a void

The void is freedom without bounds. How can you limit within infinity? The original idea was to limit those which we did not desire to the finite, to ban them to a concentrated and articulated, confined space. To place them in a dungeon away from the freedoms of society. But the freedoms of society are not necessarily the freedom of the void. after all, the freedoms of an inifinite space are without limits. How can you limit something within an infinity? How can the doctrines and languages of modern society retain their power (the power which economizes profit) over people in the face of a vast emptiness? How can everyone be confined from the void when it is what we inhabit? “Let us hear once more what Servan has to say: the ideas of crime and punishment must be so strongly linked and ‘follow one another without interruption… When you have thus formed the chain of ideas in the heads of your citizens, you will then be able to pride yourselves on guiding them and being their masters. A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly by the chain of their own ideas; it is at the stable point of reason that he secures the end of the chain; this link is all the stronger in that we do not know of what it is made and we believe it to be our own work; despair and time eat away the bonds of iron and steel, but they are powerless against the habitual union of ideas, they can only tighten it still more; and on the soft fibres of the brain is founded the unshakable base of the soundest of Empires.'” (Servan quoted in Foucault, Prison, 102-3) “This real non-corporal soul is not a substance; it is the element in which are articulated the effects of a certain type of power and the reference of a certain type of knowledge, the machinery by which the power relations give rise to a possible corpus of knowledge, and knowledge extends and reinforces the effects of this power. On this reality-reference, various concepts have been constructed and domains of analysis carved out: psyche, subjectivity, personailty, consciousness, etc.; on it have been built scientific techniques and discourses and the moral claims of humainsm. But let there be no misunderstanding: it is not that a real man, the object of knowledge, philosophical reflection or technical intervention, has been substituted for the soul, the illusion of theologians. The man described for us, whom we are invited to free, is already in himself the effect of a subjection much more profound than himself. A ‘soul’ inhabits him and brings him to existence, which is itself a factor in the mastery that power exercises over the body. The soul is the effect and instrument of a political anatomy; the soul is the prison of the body.” (Foucault Prison 29-30) The human is subjugated by being turned into an “object of knowledge” (Foucault Prison 28). The mechanisms of objectification force us to objectify ourselves. How can we have thought without language, the strongest mechanism of objectification? How can we be ourselves without thought, without a soul, without limits. The very definition of our self, of our soul, is a limit, a confine, something separate and distinct from the rest of the world. And it is this limit, this confine, this image of ourself, that we consume. It is only within the limits of our selves that the knowledge of this world can seem large enough to dwell in. It is only from within language that we may see language as not only a higher ground, but the entire basis of a soul. It is only from within belief that thoughts may form. (Can we go outside belief, abandon beliefs?) Language objectifies. Language forms the self, the limits. How can everyone be confined from the void when it is the void which we inhabit? Language. Language sets up an entire economy of ideas, of limits. An idea is only a set of limits. And yet we propose that the right set of limits will free us. The only true freedom can be the abandonment of limits. This includes all of modern mechanisms of objectification which trap us within our selves. These mechanisms function by turning reality into something that can be consumed by language, and if something can be consumed then it can add to the power structure of economy, of capitalism in our case. Even the most abstract ideas are only limits, such as the soul, or time, or light, or atoms. And these ideas have the potential to produce objects for consumption out of themselves. (And yet at the base of the atom we have the uncertainity principle.) Our entire society is based on limits. Just by looking at the physical objects we produce we can see this. This is the tragic flaw of society, that society is based on limits. And these limits manifest themselves. As language and the doctrines of society become stronger we become further removed from the void. the possibility of freedom continues to vanish. As foucault implies, the space of the prison inverts. No longer do we limit some to dark thick walled dungeons. Now we are all in the panopticon, the prison without walls which derives all power from the power of objecitification, from the power of belief. Perhaps at the beginning the panopticon relied on the belief (a mechanism of self) that someone was watching, but now it relies on watching your self, on the consumption of self. And at the center, rather than a guard, has been placed a mirror. The panopticon is, as foucault suggests, the model for society. All elements of society, of language, of the soul, of ideas are part of the chain of ideas. This is evidenced by the continual division of the void. By a constant objectification which ‘destroys’ the void. By incredible mechanisms which eliminate chance. We do not inhabit the space in-between anymore. This was the death of modernism. That we moved beyond objects to objectifying entire neighborhoods. Disneyland was a primitive model for generations to come. Because disneyland eliminated the void. All chance was removed. All the poor people are removed by an admission cost and kept out by gates. In other words, a confine has been placed within the void. A confine which was traditionally held to the level of building (even within modernism). The confine, the prison is now what we inhabit. And the void is left to those people too dangerous to be allowed in. We now have an entire spatial relation built on the idea of exclusion. Exclusion did not die with modernism, it simply got bigger. Bigger than we dare to imagine. The suburbs exclude. Private cars exclude. Entire neighborhoods, even entire towns (see celebration) exclude. But it is larger than that. Schools exclude. Society excludes. Ideas exclude. Language excludes. The soul excludes. It is the fact that the basis of our society is objectification that forces us to exclude that which can not or refuses to be objectified (subjugated). And it is this fact that places us within our own prison we have constructed. This prison is not just the prison of ideas, it is also a very real concrete prison we have built. And this is just the beginning. The pictures of the bubble on the moon were only wrong in that they were on the moon. Is this a return to the fortress city? In which those who do not follow the rules are banished? Hardly. The fortress city was never abandoned, it simply turned inward, endocolonization. (Was there ever equality? Was the void ever inhabited? Only between the buildings.) This is simply the continuation of a complex network of subjection. And we have just begun to understand how to create a bubble in the void. The suburbs and disneyland and mega-malls are extremely primitive attempts at exclusion. We now have the ability with GPS to objectify every point in three-dimensional space. To objectify the entire void into information. There are no longer any limits to information, to exclusion, to society. The entire world is a panopticon, a prison built not with walls, but with satellites and radio waves. The privacy implications of the internet are being sounded because we are beginning to understand that this information which objectifies us imprisons us. But why will privacy be negated? Because we blindly believe that when we objectify our self it is ok. Because we like it when the computer knows what we want, when our needs are fulfilled within milliseconds of thinking them. Because comfort is the prison. Comfort is the bubble in the void. Because we believe that it is ok to live a life of self-objectification, to see ourselves, to see our caricature constantly reinforced by the props of society. To watch ourselves consume ourselves. This thesis is based on total self-objectification. That we WANT GPS, because we want to see ourselves within space, where we are, our position. It allows us to further define and limit our view of our self. We WANT a computer profiling system because it allows us to see ourselves as set of rules, as an organization of limits which can be understood, as a fixed position and soul within society as a whole, within and against our own desires. We want a dream machine, a self-animator because it allows us to consume our self. To see our caricature of our self in relation to other desires of our self. To further limit. And within belief, this furthering of limits seems like an expansion, because it is an expansion of the self, the limits which comprise self, of beliefs. Within the system of language the more limits, the more which is objectified, the larger the world seems to become. It is the expansion of the suburbs which kills the farm land. Larger to the suburbs. But when you step outside, and see the true infinite, the entire web of knowledge is nothing. Which is why it continually becomes harder to step outside. Because from within belief, self, limits the expansion of beliefs, self, limits seems like an expansion of freedom. The suburbs seem like a freedom to those who live within them. Even though in reality they are a prison. Thus the exclusion will continue to enlarge under the guise of inclusion. And we will have GPS so that we can know where we are all the time. And it is scary to think that someone else can know where we are all the time. But it is even scarier to think that you can know where you are all the time. Because we don’t need someone else to subjugate us by objectification anymore. We subjugate ourselves with our own objectification. Perhaps Mies freed us from the objectification of ourselves in ornament and building, or perhaps he took the first step towards self-objectification by allowing us to see ourselves. To place ourselves within a societal and buildable grid. ‘Self-realization’ is objectification. And from there we can rebuild a whole society which realizes itself. Post-modernism merely being the primitive attempt at the self-realization (objectification) of society as a whole. Society seeing itself through satellites. In the economy of consumption, we pay to watch ourselves consume. (Can there be a building without limits? Can there be a city without limits? Can there be a society without limits? Can there be a self without limits?)