Simulating Like a State Simulating Psyche

The bell tolls. Baudrillard has been cited, and an open window alive with a cold winter breeze gently scrapes away at the ash covering this blog. Some insightful historicization gathered and distilled by komintern mantis has ignited the four-cylinder engine now churning to a knocking roar inside of my skull. Geopolitical analyses have become only increasingly appetizing in the wake of an ever-digitizing, ever virtual war-zone, operated entirely through information dissemination, preemption, and model-based planning. Structural at heart, it is easy to decode that which is hyperpresent, incessant, inundating; the function of state apparatuses as illusion-engines, hyperdeterrent forces of increasingly Real instrumentation, all at the wake of an “explosive revelation” as to the extent of weaponized social contruction, seemingly pertinent, and all the less so for it. What is truly necessary,  and at the proverbial heart of questions of state simulation, is the extent to which the military apparatus of global, omnipresent deterrence systems attach themselves at the level of subjectivity – the ongoing “biopolitical warganization” of the psyche through social-simulated war-models (Sullivan, 04).

Distracted by the potential of war-models themselves to affect reality leads only to a misdiagnosis; the reality is that Reality has already been built upon the model, a never-ending expanse of liminal space precoded and designed to be psychically primed for war. Social orientation is already a battleground, an ontogenic field of slaughter where individual psychic hubs simulate each other in an act of strategic outflanking that prescribes physical reaction. Communication itself a manifestation of the death drive, one navigates, heavily armed, through discursive minefields, racing to be the first to complete an accurate representation of the Other as virtual image and as such, complete the circuit of power presiding over both; to lay one’s hands on the guillotine first. What is conversation, at its heart, if not intrinsically a war of attrition? Two ideologues each trying to famish the other, to unleash a torrent of excess information at lightning speeds in the attempt to completely disarm the opponent. It is to this extent nations enact a cycle of infinite deterrence, a never-ending arms race born out of the symbolic alienation of the individual. To the dismay of Nice-branded conversationists everywhere, let the realization, that even the slightest instantiation of the wholly virtual act of communication is nothing less than a psychic reaction to imminent death, wash over fully: one cannot breach the virtual. the simulacrum is true. and it meets out death everywhere. “is simulation itself an escalation of hostilities?” “it is the very essence of hostility.”

Images of military machinery saturate the ocular engine to such a degree of intensity that it has long become impossible to divorce the psyche from them. I say that war is ontogenic because it is constructive. It formulates the very edges of subjectivity, the hypersimulation of Reality’s constriction engine to the brink of the personal, generating deterrence in the form of isolation, anxiety, and militancy to the ends of an ever alienated subject, rabid and prone to flashpoint destruction; desperate for its own immolation in the face of an ever-increasing mirror of threat-detection. We know that this is the case. Our models tell us so: “In most cases Red [the enemy Psyche] becomes simply a mirror image of Blue [the allied group State]” and all of its violent functions, as Agu knows too well in Fukunaga’s film adaptation of Beasts of No Nation. Gone is the possibility of fighting for, with ever-playing strings strung across each battlefield actor manipulated by forces nothing less than demonic.

The stake of preemption lies thrust through the temporal itself, always already pre-eminent in that one expects the fight, they see it everywhere. It is here, not in the spatial extension of the wargame, but the temporal, that the fourth order of simulacra is achieved; the crossing over from a meaningless replication of the real into a replication of the replication itself, a new symbolic order on which the spatial is established. There is no original act of hostility, for it is the hostility itself that masks that there is none. To borrow from the original analogy, Able Archer 83 did not carry within a power able to crash infinite deterrence, it was born of it, an adaptation by the model to meet ever-increasing means of simulation: an ever extendable escalation capable of settling all matters (Warding off Europe After the Rain) without there ever having been any.

War is a social event, the boiling over of an excess liminal energy in the throes of death, put into motion by securitized anxiety: the state simulates its death in an attempt to escape its own end, just as one revolts against the state to simulate (and escape) the death of oneself:  Civil society is then that attempt to inoculate or pacify the emergent condition of war through sheer oversaturation of total war: “war is no longer a bounded event..”, but inescapable and endlessly waged on the front lines of subjectivity. It is impossible to escape the condition of war, to the dismay of the nation. There is only to create such a condition within that war that becomes overwhelming unless completely detached from the subject; the hyperstimulation of the subject through external chemicals and referents, another war on perception, keeps the body in vertigo long enough to be ripped violently in the proper direction. this is what guattari’s (s)war marchine is: a psychological rebounding of the fields of war, a recognition that war is everywhere and with it, the means for its enactment.  It is not a question of preemptive action. That is precisely antithetical to the point. Fords are popular cars because they break, and within their failure lies a near infinite disavowal of one’s own death through militant interaction with the mechanism, a droning war drum of internal resentment forever pounding against plastic machines. It is purely a matter of outstimulating the game: a replugging of circuitry that reinjects vertigo into the heart of the Empire itself, a poisonous gift that escalates action to a level of fatality rendered through its own machinery inescapable.

Simulating Like a State

We are heartbroken and furious! (#2) Violence and the (anti-)globalisation movement(s), Sian Sullivan, 2004


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