’re not actually that individualistic. We’re very similar to each other and computers know that dirty secret. But because we feel like we’re in control when we hold the magic screen, it allows us to feel like we’re still individuals. And that’s a wonderful way of managing the world.
Its downside is that it’s a static world. It doesn’t have any vision of the future because the way it works is by constantly monitoring what you did yesterday and the day before, and the day before that. And monitoring what I did yesterday and the day before and the day before that and doing the same to billions of other people. And then looking at patterns and then saying: “If you liked that, you’ll like this”.
They’re constantly playing back to you the ghosts of your own behaviour. We live in a modern ghost story. We are haunted by our past behaviour played back to us through the machines in its comparison to millions of other people’s behaviour. We are guided and nudged and shaped by that. It’s benign in a way and it’s an alternative to the old kind of politics. But it locks us into a static world because it’s always looking to the past. It can never imagine something new. It can’t imagine a future that hasn’t already existed. And it’s led to a sense of atrophy and repetition. It’s “Groundhog Day”.
Hier die Doku: